You don’t have to drive for hours to find that “old west” ambiance so many out-of-towners are looking for: head to the tiny town of Morrison. From C-470 turn west onto Morrison Road (Hwy 74). It’s only about 3 blocks long–but there’s enough in this area to keep you busy all day. Stroll the streets, popping in and out of shops where you’ll hear the creak of old wood beneath your feet: this is not an old town that’s been gentrified with glitzy new buildings.
You might want to start at the Morrison Natural History Museum. It’s the perfect introduction to the importance of dinosaur discoveries in the area. It’s also a fascinating little museum filled with historic and modern fossils finds, as well as the opportunity to see research in progress at the on-site Paleo Lab.
Find details at: https://www.mnhm.org/246/Morrison-Natural-History-Museum
Check out the antique shops, art boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants. Stroll along the riverbank down to the Veteran’s Memorial. There are several rooftop and outdoor patios for lunch or dinner, as well as a Wine Bar tucked into a side-street.
When you’re done strolling through town, head west on the main street and follow the sign to Red Rocks. This is a spectacular short drive that winds through gigantic sandstone formations that will make you feel small as an ant. You and your out-of-town guests will find yourself wowed with the scenery. Keep on driving and follow the sign to the Trading Post/Colorado Music Hall of Fame. After a visit, head to the Visitor Center (driving through the hole in the rock) and see a fabulous display of famous acts that have played Red Rocks over the years.
Need more? Dinosaur Ridge Trail, the 1.5-mile trail just outside town, takes about 1 to 2 hours to complete. Touring the area can be self-guided but you can’t drive.