Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Red Rocks Park - Jefferson County
Aliases: Morrison Park, Matthews/Winters Park
Ownership: None Listed
Description: This is an excellent site for scenery as well as birds. The magnificent red cliffs here provide the perfect backdrop for newcomers to the west to spot their first Prairie Falcon, White-throated Swift, Say's Phoebe, Western Scrub-Jay, Canyon Wren, Mountain Bluebird, Virginia's Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Spotted Towhee, or Lazuli Bunting. All these birds are regular in the park. Look for the falcon and the wren on the cliffs, the swifts soaring around rock faces or zooming down the gully behind the Visitor's Center, the phoebe and the bluebird in open areas, and the other birds in the riparian tangles along the base of the cliffs or along the stream. Bushtit and Western Bluebird are rare but regular. Rosy-finches used to roost on the cliffs in the winter, but they are no longer likely here. Northern Pygmy-Owl has been seen in winter in the cottonwoods along the highway bordering the east side of the park.

Morrison Park, just across Highway 8 from Red Rocks Park, is a classic spot for American Dipper. They breed under the bridge at the west end of the parking lot and can usually be found here at any time of year. Western Scrub-Jay, Spotted Towhee and (in summer) Lesser Goldfinch and Black-headed Grosbeak can also be seen in the parking lot.

Adjacent to Red Rocks Park on the north and just across the street from the Dinosaur Ridge Hawkwatch is Matthews/Winters Park. A pretty impressive mature riparian stringer, in the "I can't believe it's not birded!" category, runs right past the parking lot. Easily combined with a trip to Red Rocks, Matthews/Winters should be checked for landbirds at any season and for pygmy-owls in winter. This is a popular park and parking may be scarce on weekends and weekday afternoons.

Habitat: Cliff Face, Lowland Riparian, Foothill Shrub
Directions: From I-70 exit 259, take CO 26 south 1.5 miles to the Red Rocks Park entrance. Alternatively, take C-470 to the Morrison exit and take Morrison Road west into its namesake town. Follow signs to get to either Red Rocks (north of Morrison Road) or Morrison Park (south of it).
Other Wildlife:
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Latest Red Rocks Park Sightings from eBird


CBRC Records from Red Rocks Park

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Purple Finch56-93-231/2/1993
Purple Finch1997-00212/25/1997 - 1/10/1998
Fox Sparrow (Red)2016-013 11/16/2014
Golden-crowned Sparrow2010-0011/3/2010 - 1/15/2010
Golden-crowned Sparrow2011-155 11/3/2011 - 2/4/2012
Golden-crowned Sparrow2012-195 10/26/2012 - 2/18/2013
Golden-crowned Sparrow2013-315 04/25/2013
Golden-winged Warbler52-80-405/15/1980
Golden-winged Warbler2001-0586/5/2001 - 6/6/2001
Hermit Warbler52-78-395/9/1978