Morrison, Colorado is home to some of the most memorable event venues in the western United States. While Red Rocks Amphitheater rates high on people’s must-see places for a visit to Colorado, smaller venues like the Bandimere Speedway, also nestled near the iconic red rocks, shouldn’t be ignored. The speedway hosts several racing events throughout the year, but the biggest event, the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, is the event that brings racing fans from both near and far.
There isn’t a prettier setting to watch drag racing than the mountainous terrain that surrounds the race track. The speedway, flanked by the red rocks to the east and the rugged peaks of the Colorado Rocky Mountains to the west, paired with the famous Colorado-bluebird skies, is nothing short of spectacular. The Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals offers visitors a combination of racing excitement mixed with Colorado outdoors.
Since the race takes place in July, the best time of year to camp in Colorado, the event caters to RVs and trailer parking so that people can combine their two favorite pastimes—camping and racing. People visiting Morrison from out of state or from other locations in Colorado will find plenty of places to RV camp both coming and going to the event. Why not extend your stay and visit some of Colorado’s best camping at Rocky Mountain National Park, the Great Sand Dunes National Park, or the Black Canyon of the Gunnison? There is always a reason to extend your stay during the summer in Colorado, and planning your trip around a major event like the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, can be the perfect excuse to see more of the Centennial State from the window of your recreational vehicle.
The Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals has different ticket options depending on if you want to pre-purchase a single-day pass or pre-purchase a three-day pass. Guests can look for tickets that include a pit pass to meet the drivers and see the cars up close. Seat location and age determine the cost of tickets, and pre-paid tickets historically cost between $25 to $400. Prices increase on the day of the event.
Bandimere Speedway is located just off of the CO-470 beltway between Interstate 70 and Interstate 25. Highway CO-470 connects several suburbs of Denver leading to and from the western foothills of Denver. Drivers arriving from Denver International Airport or coming from the eastern suburbs of Denver will most likely travel on the portion of the beltway, known as E-470 before it connects to CO-470.
E-470 is a toll road that sends a per-use toll bill to the owner of the license plate and charges driver per axle. It’s possible to avoid the toll roads, but the toll roads are well cared for and have considerably less traffic for drivers in larger vehicles.
Two other toll roads, the Northwest Parkway, and Colorado Express Lanes help alleviate traffic at peak congestion times. These toll roads work much like E-470, but general traffic lanes run parallel to the toll roads, so it is easier to avoid paying a toll. Drivers heading from the mountain towns to the event may encounter the Colorado Express Lanes, especially if traffic is heavy.
Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) maintains updated information on road conditions, traffic closures, and keeps up-to-date information posted along the highways, on the website, through the CDOT app, and on the CDOT Twitter page.
Bandimere Speedway has different levels of parking available for the Dodge Mile-High race weekend. RV parking on-site is limited and requires advance purchase as does the off-site RV parking lot located across Rooney Road. The preferred parking area is the closest parking area to the main ticket center. This lot accepts prepaid reservations, and it is open to the public. Spaces not reserved are first-come, first-served. The RV lots accommodate large rigs. If you have specific questions relating to the size of your RV, contact the speedway directly. Please note that parking lot attendants only accept cash.
The Metro Denver region has a variety of choices for public transportation, such as the RTD bus and rail system. Several routes connect major points of interest in the area. Bandimere Speedway isn’t near any light rail stations, but it is possible to get within four miles of the event via a combination of light rail trains and busses.
Denver also offers taxis, rideshare services, and private transportation companies for guests who prefer a more direct route to the event.
RV parking at the speedway is similar to what one might experience tailgating at a sporting event. Bandimere Speedway has three large lots that are for motorhomes, trailers, 5th wheels, and any other type of self-contained RVs. There are no hookups or amenities, so it’s best to bring the items that will help keep you comfortable in a dry camping setting. RVers who need honey wagon service, a sanitary tank pump or fill, can request onsite services from one of the local Jefferson County sanitation companies. Contact the speedway for details.
There are several options near the speedway for RV camping. Colorado’s state, county, and city parks have campsites that accommodate most kinds of RVs and trailers. Many of the sites have an online reservation system, and because of the high demand for camping in the summer, it’s best to reserve your space early. The Denver West Central City KOA Holiday is within 30 miles of the event and is big-rig friendly. Dry campers who want to stay within an hour of the facility will find several places to boondock on BLM and National Forest Land. The best choices for boondocking are found off of Highway US-285 or Interstate 70.
Bandimere Speedway permits golf carts and golf cart rentals for specific events. However, the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals does not allow golf carts or similar vehicles because of the size and the nature of the event. Shuttles are available on site. Shuttle services operate on donations and transport people from the ADA parking lot to the pit area. The off-site RV lot has a shuttle that transports people to and from the parking lot to the event.
Bandimere Speedway is nestled near the foothills of Denver where the weather tends to be a little more unsettled because of the way the weather fronts pass across the Continental Divide. Bring lightweight clothing that you can layer as well as clothes that dry quickly. People with fair skin or sun sensitivity should bring a hat and light-colored, long-sleeve shirts. On hot days, you will need shorts and short-sleeved clothing, but it is also best to bring long pants and a light jacket because the weather cools down in the evenings.
Prepare yourself for a day of racing fun by planning your days around your favorite racing events. Bring your pit pass and spend time near the action. Because racing events are loud, it is always a good idea to bring upgraded ear protection with you; fans often appreciate a scanner and headphone setup. It’s also a good idea to have a compact umbrella and lap blankets for the weather fluctuations. If you plan on sitting outside of your RV when you aren’t at the races, bring folding chairs with you because there are no tables or outside seating in the parking lot.
Denver is called the Mile-High City because it sits at an elevation of 5280. Bandimere Speedway sits higher in elevation than the City of Denver at an altitude of 5764. Elevation impacts people differently, and it isn’t uncommon to experience signs of altitude sickness such as shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, and nausea. Prepare yourself by bringing items that will help to ease those symptoms. The dry climate and high elevation dehydrate the body at a faster rate and can cause altitude sickness. Pack plenty of water bottles and electrolytes because the best way to prevent elevation sickness is through proper hydration.
Speedway fans who prefer to cook from the comforts of their RVs can prepare to cook meals using propane stoves or charcoal grills. The RV parking only permits self-contained RVs. There are not any hookups, electricity, or fire pits in the parking lot. If the county is under a no-burn ban, then only propane grills will be permitted.
The town of Morrison offers many restaurant choices such as locally-owned cantinas, bakeries, and bar and grills. Fast food and chain restaurants frequent the streets of Lakewood, Littleton, and Golden. Denver is known for its breweries, so if you are interested in trying craft beer and eating from locally-owned food trucks, Evergreen, Lakewood, Golden, and Littleton have breweries within a short drive of the speedway.
If hot dogs, hamburgers, and nachos are some of your favorite foods to eat while watching the races, you are in luck. The speedway has two concession stands, and both concessions serve soda and beer as well as concession-style foods. People who prefer different foods like kettle corn or pizza can visit one of the independent vendors who set up in and around the grandstand area. Most vendors accept cash and cards. There is an ATM on site for guests who need to withdraw money.
Please be aware that the security staff has the right to inspect any bag or cooler brought through the main gates. Coolers and backpacks must be the size of a six-pack or smaller, and they may not contain glass bottles, alcoholic beverages, or illegal substances. Guests may bring small umbrellas, but golf umbrellas or umbrellas that impede the view of others are not permitted.
The foothills of Denver have weather patterns that are a hybrid of Denver weather mixed with cooler mountain weather. The average July temperatures range from 86° to 52°, but it isn’t uncommon to have hot days near 100° or unseasonably cold days in the 70s. The weather changes quickly, especially when monsoon patterns move across the region. Sunny and hot summer days often have fast-moving afternoon thunderstorms with heavy rain, wind, and hail. The elevation of Morrison, Colorado is 5764, well over a mile, making the sun feel more intense, so temperatures near 86° feel much hotter.
Mobile medical teams are on staff throughout the race weekend. People who require medical assistance should notify a member of the speedway staff, and a member of the medical and first-aid team will be dispatched immediately. If you need medical help outside of the speedway, the closest hospitals are in Lakewood and Littleton. Several urgent care facilities are close to the venue. The nearest urgent care centers are in Golden and Lakewood.