DENVER (KDVR) – The opening episode of the widely anticipated Amazon Prime series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will be accessible on your streaming device at 7 p.m. Thursday, bringing the end of a long wait for J.R.R. Tolkien fans who haven’t seen an on-screen adaptation of the legendary author’s work since the final installment of The Hobbit in 2014.
According to the series description, it will take place thousands of years before Bilbo, Frodo or Aragorn ever existed. The Rings of Power is set partially in Middle-Earth, where The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings took place, as well as the island kingdom of Numenor, which hasn’t made it to the screen in previous installments.
What you may recognize with haste, however, are the names of local landmarks, areas and regions listed While we can’t visit the fantasy realms from Tolkien’s work, there are several real-world locations right here in Colorado that are going to make you feel like your living among the hobbits, dwarves and elves of Middle Earth.
(Compare to Tolkien’s Cirith Ungol)
This staircase doesn’t look too much like the edge of Mordor, but if you are looking for a walk that simulates the challenges that Samwise and Frodo felt summiting the nearly vertical stairs of Cirith Ungol, then take your best high-stepping shoes down to Manitou Springs where you can tackle the Manitou Incline.
You won’t find the lembas bread that Gollum threw over the edge of the climb in an effort to frame Samwise, so be sure to bring a snack on this physically daunting task of a staircase. Also important to mention is the fact that there have not been any reports of oversized primordial spiders that could
Garden of the Gods
(Compare to Tolkien’s Dimrill Dale)
A moment frozen in many Lord of the Rings fans’ minds occurred immediately after the presumed demise of Gandalf the Grey, who had fallen into a dark abyss following a tragic whipping accident.
As Merry, Pippin and pals all wept for their lost magic man, they did so among rocks that resemble the formations at Garden of the Gods.
So, if you’ve been looking for a well-equipped location to reenact coming to terms with the death of a wizard, then look no further than this Colorado Springs tourist spot.
(Compare to Tolkien’s Redhorn Pass)
Little time was spent atop Redhorn Pass as the fellowship took its early steps toward Mount Doom across some of Middle Earth’s high country. That’s because Saruman halted their progression with some avalanche-like conditions.
One thing that can be nearly 100% guaranteed for those who visit the trails of the similarly looking Cottonwood Pass is that there won’t be any magic-induced natural disasters, nor will there be any bird scouts trying to tell their owners of your whereabouts. You’re phone’s GPS has that covered anyway.
(Compare to Tolkien’s Rivendell)
The House of Elrond may not fall within the borders of Idaho Springs, but while driving parallel to Clear Creek along Interstate 70, you may catch a glimpse of the historic water wheel, which puts off a Rivendell-like motif. This small mountain town is a great spot to gather your party before heading further into the high country.
Not to mention the small city has a few watering holes including Tommyknocker Brewery, Westbound & Down Brewery and Clear Creek Cidery & Eatery, any of which is a great spot to stop in for sustenance ahead of your fellowship’s journey.
(Compare to Tolkien’s Fangorn Forest)
The Fangorn Forest has been the setting of several plot twists throughout Tolkien’s writings, including:
- Merry and Pippin escape the Orcs, leaving the rest of the party to believe they had died
- The Ents decide to assault Isengard releasing their tree army upon Saruman
- Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn meet Gandalf the White for the first time
The foliage that makeup Estes Park isn’t nearly as foreboding and dark-toned as the Middle Earth forest, but what it is known for, peeping season, is about to arrive in full in the coming weeks. Consider taking a meander through these trees during their prettiest weeks.