Magical red rock planes and the relatively sheltered site attracted prehistoric peoples, who left multiple archaeological sites within this park. Henry S. Persse, a pioneer settler, and fellow investors planned a large resort that never developed, although Roxborough did become a favorite outing place for Denverites.
A single kiln near the park entrance is the last remnant of the Silica Brick and Clay Company operation of 1904–1913. Of the Persse homestead, a sandstone house (c. 1903) with a metal roof remains, along with a barn constructed of old hewn and newer peeled logs with saddle notching, and two pole log sheds. These ruins lent inspiration for the George T. O'Malley Visitors' Center (1985, G. Cabell Childress Architects), a rustic textured and tinted concrete structure nestled into one of the rock formations and adorned with Frederick Myers's sculpture, Kokopelli, the humpbacked Indian flute player whose figure also shapes the courtyard. Residents of upscale subdivisions on the park's east, north, and west sides closed access to the park in 1981, trying to create a private enclave from public land. Public protest finally reopened this 1,500-acre state park, easily accessible for year-round use.