The Garden of the Gods Park is one of the most stunning natural attractions in Colorado Springs. It is a paradise that's free to visit and pure magic to explore. It is a stunning landscape boasting around 300 towering sandstone rock formations all set against the picturesque backdrop of the snow-capped Pikes Peak.
Next time one is in Colorado Springs be sure to pop in and see one of the nation's most spectacular city parks. See here for why one should also visit Denver, Colorado.
About The Garden of the Gods
The distinctive red rock formations have been formed during a geological upheaval along a natural fault line millions of years ago. The outcroppings are mostly composed of Lyons Formations - these are types of stone formed from fine sand from ancient sand dunes.
In the past, the Garden of the Gods was called Red Rock Corral. The story goes that the early surveyors remarked it would be the "capital place for a beer garden". Another responded it would be the perfect place for the Gods to assemble - and so the name stuck.
- Status: A Registered National Natural Landmark
When in the park, be sure to visit the Visitor and Nature Center with its museum. It is now the most visited attraction in the region.
- Largest Outcroppings: Called "North Gateway", "South Gateway", "Gray Rock", And "Sleeping Giant" (They Are Mostly Composed Of Lyons Formations)
- Dogs: Dogs Must Be Kept On A 6-Foot Leash, Other Than One Designated Where Dogs Can Run Free
Hiking In the Park
The park is a favorite hiking and climbing destination - hiking for easy short hikes just out of Colorado Springs. There are some 21 miles of hiking trails inside of the park, the trails are:
- Perkins Central Garden Trail: An Easy 1.5 Mile Roundtrip Path. Runs Through The Heart Of The Park At The Base of the Highest of the Rock Outcrops
- Ridge Trail: A Moderate 0.5 Mile Loop. Runs Through The Rocky Outcrops
- Siamese Twins Trail: An Easy 1 Mile Roundtrip. Offers A Unique View Of The Pikes Peak Through The National Window of The Twins
- Chambers/Bretag/Palmer Trail: A Moderate 3 Mile Trail. Nearly Circles The Whole Park
- Scotsman/Buckskin Charlie Trail: A Moderate Trail Looping Through The Park. Has Distant Views of the Central Garden Formations
When visiting the park, everyone is asked to stay on the trail as the soil here is very unique and sensitive. Decades of destruction can result from a person wandering off the trail.
One other option is horseback riding. There are horse riding tours that can be scheduled with the nearby Academy Riding Stables. One can bring their own horse to the park but must stick to the designated trails.
Rock Climbing In The Park
Rockling is another of the main attractions of the park. One can scramble, climb, and rappel on these stunning rocky outcrops. One of the companies offering hiking to the summit is Front Range Climbing. They offer tours that are available daily from the visitor center:
- Duration: 1.5 Hours
- Cost: $ 79.00 Per Person
- Upgrade: To the Giant Rappel (Add $40.00)
For rock climbing, a Rock Climbing Permit and the appropriate safety gear are required. One can get the permit online or at the information desk at the park.
- Fine: There Is Up To $500.00 For Those Without A Permit
Garden of the Gods is a city park, so one can stay anywhere in Colorado Springs. But if the budget permits, consider staying at the Garden of the Gods Resort and Club. They are situated directly opposite the entrance to the park and offer stunning views of one of the most stunning city parks in the nation.
Their accommodation is pricey, ranging from around $500.00 per night to $750.00. See their website for more information and availability.
There are also many camping areas nearby (but not inside of the park) - check at the Visitor and Nature Center for a list of places where camping is permitted.
Visiting The Garden Of The Gods
The Garden of the Gods Park and the Visitor and Nature Center are free to enter.
- Cost of Admission: Free
- May 1 to October 31: 5:00 to 10:00 pm
- November 1 to April 30: 5:00 to 9:00 pm
- Visitor and Nature Center: Memorial Day to Labor Day: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm (Rest of The Year from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm)
While there dine at Bean Sprouts. Bean Sprouts offers the wholesome and healthy food one needs to explore the park. It is a hip and healthy cafe with a variety of choices to pick from. They "adhere to clean ingredient guidelines and features organic and sustainable foods, compostable packaging, and eco-friendly design."