According to the legend, some explorers gave this place the name ‘Garden of the Gods’. The whole incident is quite amusing- how a simple incident can lead to a beautiful naming! One explorer said that area could be a potential beer garden, whereas another explorer thought this place is fit to be a place for the Gods to assemble and named it Garden of the Gods. Though I am not quite sure about the reality or truth of such stories, still the name is perfect for this place. When I visit any place, I love to know more about the place. So, I visited the exhibits at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. The experience gave me a lot of information about the place. Millions of years ago, these rock formations were created, and they lie on a fault line that had caused the slabs of rock to be leaned at an angle vertically into ‘fin’-like form as the tectonic plates moved. The reason behind the color of the rocks is the presence of hematite in the formation.
When I first entered the park, my first impression was ‘wow!’. Colorado has so many different types of places to visit, variety of mountains, but this is like no other- this is unique. This place is like a place straight out from the wallpaper. The rock formations are breathtaking. As a result, you will get to share this place with a lot of people. If this is your first time, do not forget to bring your hiking boots or your bike and biking gear with you. There are a lot of things to do especially with family and kids. Kids, as well as adults, love this place. You can choose any of the hiking trails and go as far as you want to take your experience.
There are several options to hike here in Garden of the Gods. You can go for the easiest but most explored one- Perkins Central Gardens trail. This 1.5-mile trail is relatively flat and easily accessible- the good part is this trail is wheelchair accessible. Due to the popularity of the trail, the parking lot tends to fill up very quickly. You may have to wait for a while to get a parking spot, especially during the weekends. There are a lot of different rock formations which make this trail interesting. Another trail is Siamese Twins trail, a 1-mile (round trip) easy trail, in which you will be able to enjoy the perfect view of Pikes Peak through the window of the ‘twins’. The ‘twins’ are combined of two red rock formations that created a natural window in between. This one is a bit different than the Perkins Central Gardens trail because it is not paved and you have to take a few stairs, walk over loose dirt and gravel.
There are different other trails such as Ridge trail (0.5-mile loop) which will provide the view of the Sleeping Giant rock formation, Palmer trail (3 miles). Most of the trails are easy to follow and not much elevation gain. And the good part is you will be able to see different beautiful rock formations.
Another best way to explore the park is to drive the 5.6-mile Scenic drive. Start at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center on the east end of the park and make your way to the Juniper Way Loop. This one-way road will take you through the central garden area accompanied by a lot of viewpoints to check out different iconic rock formations such as Balanced Rock, Kissing Camels, etc. You can also bike here at the park which I think is a great way to explore. In case, you do not have a bike with you, you can rent one from the park which has several options including traditional mountain bikes and electric bikes. If you are into climbing, you can opt for rock climbing and bouldering. But you need a permit for that, and you must bring your gear.
This place has so many things to offer, and this is a perfect place for a family getaway. You can enjoy the trails, see the breathtaking beauty while driving or hiking. Most importantly, it is free and a unique place very close to Denver, Colorado.
At a glance
- Activity: hiking, biking, sightseeing, Nature trail, birding, Scenic drive, Rock climbing, Rappelling
- Address: 1805 N. 30th St., Colorado Springs, CO 80904
- Park Hours: 5:00 am to 9:00 pm (November 1 – April 30)
- 5:00 am to 10:00 pm (May 1 – October 31)
- Visitor Center & Nature Center Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Winter)
- 8:00 am to 7:00 pm (Summer)
- Permit/fee: free and open to the public
- Contact: 719-634-6666
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The soil here is unique but sensitive. Please stay on the official trails to protect the land and park.
- Please do not make or carve the rocks. Do not remove any natural features. Take as many pictures as you want, but do not write any letter or your name on the rocks. It's not worthy.
- Overnight camping is not allowed here in the park.
- For any kind of rock-climbing activities and bouldering, you will need a permit and necessary safety gear. Get the permit online from here:
- Rock Climbing Permit | Colorado Springs
- You can also get the permit at the information desk in the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. If you don’t have a proper permit, you may get fine of up to $500.
- For drone use, you will need a proper permit and insurance. Permits and other information can be found here:
- Film - Colorado Springs Vacation & Tourism Information | Colorado Springs, Colorado (visitcos.com)
- Commercial Photography, Video and Drone Permits | Colorado Springs
- Please go through the rules and regulations if this is applicable for you and you can get a permit.
- Last but not the least, please practice leave no trace principle.