Garden of the Gods Colorado Hike Guide

The Virtual Sherpa


Garden of the Gods hiking is not difficult or terribly long, but this extremely popular spot is absolutely worth a visit. Garden of the Gods is a small park sitting right outside of Colorado Springs at the base of Pike’s Peak. This beautiful park is frequented by visitors from Colorado and out of state year round. Garden of the Gods for me is not a destination hike but is a great place to visit if you are in the area. The park offers paved and gravel trails that provide beautiful views of the sandstone that is thousands of years old and has a “reddish” tint to it. This park is great for beginner hikers and families.

Garden of the Gods Colorado Hiking Quick Facts

Garden of the Gods Rating: ★★ ★ (3/5 Stars)

Distance: Various-Most Common Trail is Perkins Trail (1.5 miles RT) – View a complete map of the park here

Elevation Start: 6,400 ft

Summit: Depends on trail you choose, but most gain 100-200 feet maximum.

Estimated Time to Complete: 20-30 minutes at leisurely pace

Difficulty: Walk in the Park What does this mean?

Class: Class 1

Season: Year Round

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Directions to Garden of the Gods Hiking

Getting There: Garden of the Gods is a destination you can enter into your favorite navigation app. Essentially, you take I25 North or South to exit 145 and follow west Fillmore st to the park entrance.

Fees: Parking at Garden of the Gods is free.

Parking: Free parking lots are available at the bottom of most trailheads in the park. There are bathrooms with plumbing available at most parking areas. If you are looking for a good place to grab a snack or shop for souvenirs, head to the visitors center. 

Dogs: Dogs are allowed at Garden of the Gods but must be on a 6 foot leash at all times. There are some areas where your dog can “run free”. You can view the Garden of the Gods website for more information.

Camping: Camping near Garden of the Gods is not really an option. Colorado Springs is a major city in Colorado, so finding a camping spot or ground here would be like trying to do the same thing in Denver. It is certainly possible…but I just wouldn’t recommend it. Grab a hotel or Airbnb (not a sponsored mention) for the night if you need lodging.

Make it a Loop: Although the Garden of the Gods is not your typical hiking experience the park does contain over 15 miles of trails, most of which are easily looped back to where you started. If you are really ambitious, start your day at Garden of the Gods and work your way over to Pike’s Peak.

Mountain X Factors: Garden of the Gods is a very popular spot for those looking to do some rock climbing. From beginner to more advanced routes, this park has a ton to offer. I personally have never climbed at the park, but if I do in the future I will be sure to add an additional post for this.

Hike Tip(s): Garden of the Gods is one of the most visited landmarks in Colorado. I always get there early and enjoy the scenery with less people. I also recommend visiting the visitor’s center after, which has some great views of the park with Pikes Peak in the background. Also, everyone tends to gravitate towards the center trails of the park, so be sure to visit some of the trails that work their way on the outskirts of the park for a unique and less traveled experience.

This is a complete sidebar and I don’t mean to deter people from visiting Garden of the Gods, but in my honest opinion Roxborough State Park offers extremely similar experience to Garden of the Gods with far less crowd and its much closer to Denver.

Best Views: There are so many beautiful spots to take photos here. If you are looking for some less populated shots, drive down some of the access roads and use some of the pull-offs to get great views of the park and neighboring mountains with far less people. I also really enjoy the views that the visitor center has to offer. Be sure to check out balancing rock as well, this is a stop on the side of the road but certainly worth checking out.

My Trip to Garden of the Gods: 2015

Since Garden of the Gods is more of walk in the park experience, I will skip my trip summary here. I can tell you that Garden of the Gods is accessible year around with the exact same gear above needed (perhaps warmer clothes may be required in the winter).  However, if you have a question that I don’t cover, feel free to leave a comment below!

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