After waving goodbye to the beauty of Great Sand Dunes, my mom and I continued making our way north back toward Montana.
Our next stop was just outside Colorado Springs at the Garden of the Gods. Garden of the Gods is a large public park that is home to towering red rock formations. Its beauty is said to be “fit for the Gods,” thus how the park got its name. The geological features at Garden of the Gods are millions of years old; the shapes are a result of erosion while the color can be mostly attributed to the presence of iron in the rock.
Adding a second layer of beauty to Garden of the Gods is its location at the base of the Rocky Mountains, with Pikes Peak – one of the tallest and most prominent mountains in Colorado – in the background.
Admission to Garden of the Gods is free. The park has picnic tables, a Visitor & Nature Center with exhibits explaining the geology, ecology, and human history of the area, and 15 miles (24 km) of trails. We hiked the 1.5 mile (2.4 km) Perkins Central Gardens loop trail that weaves in and around some of the red rock formations.
I was very sad a couple summers back when those horrible forest fires swept through Colorado. The area around Garden of the Gods was among those that were affected. However, I read someone else’s blog post about Garden of the Gods a few months back (shout-out to whoever this was, I can’t remember…) and their photos didn’t show any evidence of the fires so the park itself, at least, seems to have been spared.
There isn’t much more to say here, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet and just include a bunch of photos. Enjoy!
The Important Stuff:
- Getting there: located in West Colorado Springs, just off of US Highway 24; it’s well-signed and easy to find
- Fees & passes: none!
- Camping: none in the park, plenty of options nearby
- Hiking: 15 miles (24 km) of easy trails; we walked the 1.5 mile (2.4 km) Perkins Central Gardens loop, which passes close by many of the features
- Other: The park is open from 5am-11pm and the visitor center is open 8am-7pm in the summer, with shortened hours in the winter