Article: Part 7 US Road Trip Visit of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
This is the 7th part of our U.S. cross country road trip adventure. You can read the other parts here.
Visit to the Garden of the Gods
After we spent one more night in Silt, Colorado, another hotel deal lead us on 17th of July to Centennial in Colorado which is in the tech center of Denver where we stayed for the following three days.
On one of the days we drove to a nearby attraction called the Garden of the Gods which is located in Colorado Springs (the car journey from Denver to the attraction takes about an hour).
The Garden of the Gods is a city park that contains beautiful red rock formations.
In the mid-19th century the surveyor called Rufus Cable explored the site together with his companion and he was so struck by the beauty of this site that he suggested it be called the Garden of the Gods as it was a place where gods assemble. It is a popular site to do mountain biking, rock climbing and hiking. You can find several easy to moderate hiking trails there.
What makes this park so special and popular are three reasons. One is the obvious beauty of the nature, the second is that the trails are easily accessible and the third reason is that it is free to enter.
In the late 19th century Charles C Perkins purchased a large part of the land where the park is located today and upon his death his family donated the land to the city with the condition that it shall always be free for the people.
We arrived there in the morning before 10am as we wanted to participate in the free nature walk. As it was July, it was already very busy. There were only a few spots left at the visitor center. We picked up a map and thereafter drove to the Northern Parking lot from where the walks start from. Unfortunately there weren’t any parking spots left and we had to drive further south along the Garden Drive and eventually ended up finding a parking space near the Scotsman Picnic area. We ended up being too late for the 10am nature walk. Officially they provide the free nature walks at 10am and at 2pm. To our luck they also provided additional walks at other times of the day when it is a busy time of the year. We joined the next walk at 11am.
Our guide was very good and he really brought the story of the park to life and gave you a good insight into the nature. During the tour you walk right in between the rocks. They reminded us of those you can find in Arizona and Utah. They are just on a more compact and smaller scale at the Garden of the Gods. Along the walk we passed various visitors and rock climbers. Some of the rocks are not so big which makes them ideal for beginning climbers.
The nature walk was approx. 30 minutes long and afterwards our guide directed us to the Chambers/Bretag/Palmer Trail which is a moderate hiking trail that sort of circles around park. We crossed the road near the Sentinel Rock and then turned right. If you continue along this trail you come back near the top of the Northern Parking Lot. It is perfect to get a good viewpoint and to photograph the Garden of the Gods.
After we had walked along this trail for a while and once we reached a good viewpoint, we headed back down as we also wanted to do the Siamese Twins Trail which is a little bit south of the park.
We parked at the nearby Spring Canyons Parking Area and then hiked up to the twins. Overall are the hiking trails in the park not so long and difficult, however the heat in the summer makes it a little bit harder.
There weren’t so many cars at the parking area near the Siamese Twins. The hike to the rocks is really worth as it gives you some good viewpoints and you can take a photo through the twins.
Once we finished the hike we drove out of the park through the South where the famous balanced rock is. There were many people gathered around the rock and the traffic was very slow on our way out so we didn’t actually had to stop to get a good photograph of the balanced rock.
We can highly recommend visiting this park, although due to its popularity, it is probably best to be seen in the week during the off season.
Details for the visit of the park
Opening hours of the park:
May – Oct: 5 am until 11pm
Nov – Apr: 5 am until 9pm
Note: The opening hours of the Visitor Center are different from the hours of the park!
Address Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center
1805 N 30th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80904, United States
Click here to visit the website of the park