Hiking the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Early November, I spent a weekend in Colorado Springs and it’s not a trip to Colorado Springs without visiting the Garden of the Gods.
There was a fresh dusting of snow from earlier that week. It was such a beautiful contrast between the white snow and bright orange rocks. There’s beauty in every season.
THE STORY BEHIND THE NAME
The story has it that in 1859 two surveyors came upon this location while exploring. M.S. Beach, suggestion it would be a “capital place for a beer garden.” His companion, Rufus Cable said, “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.” That’s how the Garden of the Gods got its name. One conversation that changed history.
These rock spirals and balancing rocks that look almost surreal. The layers of sedimentary rock were originally deposited horizontally, but the mountain building forces that uplifted the Rocky Mountains and the Pikes Peak massif. Then the Ice Age and erosion followed, creating these beautiful rock formations we see today!
WHAT TO DO
Start by stopping by the Visitor Center. Personally, understanding the geographic history of a place helps me appreciate an area with a deeper understanding. So I watched their 15-minute movie that shows how the Garden of the Gods formed through history.
Drive around and explore the park and the central garden from your car. It’s a loop with different pull-outs, parking lots and viewpoints. When I first drove into the park, I did two driving loops before getting out and hiking. Just to get the lay of the land.
You can also explore the park by hiking, biking, or rock climbing! Highly encouraged! There are about 15 miles of hiking trails that take you through these rock formations.
You can see the full park map here.
You can see the bike map here.
ROCK FORMATIONS TO SEE
- Balanced Rock
- Cathedral Spires
- Giant Footprints
- Gray Rock
- Keyhole Window
- Kissing Camels
- North Gateway Rock 8 Pulpit Rock
- Sentinel Spires
- Siamese Twins
- Sleeping Giant
- South Gateway Rock
- Steamboat Rock
- Three Graces
- Tower of Babel
- White Rock
May 1 – October 31: 5AM – 11PM
November 1 – April 30: 5AM – 9PM
Both the park and Visitor & Nature Center are free and open to the public.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Day.
If you’re ever back in Colorado Springs for an extended length of time, you really should be there at the break of day. That early morning light makes those red sandstone rocks glow!!