Saturday, September 19, 2020

Garden of the Gods Travel Guide

garden of the gods in colorado springs
During my recent trip to Colorado, we spent a few days in Colorado Springs. Garden of the Gods was high on our list of places to visit. We also found a few other cool things to do around Colorado Springs (another blog post coming soon!). 

Colorado Springs was founded in 1871 as railroads were being extended west. The area now known as Garden of the Gods was bought by Charles Elliot Perkins in 1879 and he intended to build a summer home on the property. He never actually built on the land and in 1909 his children dedicated the park to the city on the condition it remain free, no alcohol would be sold on the land and no structures would be built. Because of this, the natural beauty of the rock formations has been preserved for an estimated six million visitors to enjoy every year. Today, the park is free to enter and open from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the summer.

hiking at garden of the gods

We spent one afternoon hiking at Garden of the Gods and went back the next night to eat dinner and watch the sunset. I highly recommend visiting at sunset, as the park is much less crowded and it was so pretty. You can see the sun go down from the visitor’s center side of the park or watch the light change on the rocks from inside the park. It is also definitely a better time for photos.

A short drive around the park will also allow you to see many of the popular rock formations and fantastic views. There are pull off areas to stop for photos and a few small parking lots throughout the park. We used the big South Garden parking lot to avoid traffic through the park, since we visited on a busy Saturday. There were a lot of people in the Central Garden area during the day, but the crowds thinned out as soon as we got to a hiking trail. It was also way less busy when we stopped by to watch the sunset on Sunday evening. Dogs are also allowed on a leash at Garden of the Gods but be sure to pick up after your pet.

Hikes:

There are a few short trail options around Garden of the Gods. If you want to spend a little more time and see most of the park, choose one of the longer combination loops. Pay attention to the trail signs, because many of these intersect and we ended up hiking longer than planned. There are a total of 21 miles of trails throughout the park.

  • Perkins Central Garden Trail: 1.5 miles, <30 foot elevation change
  • Ridge Trail: ½ mile loop, <100ft elevation change
  • Siamese Twins Trail: 1 mile, <150 foot elevation change
  • Chamber/Bretag/Palmer Trail: 3 miles, <250 foot elevation change
  • Scotsman/Buckskin Charlie Trail: 2 mile loop

kissing camels at garden of the gods     siamese twins at garden of the gods

If you are hiking during the day, be sure to pack extra water. There is little to no shade on most of the trails and it gets really hot in the afternoon. You can also rock climb, but must register before entering the park. We saw plenty of people climbing the bigger rocks in the park, but I prefer to keep my feet on the ground whenever possible. There are a few other ways to spend a day at Garden of the Gods if hiking isn't your thing. Some trails are only for pedestrian traffic, so be sure to check all the signage first.

Other Outdoor Activities:

  • Horseback riding
  • Biking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Jeep Tours
  • Trolley Tours
  • Nearby Camping

hiking at garden of the gods colorado


Garden of the Gods was a really unique place to visit and hike. There are lots of trails for casual hikers and other ways to explore for adventurous visitors. The best part, of course, is that the park is free to enter.

xo,

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visit garden of the gods in colorado springs

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