Garden of the Gods is a city park in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This park is a must see!
It is worth the trip to see the unique rock formations. Supposedly, these rocks were the inspiration behind the words for “America the Beautiful.”
Garden of the Gods park admission is unbelievably free! You can donate at the Visitor and Nature Center if you choose. As you can imagine, with the great price and splendid rocks, it can be very crowded especially during the summer months and on weekends.
Garden of the Gods is on the west side of Colorado Springs. From I-25 drive west on Garden of the Gods Road (exit #146). Turn south on 30th Street. You will see the Visitor & Nature Center on the East side of the road.
I recommend starting your visit at the Visitor & Nature Center. There are maps, the best bathrooms in the park, food, and informative displays. For a fee, there is a film about the park. You may think it is expensive for such a short film, but the information is great and the proceeds support the park.
My favorite hike is the Perkins Central Garden Trail. It is really more of a walk. I recommend parking in the main parking lot on the north side of the park. The trail is a loop through the middle of the park. You will find yourself walking among some of the most interesting rock formations.
My second favorite stop is Balanced Rock. Although this can be one of the most crowded spots in the park, it is worth a look.
For more information on the trails, I recommend picking up a map at the Visitor & Nature Center.
There is an abundance of wildlife, especially birds. My favorite is the red-tailed hawk. The park website has a nice picture-listing of birds you may see in the park. In addition to many birds, we were fortunate to see big horn sheep on a steep rocky slope, north of the main parking lot.
Be prepared before you go. Wear good shoes for hiking. Even if you take one of the easy trails, you may enjoy a steeper hiking trail detour. Bring water. The bathroom areas do provide water. However, there is no drinking water available on the trails. Check the weather forecast. Rain or snow storms can form quickly in the mountains. On a hot day, a hat and sunscreen can help protect you from the relentless mountain sun. Dress appropriately. Make sure your camera batteries are charged.
Garden of the Gods is handicap accessible. I recommend my favorite Central Garden trail. It is a sidewalk. Yes, there are a few ups and downs, but it is incredibly smooth and flat for being in the mountains.
Garden of the Gods is a popular among the rock climbers. If you want to participate, you must register. The park website lists the details on the climbing regulations.
Currently dogs are allowed in the park. In most areas of the park, dogs must be on a leash. Be prepared to pick up after your dog.
For more information, please see the Garden of the Gods website at www.gardenofgods.com. The website details hours, directions, the Junior Ranger program, the park history, the Theiophytalia Kerri dinosaur, events, tours, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more.
I highly recommend visiting Garden of the Gods. It really is a “must see” park.