Garden of The Gods, A Colorado Must-See

For years now, I've been admiring and practically drooling over images of the infamous orange rock formations of Garden of The Gods Park. I've dreamed of being able to see the rocks with my own eyes, walk alongside them, and photograph them for myself. Located in Colorado Springs, I immediately brought up the park as a must-stop location when Colton and I started talking about a hiking trip to Colorado.


Normally our trips are centered around national parks as Colton and I have a goal to visit all 62 of them in the United States. This was still the case for the trip as we visited Rocky Mountain, Black Canyon of The Gunnison, and The Great Sand Dunes National Parks- but if you've kept up with our previous trips you'll know that sometimes smaller parks can be just as beautiful- I'm referring to (and highly recommend) Valley of Fire State Park in Overton, Nevada, just a short drive from Zion National Park in Utah.


Garden of The Gods has the one thing I am bewildered by and obsessed with most in nature- the color orange. I think my love for orange in nature has to do with my life thus far being surrounded by the green colors of Ohio trails. The color seems so foreign to me, extraordinary, and captivating. And just as I expected, our visit to Garden of The Gods left me just as amazed as I imagined -I can't wait to share it's wonder with you!


Park Address: 1805 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904


Park History


Over 200 acres of the land that would one day become Garden of The Gods was bought by Charles Elliot Perkins in 1879. Perkins was involved in the railroad industry with plans of building a route from Chicago to Colorado Springs. The property he had bought was to serve as his home during the project, but instead was left in its natural state for public use. Perkins did buy more land in the area with hopes it would one day serve as a free, public park, but died in 1907 before making the arrangements.


Following what they knew were their father's wishes, Perkins' children gifted the city of Colorado Springs Garden of The Gods Park. Their wishes were simply that it would be forever known as the Garden of the Gods, "where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park."


The land came to be known as Garden of The Gods by two surveyors in the late 1850s. One surveyor had thought the location would be a perfect place for a beer garden. When announcing this the other surveyor had explained the land was fit for The Gods, and thus, Garden of The Gods' name was born!


3 Recommended Trails


Susan G. Bretag Trail and Palmer Loop


Trail Length: 2.5 miles

Trail Type: Loop

Elevation Gain: 321 feet

Trail Rating: Easy

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/susan-g-bretag-trail-and-palmer-trail-loop


This was the first trail we hiked once getting to the park. We had arrived to the park around 6 am, wanting to get in all of our desired hiking prior to some expected rain showers. As much as I would love to during our trips, Colton and I have a hard time waking up for sunrises. Usually we're either exhausted from our previous hikes or having to hit the road early for our next destination without enough time to appreciate it. Sunrise at Garden of The Gods is really something to witness. The orange of the rocks seemed to glow as the sun rose. I found myself hiking completely with my head toward the sky, staring in amazement.


I'm listing this route as a recommendation due to the fact that it is not heavily populated by other hikers. As the hours passed more and more visitors arrived and this trail seemed to become popular for local joggers. At the time we were hiking, though, the sun was rising and sending an incredible glow over the rocks. This path is on the outer portions of the park and offers a unique viewing of the rock formations at a distance. There were also mule deer grazing alongside the path every few hundred feet- which was a really fun addition to our visit!


Perkins Central Garden Trail


Trail Length: 1.1 miles

Trail Type: Loop

Elevation Gain: 75 feet

Trail Rating: Easy

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/perkins-central-garden-trail


This is what I would arguably assume as the most popular trail in the park- for good reason. This trail is paved and brings visitors up close and personal to the sandstone. Perkins Central Garden Trail gives visitors a true appreciation of the size and uniqueness of each rock formation within the center of the park. The cathedral rocks were my favorite. They were so tall and thin, seeming to come out of the earth at random.

Ridge Trail


Trail Length: 0.4 miles

Trail Type: Loop

Elevation Gain: 65 feet

Trail Rating: Easy

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/ridge-loop-trail


This was probably my favorite hike of our visit. It is short and easy, but is on an elevated section of the park that offers really cool vantage points for the main formations in the park. It was a great spot for photography! It also offers view of the famous, Pikes Peak. Standing at 14,115 foot tall, Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of The Rocky Mountains.

Rock Climbing


While we didn't have the time in our itinerary and I'm not sure I would've had the guts to try, another popular park activity is rock climbing. For more information, click here: https://www.gardenofgods.com/things-to-do/things-1/rock-climbing


I wanted to share a little bit about this park and our visit here- not only because it is a gorgeous place, but it is fit for all ages to visit. Even just a drive through the park offers impressive views- some closer to vehicle than you may think, such as Balanced Rock (see below). A lot of my blog posts center around challenging hikes, but I don't think you have to have accomplished those types of hikes to consider yourself a hiker. All it takes is a good pair of boots and a heart for the outdoors. I hope this post inspired you to add Garden of The Gods to your list of places to visit!

For more information about the park and how to plan the perfect visit for you, visit the website: https://www.gardenofgods.com/


"Travel far enough to meet yourself" -David Mitchell

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