Garden of the Gods is one of our favorite parks in Colorado with more than 15 miles of trails to explore and take breathtaking photos. It is one of the top places to visit at the base of the Pikes Peak region and only 10 minutes away from downtown Colorado Springs.
This is a popular place to witness spectacular bring red sandstone rock formations. It is the perfect natural adventure to take your furry friend for a run while exploring unique landscapes. Dogs are allowed in the park as long as they are on a 6-foot leash unless otherwise noted and remember, please clean after your dog.
Entrance is free to Garden of the God, one of the most iconic and breathtaking views of all of Colorado. The park is open daily from 5 AM to 9 PM. The park prominently features 19 different rock formations against a natural backdrop.
The Garden of the Gods Park has several hikes of varying lengths throughout the park, but none of them are strenuous. If you are not much of a hiker you can reach most of the main viewpoints by car. You can easily finish the entire park in a day.
The main hiking trails
Central Garden Trail: It is one of the easiest hikes in the park along the base of the highest rock formation. Make your way passed some of the most iconic formations in the park. This loop is a concrete path wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Ridge Trail: This is the perfect trail to get up close and personal among the rocky formations and it is only a .5 mile loop.
Siamese Twin Trail: It is the best place to get a great view of the Pikes Peak through the window of the Siamese Twins. It is a 3 mile hike with less than 250 feet elevation gain.
Niobrara/Chambers/Ute Trail: It is a moderate three mile hike around the park giving you expansive panoramic views.
Palmer/ Scotsman/ Buckskin Charlie Trail: It is a moderate loop trail around the park with some of the best views of the classic sandstone formations.
Click here for the Garden of the Gods park map.
Camping at Garden of the Gods Park
Although you can visit Garden of Gods completely in a day, there is always the option to stay overnight and hike all 15 miles of trails and other nearby hiking trails. There is not a campground in the park but there are many camping areas nearby. The Colorado Springs Visitors Bureau has a list of local campgrounds available.
Simple rules that will help protect the park for future generations
The breathtaking sandstone formations make Garden of the Gods a destination to visit from Colorado Springs and beyond. However, these natural formations are fragile and you need to make an active effort to protect them for future generations to enjoy.
- Do not walk off the marked trails, the soil is really sensitive and it can be easily damaged.
- Do not mark or carve on the rocks.
- Take only photos, leave only footprints.
Other Outdoor Adventures in Colorado Springs
When visiting Garden of the Gods, there are so many outdoor adventures possible in the greater Colorado Springs area, it is easy to turn your trip into a weekend or weeklong getaway. We have included some of our favorite spots to build your own outdoor itinerary.
One of the most difficult, yet rewarding hikes Steven has ever completed is Pikes Peak. Hiking the Barr Trail to the peak takes you over 7,500 feet in elevation gain and is the equivalent length of a marathon when completing it roundtrip. Start hiking before sunrise to carry your way through the beautiful forest and up towards the 14,115ft summit.
Be prepared for a full day hike, as it took Steven nearly 16 hours to complete the hike, leaving before sunrise and arriving just as the sun began to set. Storms are common at the peak in the afternoon, making an early start that much more important. The most interesting part of this hike is that you will be greeted at the top with a visitor center and a restaurant, a rare treat for those hiking such a distance.
For those who are less inclined for an extreme hiking experience, but still want to experience one of Colorado’s majestic 14ners, you can take a scenic drive to the peak, either with your own car or a shuttle during the busy season.
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Not all the adventures in Colorado Springs are as intense as hiking over 26 miles! For an adrenaline filled day, head on over to the Cave of the Winds. Enjoy a guided tour through the many spectacular rooms throughout the cave complex with a glimpse at the interesting geological features.
There are two tour options, one that covers the caverns with a paved walkway and the second which explores the unimproved caves by candlelight.
If you would like to add a bit of adrenaline to your day at the Cave of the Winds, get ready for the Terror-dactyl. The best way to describe this 150 foot drop into Williams Canyon is one giant swing. Starting from the edge of a cliff you will quickly find yourself falling at nearly 100 miles per hour as you swing over the canyon floor.
Colorado Springs: The outdoor adventure playground
No matter what type of outdoor adventure you are looking for, Colorado Springs has something to offer. If you are looking for day long hikes, beautiful strolls, breathtaking natural features or adrenaline inducing rides you will find it all here.
Always plan a day or two extra on to your trip to Colorado Springs as it is perched 6,035 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains, with many of the outdoor adventures taking you higher. This means you will need proper time to acclimate and plenty of time to explore the bustling city as well.
Photos courtesy of Colorado Springs CVB.
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