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With a two hour drive ahead of us to Colorado Springs, we didn’t even get up surprisingly early. After a coffee stop, we were on our way to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Neither of us really knew what to expect. We thought natural sort of smallish rock sculptures or an arboretum kind of thing. Wrong. Both wrong. Very wrong.
It is a bunch of large natural rock formations, very large, that are even used for rock climbing. This was not why we were there though, we just wanted a good wander. The sky wasn’t looking too promising though, but it held out and we had a rain-free day.
These formations were spread out in a surprisingly large space, so give yourself a lot of time to walk through it. We didn’t get terribly far, but we were also pretty hungry at that point. Hungry or not, though, it was a pretty cool place. I think that dark sky just made it that much cooler, too. I’m a sucker for some cool clouds and sky action.
While we were there, we stopped into the Visitor Center to look around and get some water before hitting the trail. We probably spent an hour, maybe two, walking the trails among the formations, admiring the rock climbers. The weather wasn’t looking great, so we didn’t want to go too far and end up getting stormed on.
I would love to go back to see more of the Colorado Springs area in general, but more of Garden of the Gods, too. There was a lot we didn’t get to see. All the more reason to go back! It kind of reminds me of Arches National Park with it’s formations, but different. It’s got that awesome red rock of southern Utah.
Where is Garden of the Gods in Colorado?
Just outside of Colorado Springs, just over an hour from both Denver and Pikes Peak. It makes for a great day trip from Denver with a trip up to Pikes Peak, too.
How much is Garden of the Gods in Colorado?
Free! This is the perfect outdoor activity in Colorado Springs for anyone that wants to hike, but especially for people on a budget.
When is Garden of the Gods in Colorado open?
The park itself is open from 5AM to 10 PM and the visitor center is open 9AM to 3PM Monday to Thursday and 9AM to 5PM Friday to Sunday.
What to bring hiking in Garden of the Gods
Hiking poles – These will be helpful on longer hikes that are on the steeper side. They’ll be good if you have bad knees for when you’re going downhill and will give you something to lean on going up the hills.
Snacks – These are more important for long hikes, but you never know when you’ll get hungry! I like EPIC bars (kind of like beef jerky but different), Sahale nut mix things, and Moon Cheese. There’s always the good old Clif Bars and trail mix, too.
Light Jacket – Because you just never know. Weather can change quickly depending on where you are and if you’ll be in any slot canyons, they can get cool depending on the time of day and season. I usually use my rain jacket for this.
Headlamp – I tend to carry my headlamp around all the time when we’re hiking. It’s good to have along for sunrise or sunset hikes, too. This isn’t the exact one I have, but it’s similar and if I needed to replace mine, I’d probably get this one.
Things to do at Garden of the Gods
There are tons of things to do at Garden of the Gods in Colorado for everyone in the family. Hiking is probably the most popular but you really just can’t go wrong here.
You can rent e-bikes and mountain bikes to use in the park, you can go on bike tours in the park, and you can bring your own bike into the park. Whichever option you choose, you’re going to get to see a lot of the park, just remember the elevation is over 6,000 feet and some trails have up to 15% grade.
There are plenty of hiking paths through the park, paved and dirt, to keep you busy for a few days at least now matter your hiking skill level. I really want to go back and do a lot more hiking here because it really looks amazing.
There are rock climbing tours at Garden on the Gods, but you can also climb on your own as long as you’re experienced with that. This is one of the most historic climbing venues in the world, so it would be pretty cool to be able to try it here.
These vary in price from $17-$92 depending on what you choose. The Segway tour is $92 and lasts 90-120 minutes. The 1907 Trolly tour lasts about 45 minutes and is a fun way to see the park. They may not be available in winter though. Finally, the Jeep tours are anywhere from $40-$75 and vary in length and sights.
Hopefully, this has gotten you excited about visiting Garden of the Gods in Colorado on your next trip out there. I know it has me itching to get back as soon as I can!
Have you been to the Garden of the Gods? What did you think? Do you want to go?