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Colorado’s “Garden of the Gods” Should Make Everyone’s Bucket List

garden of the gods

Outside the city of Colorado Springs, you’ll find Garden of the Gods Park, one of America’s most impressive national natural landmarks. The park is known for popular rock formations you’d recognize from social media posts.

It’s an excellent destination for rock climbing, mountain biking, and horseback riding, not to mention more simple forms of exploration like jeep tours and guided nature walks. Given Garden of the Gods’ spectacular views and miles of trails, it’s a wonder that the whole Pikes Peak region it’s located in hasn’t been made into an official national park.

At over 6,000 feet in elevation, Garden of the Gods is situated on the mighty Rocky Mountain range’s eastern slope, just about 70 miles south of Denver. Perhaps more important than the park’s superficial geographical status is the fact that it has free admission. Whether you’re a prince or a pauper, we hope that the following guide helps you make the most of your trip!

Garden of the Gods is full of fantastic features that’ll make any trip that much better. The following is everything you need to consider when planning your excursion.

Colorado Springs Facilities

Like many modern outdoor recreational areas, Garden of the Gods has a load of manmade attractions that make it that much more of a blast to experience. Along with parking lots and picnic grounds, guests can expect to enjoy the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center (gift shop very much included!).

That’s not to mention the aptly named Garden of the Gods Trading Post, where you can get fudge, hamburgers, and much more.

In the northeast section of the park, there’s also the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site and the hilariously named “Dargen of the Dogs” dog park.

Red Rock Formations

If you visit the park, make sure to visit each of its most popular red rock formations. These include Kissing Camels, Balanced Rock, Three Graces, Steamboat Rock, and Cathedral Spires.

This is just a fraction of what the park has to offer.

Red Rock Canyon’s Open Space

RELATED: The Perfect 10-Day Colorado Road Trip

Surprisingly enough, this open space is a city park just down the road from Garden of the Gods between Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs. If you’re already in the area and have the time, there’s no reason to miss such a unique public park.

Hiking the Garden of the Gods

Hikers have quite a few trails to choose from. Since no one has forever to decide, here are a few of our favorites:

  • Siamese Twins Trail: This is an easy 1-mile loop that offers exciting views of Pikes Peak.
  • Perkins Central Garden Trail: Also considered easy, this trail passes the park’s tallest rock formations.

RV Resorts & More

Garden of the Gods visitors come from all walks of life. As such, there’s a wide variety of accommodations on hand for overnighters.

Nomads of all stripes will be happy to know there’re several RV resorts close to Garden of the Gods. These include the appropriately named Garden of the Gods RV Resort and Pikes Peak RV Park, and Goldfield RV Park. Each site has different features, attractions, and hookups, so be sure to check out their websites in advance to figure out what works best for you.

In addition to RVing destinations, there are also a handful of campgrounds in the area, not to mention hotels and a bicycle resort. A quick Google search is the easiest way to explore your options and zero in on a place to stay.

Illinois’ Garden of the Gods

For better or worse, there’s actually more than one Garden of the Gods in the good ol’ U.S. of A. While the one we focused on here is located near Colorado Springs, there’s also a Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National Forest, Illinois, and yet another outside of Chatsworth, California, in the Los Angeles area.

Final Fun Fact: The first European settlers in the Colorado region referred to the sandstone rock formations discussed above as Red Rock Corral. Apparently, two surveyors who encountered the area later decided it would be an excellent place for a beer garden if those drinking the beer were gods. Thus the name.

Got something to share with folks on their way to the Garden of the Gods? Let it be known on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

READ MORE: The Weekend Warrior’s Guide to Colorado Bend State Park

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