A Little Time and a Keyboard: Colorado Dreams Starting at Garden of the Gods Park

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Colorado Dreams Starting at Garden of the Gods Park

 Colorado Dreams Starting at Garden of the Gods Park

Exploring Unique Rock Formations and Hikes Near Colorado Springs at Garden of the Gods Park

While planning our Colorado road trip, images of Garden of the Gods Park immediately enticed me. Brilliant red and pink sandstone, conglomerate and limestone rock formations set against the blue Colorado sky begged for a magical adventure. So, we woke up very early on our first day in Colorado to stand in this heavenly cathedral on Earth. From start to finish, nature dazzled us.

Garden of the Gardens is striking immediately upon entering the preserve.
Garden of the Gardens is striking immediately upon entering the preserve.

We arrived to our destination before 9AM and discovered quite a number of similar-minded travelers. While parking spots were still available when we arrived, none were available when we left after 10AM. Plan to arrive early! 

Distinctive rock formations rise above the evergreens.
Distinctive rock formations rise above the evergreens.

Entering a Brilliant Cathedral Fabricated by Mother Nature:

Standing among the lofty red rock formations certainly inspires with distinctive shapes reaching to the heavens, brilliant hues and lofty spires throughout. So, a name like Garden of the Gods for the Colorado Springs preserve is fitting.  When surveyors M. S. Beach and Rufus Cable first located the haven in 1859, M. S. Beach declared that the stunning spot would be perfect for a beer garden. However, Cable disagreed and declared that it is a fitting place for Gods to assemble and thus should be called "The Garden of the Gods." 

Cathedral-like red sandstone structure rises above at Garden of the Gods in Colorado
Cathedral-like red sandstone structure rises above.

While rock formations enchanted throughout, the Cathedral Spires formation above truly reminded me of a cathedral -- so a fitting "Garden of the Gods."

Grey Rock and South Gateway Rock at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Grey Rock and South Gateway Rock

Paths wound throughout the giant structures. Some trails were paved, some unpaved and some quite rocky! Overall, we found Garden of the Gods easy to hike. We did get turned around a couple of times but no worries -- it meant that we savored additional time within the natural cathedral. 

Meeting a deer at the Garden of the Gods
Meeting a deer at the Garden of the Gods

Our adventure also treated us with wildlife. We observed a deer almost immediately after entering the park. Birds abound so Garden of the Gods provides a fascinating spot for birding.

Some trails climb up for another perspective at Garden of the Gods
Some trails climb up for another perspective at Garden of the Gods

Mother Earth fabricated the striking formations through the upwarping of sedimentary beds from an ancient sea during the mountain building forging Pike's Peak and the Rocky Mountains. Years of erosion and glaciation created the striking formations we see today.

Pike' Peak rises above Garden of the Gods views from Garden of the Gods Resort and Club
Pikes Peak rises above Garden of the Gods views from Garden of the Gods Resort and Club

Hiking through Garden of the Gods crafts a magical experience. We experienced a variety of  sights and perspectives by veering off on a number of  side trails and taking advantage of paths that led us up to views. As you drive through the park, you will notice a variety of trails and overlooks. You may even note climbers scaling a variety of rocks! 

Plaque commemorating the gift of Charles Elliott Perkins

The Garden of the Gods is a National Natural Landmark. Charles Elliot Perkins, once head of the Burlington Railroad, purchased Garden of the Gods as a summer home in 1879. He had been persuaded to pursue the area by General William Jackson Palmer, founder of Colorado Springs, as a place to bring his railroad. While Burlington never reached the area, Perkins still purchased the heavenly spot. He never built on the spot and preferred for it to be open for public enjoyment which it still is today. Once you visit Garden of the Gods, you will certainly appreciate this gift of Mother Nature and Perkins' determination to leave it for all to see. Our visit to Garden of the Gods presented a remarkable way to begin our visit to Colorful Colorado!

Things to Know about Garden of the Gods Park:

  • There is a nature center that we did not visit due to our personal COVID precautions.
  • Tours do arrive at Garden of the Gods. Once again, early is better to avoid these.
  • There is so much beauty to see, so feel comfortable bypassing areas with clusters.
  • There are trails in areas other than the main parking area.
  • Climbing requires special permissions, so see the website.
  • Please be mindful and take care of this treasure.
Colorado Dreams Starting at Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs

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