Colorado: Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods
The stunning ancient red rock formations that have been drawing people with their beauty and spirituality for more than 3000 years.
We have considered moving to the Colorado Springs area several times, drawn by the outdoor lifestyle that comes with living in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains and the number of interesting places within a short distance of the city.
One such place is the Garden of the Gods.
The Garden of the Gods’ red rock formations were created during a geological upheaval along a natural fault line millions of years ago. Archaeological evidence shows that prehistoric people visited Garden of the Gods about 1330 BC. At about 250 BC, Native American people camped in the park; they are believed to have been attracted to wildlife and plant life in the area and used overhangs created by the rocks for shelter. Many native peoples have reported a connection to Garden of the Gods, including Apache, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa, Lakota, Pawnee, Shoshone and Ute people.
In 1879 Charles Elliott Perkins purchased 480 acres of land that included a portion of the present Garden of the Gods. Upon Perkins’ death, his family gave the land to the City of Colorado Springs in 1909, with the provision that it would be a free public park. Palmer had owned the Rock Ledge Ranch and upon his death, it was donated to the city.
Today, the Garden of the Gods is a mecca for locals and visitors seeking a day outdoors. It is very accessible to all, with several of the walking paths suitable for wheelchair access. If walking is not your thing then there segways available for hire. All in all, there are 15 miles of trails to explore the rocks.
For the more adventurous there are jeep tours and many great rock climbing routes.
Our visit was a lot more sedentary and we decided on taking the winding paths among the spectacular rock formations. The most iconic of these is Balance Rock.
There is also a great visitors centre that gives insight into the formation of the rock structures and the geology of the region, as well as information of the plants and animals found in the area. These impressive rocks have also played an important role with several native American people and this relationship is also shown in exhibits at the centre.
Street address: 1805 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
- Take Exit #146 (Garden of the Gods Road)
- Go West (towards the mountains) for 2.5 miles
- Turn Left onto 30th Street
- The Visitor & Nature Center will be on the left (a little over a mile)