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Garden of the Gods

High Point Overlook, 647 Ridge Road, Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Garden of the Gods encompasses 1,367 acres (553 hectares) of unique wilderness, Great Plains grassland, and juniper woodlands. It's also a designated national natural landmark. Highlights include the red rock formations Balanced Rock, Gateway Rock, and the Three Graces, as well as petroglyphs from the original Native American occupants of the area, the Ute people.

On the outskirts of Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods is a convenient and spectacular spot to enjoy Colorado's red rock country. Tour options range from Segway, Jeep, walking, and photo tours to guided rock-climbing excursions. Travelers can also combine their visit with a stop at nearby Pikes Peak or a Jeep tour of the Red Canyon Loop.

  • This city park is a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers.

  • Dogs are welcome on a 6-foot leash; cleanup bags are available at the visitor center.

  • The 1.5-mile (2.5-kilometer) Perkins Central Garden Trail is both wheelchair and stroller accessible.

  • The Garden of the Gods offers little shade—bring sunblock, a hat, and water, especially in summer.

  • The park offers several picnic areas, as well as a café.

The park is located in the Pikes Peak region of the Rocky Mountains, not far from the city of Colorado Springs. Garden of the Gods parking lots have more than 330 spaces, though they can fill up in summer. Many guided Garden of the Gods tours do not include round-trip transportation from Colorado Springs, but tours from Denver and Cañon City generally do.

The Garden of the Gods is open and accessible year round, but the best time to visit is during the shoulder season—from September to April—when the weather is cooler, parking is easier to find, and there are fewer crowds. Arriving in the early morning or late afternoon means more shade on the trails and the chance to watch a spectacular sunrise or sunset.

The Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center doubles as a natural and cultural history museum. Visitors can learn about the geology, wildlife, people, and history of the park through a series of interactive exhibits. A highlight is the Geo-Trekker Theater, where a 15-minute video digs into the park's history while offering amazing views from an aerial drone.

Garden of the Gods usually takes an hour or two to tour. However, many people visit the Garden of the Gods as part of a full-day tour that also goes to Pikes Peak. These tours generally last a full day if you factor in transit time from central Colorado Springs.

No, you do not need a reservation to go to the Garden of the Gods. Entry is free and Garden of the Gods tickets are not required. However, if you plan to visit as part of a tour, it's wise to book your tour in advance to guarantee your spot, particularly if you're visiting in the summer.

The best time to visit Garden of the Gods is first thing in the morning, particularly if you're visiting during the summertime. This will allow you to beat the heat of the day and avoid crowds. If you come early enough, you can even catch the sunrise.

Yes, Garden of the Gods is worth the trip, particularly if you love hiking in the great outdoors or are into photography. Travelers who'd rather just take in the views will likely enjoy their visit, as it's easy to comfortably enjoy the park without getting out of your vehicle.

With a full day in the Garden of the Gods, you'll have plenty of time to explore. You can spend your morning hiking and taking photographs, stop for a mid-day picnic lunch or a bite at the on-site cafe, and then devote your afternoon to rock climbing or exploring by Jeep or segway.

Yes, you can drive your own car through Garden of the Gods. There are plenty of areas to park or pull over if you want to take photos, traffic permitting. Some people find it easier to join a Jeep tour instead so that they can leave the driving to someone else.


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