I’d heard about the Garden of the Gods park and had seen pictures years ago. I’d always wanted to go, but couldn’t fit it into our travel plans. Imagine my delight when my son-in-law was stationed in Colorado Springs, the city where this amazing park is located! Now for sure a park visit was in the cards!
Last month I finally got my wish, a visit to Garden of the Gods Park, during a visit to my daughter and her family. It’s hard to believe that this beautiful park is less than a half hour away from my daughter’s house. Such beauty in the middle of a big city, but then Colorado is a beautiful state with so many natural wonders to visit.
We set out for the park late in the afternoon, we were hoping for cooler temperatures. In the summer the park is open 5:00 am to 11:00 pm, it closes at 9:00 pm in the winter months. The Visitor & Nature Center is open from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm in summer, and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in winter.
It’s very easy to get to the Garden of the Gods, it’s 2 1/2 miles from the Garden of the Gods Road exit on I-25. The way is clearly marked. The Vistor & Nature Center will be on the left and a little further along the park entrance is on the right. Entrance to both the Park and the Visitor & Nature Center are free. So you can visit and enjoy them many times.
We skipped the Visitor & Nature Center this trip, it was almost closing time when we arrived. I’d hoped to return but didn’t get around to it this trip, but I will next time. We headed straight for the park and parked in the main parking lot not far from the main entrance.
From the parking lot you simply follow the paved path into the heart of the park. You’ll pass clean bathrooms on the way in. This looped path takes you past some amazing rock formations. There are some benches along the way if you need to rest.
If you want to see more of the park you can hike along one of the many trails or take a free guided nature walk. You can pick up a trail map at the visitor center. Guided nature walks are scheduled for 10:00 am and 2:00 pm weather permitting. They meet in the main parking lot, you’ll see a sign posted at the meeting place.
You can also do some rock climbing at the Garden of the Gods. You will need to register and get a permit for this activity. Click here for rock climbing regulations and permit application.
There are companies that offer bus, jeep, and segway tours in the park. They would be a great ways to explore the park. Click here for more info!
On this visit we walked the looped path, it didn’t take that long. We stopped to admire many of the rock formations, including the “kissing camels”.
The wildflowers along the path were gorgeous. And we were lucky enough to spot some jack rabbits! The kids got a kick out of that!
The Garden of the Gods is a great place to bring active kids. They can run off all that energy! Our teenager, Dion, liked it too. He especially liked it when he realized that there was a Poke Stop in the park and that he could “capture” Pokemon. Yes, he was playing Pokemon Go in the park, him and a bunch of other folks!
The park is also dog friendly. We met many pups along the loop. My daughter sometimes bring her dogs with her for a day out at the park.
Our visit was pretty short, we spent just about 2 hours wandering around. When we exited the parking lot we headed for the exit that takes you to Manitou Springs, it was a nice drive that passed by the “Balance Rock” formation. There’s a pull off so you can stop by for a photo. We skipped it, the kids were getting hungry and need.ed dinner. But we’ll get to it next time!
The Garden of the Gods is a wonderful place for just about everyone. It’s a nice place to spend a couple of hours when you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet. It’s definitely worth a visit! Click here for more park info!
Here’s a short video of our walk in the Garden of the Gods.