Colorado Springs Tourist Guide

Garden of the Gods

Photo of Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is one of the most visited attractions in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This one of the most beautiful and tranquil places you will ever visit. Owned by the City of Colorado Springs, the Garden offers a magnificent view of towering red, sandstone formations and Pikes Peak Mountain. The Park was donated to the City in 1909, by the children of Charles Elliot Perkins, who wished that the Garden to be accessible by, and free to the public.


People have inhabited the Garden for approximately 3,000 years. During that time only minor changes have occurred. Until an archaeologist in 1933 recognized signs of an ancient past, no one realized what an archaeological treasure the Garden of the Gods was. Fire rings that had been used as hearths by ancient Native American peoples were visible to the naked eye, as was the charcoal coloring of the ground around them. Tools and bones of animals, including buffalo, were found near and around the hearths.

The rocks of the Garden and the tall sandstone formations provided these ancient people from the bitter winds of winter and the hot sun of summer. Garden of the Gods was a perfect place to make their homes where they would be protected from the harsh elements.

A prehistoric piece of pottery was found in the Park that is very similar to relics found in the Indian ruins at Mesa Verde National Park near Durango, Colorado. Archaeologists estimate that the pieces of pottery were made between 900 and 975 AD and brought to the Garden by the Tribes at Mesa Verde for trading purposes.

Though the culture of the early hunters who visited the Garden of the Gods is a mystery, it’s expected that further archaeological study will provide more information on who these ancient peoples were.

History if Garden of the Gods

Garden Of The Gods

The railroads made their way west in the early 19th century. By 1870, they were a formidable part of the settling of Colorado. General William Palmer came to Colorado Springs in 1871, while extending the rail lines of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. He encouraged his friend, Charles Elliot Perkins to build a house in the Garden of the Gods.

In 1879, Perkins purchased 240 acres, where he planned to build a summer home. In later years he purchased more property, but never built on it. His desire was for the area to remain in its natural state for the public to visit and enjoy.

Perkins planned to make arrangements for his property to become a public park. He died in 1907, never having made those arrangements. His children, knowing and respecting the wishes of their father, donated 480 acres to the City of Colorado Springs in 1909.

The Name "Garden of the Gods"

In 1859, two surveyors left Denver in search of a site on which to establish a new town. During their search, they came upon the towering, red sandstone formations that are now part of the Garden of the Gods. The fantastic view provided a majestic view of Pikes Peak.

One of the surveyors, M.S. Beach commented to his companion that it would be a great area for a beer garden. Rufus Cable objected saying, “Beer garden! Why it is a place fit for Gods to assemble. We’ll call it "Garden of the Gods.” The name stuck and aptly describes the beautiful Garden.

Hiking in the Garden

If you enjoy hiking, take advantage of both paved and unpaved trails that afford magnificent views. Within the Garden of the Gods there are 15 miles of trails for your hiking enjoyment. Perkins Central Garden Trail is an easy half- mile round trip hike. For a moderate half-mile loop, take Ridge Trail. Buckskin Charlie Trail is also a moderate hike that winds through the Park and provides an awesome nature experience.

Horseback Riding

Bring your horse along to enjoy a scenic ride in Garden of the Gods. Park your horse trailer at the South Spring Canyon Picnic Area, pick up a map of the trails at the Visitor and Nature Center and take a leisurely ride among the towering rock formations and astounding views of Garden of the Gods.

Rock Climbing

Experienced rock climbers will be in rock climbing paradise at Garden of the Gods. The Park has set regulations on the sport, as well as established routes. Stop by the Visitor and Nature Center gift shop for a copy of regulations before beginning your climb. All rules are strictly enforced, including the one that states climbing alone is prohibited.

Biking in the Garden

For a scenic biking experience, bring your mountain bike to Garden of the Gods. Biking is allowed on designated trails. Specific biking regulations are in place. Stop by the Visitor and Nature Center gift shop for a copy of biking rules and a map of the bike trails in the Garden of Gods.

A Photographer's Paradise

Garden of the Gods is an exquisite opportunity for both amateur and professional photographers. The Siamese Twins Trail provides a unique view of Pikes Peak. Shoot beautiful photos from the Balance Rock and Gateway parking lots. The view from the Visitor and Nature Center terrace provides a great, majestic panorama. A permanent exhibit of the photography of Rich Buzzelli is on display at Garden of the Gods. Mr. Buzzelli spent years photographing the Park and his work is exquisite.

Nature experiences are at a premium at the Garden of the Gods. It has unique ecosystems, rock formations, archaeology and a wide range of wildlife viewing opportunities. The entire family will enjoy exploring the trails, viewing the exhibits, biking, hiking, rock climbing, or just spending a leisurely day in the great outdoors.

Map Directions to Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is only 4 miles west of Colorado Springs, CO near Manitou Springs and Pikes Peak Mountain. It is only about 65 miles south of Denver which makes the Garden of the Gods a great day trip from Denver Colorado.

Map To The Garden Of The Gods

Directions From I25:
Take Exit 146 (Garden of the Gods Road).
Proceed west towards mountains for about 2.5 miles.
Turn left on 30th Street.
The Visitor's Center will be on the left.

For More Information

Garden of the Gods Visitor's & Nature Center
1805 N. 30th Street (at Gateway Road)
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

This page was last modified on 27 March 2012 at 17:09
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