National Parks National Parks

Colorado National Parks
Garden of the Gods Recreation Area


Garden of the Gods recreation area covers 480 acres in the Colorado Springs area. In the 1850's, two surveyors from Denver City came upon this area of sandstone formations. M. S. Beach, who related this incident, suggested that it would be a "capital place for a beer garden" when the country grew up. His companion, Rufus Cable, a "young and poetic man," exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods." Committed to remaining free to the public, Garden of the Gods Park is open from 5am-11pm in the summer and 9am-5pm in the winter, bringing over one million visitors every year.

The welcome sign at Garden of the gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
480 Acres of Stunning Rock Formations
The Scotsman rock formation inside the Garden of the Gods, Colorado.
The Scotsman Rock Formation Stands Proud

The park is best known for its stunning rock formations, which began forming over 320 million years ago. Sculpted through time by erosion, the 20 sandstone rock formations offer beautiful views. Two of the most well known formations are Balanced Rock and Kissing Camels. Balanced Rock sits upon another rock, looking as if it will fall on the road. However, after a group of college students tried to topple the rock, a cement layer was added to secure the rock. Kissing Camels formation looks as its name implies, two camels kissing each other.

Hiking in Garden of the Gods is a popular activity. The park has eight miles of trails, both paved and unpaved. Perkins Central Garden Trail is the easiest and most accessible trail for all. Usable by wheelchairs and strollers, the 1.5 mile trail only gains 30'. For a more difficult trail, try the Chambers/Bretag/Palmer Trail. Almost circling the entire park, the 3 mile hike is of moderate difficulty, gaining 250'.

Garden of the Gods rock formations being kissed by the morning sun, Colorado.
Explore the Garden of the Gods on a 3 Mile Hike
The Balanced Rock in the Garden of the Gods, Colorado.
The Famous Balanced Rock ... Step Lightly

The Visitor and Nature center offers many exciting ways to learn about the park. Be sure to view the movie "How Did Those Red Rocks Get There?" This twelve minute movie explores the geological history of the park. The center also provides a 30 minute bus tour of the geology and history of the park, as well as, hands on exhibits relating to the geology, ecology and cultural history of the park. The visitor center is open from 9am-5pm in the winter, and 8am-8pm in the summer.


From I-25 in Colorado Springs, take exit 146 and head west on Garden of the Gods Road. Follow to its end ("T" intersection) at 30th Street; turn left (south) and go about 1.5 miles. The visitor center will be on the left and the park entrance on the right.

Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do

Clear Creek Rafting Co. Email link icon Web page link icon Photos on page icon
Something for everyone! 1/3-day to multi-day CO rafting tours. Whitewater trips in 2 CONVENIENT LOCATIONS: Idaho Springs and Cañon City! On 2 GREAT RIVERS: Clear Creek and the Arkansas River!
Colorado Springs KOA Holiday - Camp In The Foothills Web page link icon Photos on page icon
Near Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs. BIG RIG luxury pull-thru sites with patios.Tent camping in the foothills. KOA Holiday Kabins. Instant phone hookups. Groups welcome. OPEN ALL YEAR. FREE WiFi.
Crystal Kangaroo Campground - RVs Only!
A herd of deer live at Crystal Kangaroo! The most beautiful Campground in Manitou Springs overlooking Garden of the Gods. Quiet RV Park, BIG RIGS love our 50 or 30 amp, long, pull-thru sites. Open all year.
Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site Web page link icon Photos on page icon
Walk into history at Rock Ledge Ranch in Colorado Springs. Experience frontier life first-hand: Native American Utes to Homestead Farmers: historic site, daily activity demonstrations and seasonal events.

More Activities & Information

Colorado Springs Metro, Colorado includes: Black Forest, Falcon, Fountain, Monument

Pikes Peak Area, Colorado includes: Cascade, Chipita Park, Deckers, Green Mountain Falls, Manitou Springs, Woodland Park

National Historic Sites and Landmarks in Colorado

Click to return to main Colorado National Park Map

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