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Discover Garden of the Gods Park Colorado Springs with your Family

Updated: Jan 28

Come on a journey with us to Garden of the Gods Park Colorado Springs. We’re excited to show you what to expect, how to plan for your trip, and a little bit about the history of the park. Let’s Get Started.

When you plan your trip to Garden of the Gods Park you can’t help but get excited. In addition to what you see here there are a lot of pictures and videos showing grasslands similar to the great plains, juniper trees and woodlands, and sandstone and limestone formations found nowhere else colored white and red and amazing. Off in the distance are the Rocky Mountains and Pikes peak stands the tallest of the southern front edge at over 14,000 feet.

There is one reason why we can all see Garden of the Gods for free and stay until the end of the video to learn where you can spot camels in the park.

What is the History of Garden of the Gods Park?

Garden of the Gods is a gift. Literally. Charles Elliot Perkins bought the land in 1879. Mr. Perkins gifted the land to the people of Colorado Springs with conditions. The main one being that it be cared for, and available to all, free of charge. Another condition required no buildings or structures on the land unless it was for the direct care of the park. The original donation was 480 acres. Through other donations and efforts, total land is now almost 1,400 acres. Wonder how Garden of the Gods got its name? You’ll learn two possibilities later. Now let’s discuss what you can do in the park!

Garden of the Gods Park

What is There to do in Garden of the Gods Park?

There are many ways for you to explore the park. Imagine taking in the park views hiking and walking the trails which are the most popular method of exploring the park. Bikes are also permitted, and bike tours are available including e-bikes. Other tours include Jeep, Trolley, Segway, and even horseback riding. If you only have a little time to spend, driving through is worth the detour. Finally, check out the viewpoint at the visitor’s center and spend some time enjoying the geologic formations. Garden of the Gods is probably one of the easier places to go rock climbing. Outfitters and guides are available, and you will see guides free climb up the rock, set their gear, and support their adventurers and you to an amazing experience. Climbing permits from the city and the correct gear are required.

Prior to American ownership of the land the Ute Indians frequented the area. They considered the land sacred and held many ceremonies. The area was included in the buffalo migration through the pass and the Utes would use their trail to move and harvest the buffalo, too. Many other tribes including Apache, Cheyenne, Comanche, Lakota and others are also known to have spent time in the area. As you explore the park, consider what it was like for them.

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Are Dogs Allowed in Garden of the Gods Park?

If you have dogs, you don’t have to worry. They will have as much fun as you. Most places in the park dogs are required on a 6-foot leash. Bring waste bags and water to extend your hike and you will have a great experience. A dog park is also available south of the Visitor’s center.

Let’s talk prehistoric next and coming up one word of caution when visiting the park.

In 1878, there was a great discovery. A Colorado College professor by the name of James Kerr, found the skull of an unnamed dinosaur. So far, its unique, and the one and only of its kind. The park mentions that Kerr shipped the skull to Yale where it was forgotten for 100 years. During the construction of the visitor’s center in the 1990s the archaeological find was rediscovered and developed into an exhibit you can see today in the Visitor’s Center. We’ll talk more about the visitor’s center later.

How Much Time do you need at Garden of the Gods Park?

When you come in from a lower elevation plan for the garden of the Gods Park at 6,400 vertical feet. We were feeling it one day we were there, and it did affect our hike. You will take plenty of water and if you are prone to altitude issues consider taking your first day in town easy and hit the park on day 2. Also consider taking hydration backpacks with water and snacks to extend your time in the park or take a break in the trading post or visitor’s center. Depending on how much you want to see and do you could spend 2 hours or a full day exploring the park. We’ll tell you more about the trading post a little later.

Next, we will discuss the visitors center and trails.

How long does it take to hike through Garden of the Gods?

There are 15 miles of hiking trails in the park. 1.5 miles are paved and wheelchair and stroller accessible. The trail takes you through a colorful segment of the park with views of white and red limestone and sandstone rock. You’ll find it is fun to just walk where the park takes you. When you see something, you like, head that way. When there is a fork in the trail, pick a path and go. There really is no bad trail or view in the park. Keep an eye on your time and your location to make sure you make it back when you planned. You can hike for an hour or hike and explore the whole day. For a longer visit, the Visitor’s Center provides food and refreshments. There are also maps and park staff that can help you decide on a trail or answer any last-minute questions. The visitors center also has a grand view of the park and Pike’s peak in the background.

Where is Garden of the Gods Park?

Garden of the Gods is located in Colorado Springs on the Western edge of the Rockies. Travel time to the airport is about 30 minutes. Also located in Colorado Springs is the Olympic training center and museum. Even more significant is the investment by the Air Force including the Air Force Academy, NORAD, and Peterson Air and Space Force Base.

See any camels yet? We’ll show you at the end.

How Did Garden of the Gods Park Get It's Name?

Helen Hunt Jackson, who is rumored to have named the area, wrote of the park,” You wind among rocks of every conceivable and inconceivable shape and size. All bright red, all motionless and silent, with a strange look of having been just stopped and held back in the very climax of some supernatural catastrophe.”

The park may also have been named by two surveyors working on mapping the city. Surveyor Beach suggested it would be a great place for a beer garden and his partner Rufus Cable then suggested it be called Garden of the Gods. Either way both naming stories may be true and as you wander through the park you will agree with the name.

What Wildlife is can I see in Garden of the Gods Park?

As you explore through the park be on the lookout for mule deer, bighorn sheep, and fox. Just off the trails you may see tracks and scat. The park is also home to over 100 species of birds. Include in your packing list binoculars and cameras.

You may also find yourself at Garden of the Gods Trading Post. Located on the Southern Edge of the park at the intersection of Garden and Beckers Lane it is a favorite spot for many. One of the oldest shops in the state of Colorado the shop offers modern day patrons with souvenirs, lunch, snacks, and according to them, the largest and oldest Native American art gallery in Colorado.

Did you see the kissing camels earlier in the post? We showed it.

Here it is again. The camels are located in the Northern section of the park close to the larger Juniper Way Loop parking lot. If you need a place to stay Garden of the Gods RV park is the closest we found. Read about it here: Gardens of the Gods RV Resort (

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