Want to take one more interesting day trip before closing out the summer? Garden of the Gods has everything from absolutely breathtaking views, intriguing history and easy (and stroller-friendly!) hikes — all for FREE. The national landmark even has a beautiful, large visitor’s center (also free!) complete with geology and historical exhibits, a cafe, gift shop and more. It is a long drive from the Boulder area to Colorado Springs, about an hour and a half to two hours, but well worth the trip! Here is a simple guide to a fun day at Garden of the Gods.
Begin Your Journey at the Visitor’s Center
Start at the Visitor’s Center, pick up a map of the park, complete with names of the rock formations, information on trails and parking, as well as some helpful background information. While you are in there, check out the galleries to learn about the history of the region! Exhibits include geology and dinosaurs, flora and fauna, human history in the region, and photographic history.
In addition to these educational exhibits, the visitor’s center has a cafe with delicious and healthy (and kid-friendly!) food options, as well as a dining room overlooking the gorgeous landscape. There is also seating on the balcony outside of the cafe.
The view from the balcony is absolutely breathtaking!
Explore the Park
By far the best way to enjoy Garden of the Gods is by getting out of the car and stepping into this otherworldly landscape. Walking among the stunning rock formations, it is truly a garden fit for the gods.
Which will bring up the question — how did these rocks get here? There is a fascinating answer which is best explained by experts who understand geological history! When moving plates of the earth caused the formation of the Rocky Mountains, these rocks were lifted up vertically in the process. Here’s a video for a visual representation of how the Rocky Mountains were formed, that also explains how the vertical rocks were formed at Garden of the Gods and other places across the Front Range.
Let the Kids Climb and Play
While some areas are off limits or require a climbing permit, there are a number of spots for the kids to climb, play and explore these fascinating rocks!
Take the Driving Tour
There is so much to see, be sure to drive through the whole park! It can be pretty slow moving, but the sights are worth it.
Garden of the Gods is located at 1805 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904. Open every day in the summer from 8AM – 7PM, in the winter every day from 8AM – 5PM. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Entrance is always FREE.