Colorado

Top 5 Garden of the Gods Facts & Tips For First Time Visitors

On my most recent trip to Colorado Springs, I wanted to dig a little deeper. So after I arrived in my hotel, I started poring through facts about the Garden of the Gods.

The urge to read about the stunning park wasn’t as sudden as it sounds. To be honest, it was triggered by the beauty of the landscape. Then, I started sifting through Google Photos, trying to sew together the history of the place.

This was followed by a browsing session on Google. And Bing. And Reddit.

I fell into the Reddit black hole.

When I finally crawled out of the websphere, I didn’t want to keep all the information I learned to myself. So without further ado, here are 5 Garden of the Gods facts and tips.

The Name Garden Of The Gods Originates From An 1850s Conversation About Beer

M.S. Beach wore his usual coat.

He stood on a plot of land, cloth wrapped snugly around his waist. And as he turned to survey the area, his coat danced with the breeze.

August, 1859. The breeze felt good.

Beach was quite a distance from Denver. But it didn’t matter. Of all the places he had seen on the trip, this was perhaps one of the most beautiful.

Sandstone formations jutted out from the desert-like landscape. The rocks were a shade of red – no, orange – no, red.

“This is a capital place for a beer garden,” Beach said, off-hand. The place wasn’t lush in the traditional sense of a garden but had a deep earthy feel.

“Beer garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble,” his partner, Rufus Cable, exclaimed. Rufus wasn’t a stereotypical surveyor. He lacked stiffness and was young and poetic. “We will call it the Garden of the Gods,” he said.

And so it was.

While I took some liberties in storytelling (please forgive me), it is true that the term, Garden of the Gods, originated from a conversation about beer and Rufus Cable’s literary sounding tagline evolved into the current name. 

Over 2 Million People Visit The Garden Of The Gods Every Year

2 million visitors. I still can’t wrap my head around the number. Most of the visitors arrive in droves during summer months. Parking lots fill quickly.

Luckily, we are able to avoid the crowds. We leave our hotel at 7:30 AM and drive out towards the rock formations. By the time we arrive, there’s only a small group of people. A woman walking her dog. A couple jogging. A family attempting to free climb some rocks.

And beyond them, no one.

Travel Tip: Head to the Visitor Center, watch the historical video running at the Geo-Trekker Theater, and pick up a FREE map.

There Are 15 Miles Of Trails In The Park

We start on the easiest and most popular path, the Perkins Center Garden Trail. The track is 1.5 miles – paved, clean, and wheel-chair accessible.

Another easy hike with stunning views is the Siamese Twins Loop Trail. How can I refuse a good photo-op location?

Rock Formations To Try and Find During Your Visit:

  • Siamese Twins: Two staggered rock formations fused together.
  • Balanced Rock: Do you remember the scene where Indiana Jones runs from a boulder? If Balanced Rock becomes, ahem, unbalanced, that will be me.
  • Kissing camels: At first, I thought the name was a stretch, but once someone outlined the shape, I could definitely see why the formation is a popular zoom-in photo.

Travel Tip: The park only has one restroom near the main trail. Do what you gotta do before you begin your hike.

The Elevation Of The Garden Of The Gods Is Around 6,400 Feet

Summer is hot and winter is cold isn’t one of the most surprising Garden of the Gods facts. At a high elevation, weather often switches between extremes. In the summer, temperatures can reach in the late nineties. During winter, the temperature frequently drops below freezing.

I actually detail my full summer Colorado packing list in this post, but here are some essentials you will need during your trip to the Garden Of The Gods (AKA things I desperately wish I brought).

Summer Packing List:

  • Cap: While I’m a huge fan of floppy hats, a cap would have been so nice while walking on the trails.
  • Sunscreen: UV exposure increases at higher altitudes.
  • Water: I somehow equated easy hikes with “I don’t need to bring water”. How wrong I was.
  • Snacks: For some of the longer trails, bring your favourite snacks. This way, you can grab a quick bite and enjoy the view at the same time.

Winter Packing List:

  • Microfiber shoes: Bring boots to tow when there’s cold and snow.
  • Gloves: So….brrrr…..chilly…..in…..brrrrrr….here. Ahhh, gloves. Nice, warm, gloves. I can feel my fingers again.
  • Hot Tea: It’s too cold for ice water but I don’t want to get dehydrated.
  • Soup: Instead of some dry snacks, pack a small tin of some hearty soup.

The Garden Of The Gods Is Free

This Garden of the Gods fact is probably one of the biggest draws to the park.

At the heart of the zero dollar entry fee is a man by the name of Charles Elliot Perkins. A man who maintained his humanity despite his wealth, Perkins wanted to leave the land in its raw state. He opened the gardens to the public. And after he passed away, his children gave the land to the city.

Kindness is the center of the Garden of the Gods. There’s a positivity that surrounds the place. And an incredible history. Despite the tourists, the park still feels untouched. You can almost feel 200 million year old geological plates slamming together, sense dinosaurs stomping around, and hear wheels hammering against a railroad in the distance. Different points in the same timeline.

We stand at the entrance. It’s the twenty-first century and the story still continues. We’ve now just become a part of it.

Did you enjoy this post on Garden of the Gods facts? I normally don’t delve into the history of a place but I thought it would be fun since Garden of the Gods has such a rich past. Do you know any more facts about the Garden of the Gods? I’d love to hear them. 

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Kemi
    October 29, 2018 at 3:45 PM

    I love delving into the history of a place and after all, that’s what travel is all about. It looks like a lovely park to visit awayfrom the usual crowded national parks in the area. I hope to visit Colorado soon. I’ve seen gorgeous pics of it.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      October 31, 2018 at 11:20 AM

      So true! There are definitely more crowded parks in Colorado! Especially in the mornings, Garden of the Gods is relatively quiet. xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Andrea Stephenson
    October 29, 2018 at 7:25 PM

    The images are captivating. Your blog makes me want to visit this beautiful place.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      October 31, 2018 at 11:21 AM

      Thank you so much Andrea! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Dalene Ekirapa
    October 30, 2018 at 2:30 AM

    For the fact that it’s free, I already want to get to the Garden of the Gods! No wonder many even love the place and cant wait to flock in. Anyway, I totally love the rocky landscape.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      October 31, 2018 at 11:23 AM

      Free attractions are sometimes the prettiest attractions. xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Azlin Bloor
    October 30, 2018 at 2:43 PM

    What an amazing place to visit! I didn’t realise it was called Garden of The Gods, but I can see why. And the origin of its name does make you smile, it’s amazing how things get started!

  • Reply
    Ménesa
    October 30, 2018 at 3:31 PM

    amazing pictures! Definitely somewhere I’d live to visit with the family some day. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      October 31, 2018 at 11:23 AM

      I hope you get a chance to visit someday, dear! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    Karen Monica
    October 30, 2018 at 10:40 PM

    Some great facts about the Garden of the Gods. The pictures are simply awesome makes me want to add this place to my bucketlist. Thank you for sharing

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      October 31, 2018 at 11:24 AM

      Thank you so much! Garden of the Gods always looks camera ready from every angle! xx – Anshula

  • Reply
    FoodyFoodie
    October 31, 2018 at 10:05 AM

    Great view, this reminds me of my visit in Bryce Canyon this April. Bryce is captivating as well. And I enjoyed the hiking trails very much. I’m gonna put this in my buckle list

    • Reply
      anshula.varma
      October 31, 2018 at 11:24 AM

      I love Bryce Canyon…it almost looks alien in a completely gorgeous way! xx – Anshula

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