Travel Diaries: Exploring Garden of the Gods in Colorado

Garden of the Gods – the name itself evokes an image of majesty and wonder. Here’s all the information you need to get up close and personal with some of the most iconic rock formations, at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

For those of you who love hiking, there is an extensive network of trails to explore within the Garden of the Gods – about 21 miles.

Perkins Central Garden Trail
The Perkins Central Garden Trail is at the heart of the Garden of the Gods at the base of the highest rock formations. The trail is a quick and easy 1.5-mile roundtrip path. Featuring less than a 30-foot rise.

Ridge Trail
Feel like you are among the rocks while you adventure the Ridge Trail. This trail features a moderate half-mile loop, with less than 100-foot rise in elevation.

Siamese Twins Trail
The Siamese Twins Trail offers a quick and easy 1-mile roundtrip adventure with less than a 150-foot rise. You will also find gorgeous and unique views of Pikes Peak.

Chambers/Bretag/Palmer Trail 
This moderate 3-mile hike has less than a 250-foot rise and is designed to circle nearly the entire Garden of the Gods park. The trail features rolling rocky terrain that is away from the traffic.

Scotsman/Buckskin Charlie Trail
The moderate Scotsman/Buckskin Charlie Trail loops you through the Garden of the Gods park and gives you gorgeous views of rock formations.

Garden of the Gods trails expands far beyond anything you could imagine. I recommend starting at Central Garden if it is your first time visiting. Central Garden is home to many of the iconic rock formations that you have seen or heard about before. You don’t have to worry about getting lost while exploring the Central Garden. With surrounding parking lots, it’s easy to walk and wander and then head back to your car.

Drive around the Central Garden

The roads and parking lots make it easy to explore part of the Garden of the Gods park by car. If you are unsure where to start, simply try driving around the Central Garden and stop at different parking lots and viewpoints to see all the different views before you get out of your car and walk.

With a variety of trails to explore at Garden of the Gods, and plenty of sights to see, no matter where you wander and which formations you end up finding, you will be impressed by the beauty and uniqueness that Garden of the Gods brings. It really does live up to its name and is a garden fit for the Gods.

Garden of the Gods History
Did you know… Garden of the Gods was once private land? Charles Elliott Perkins was not only head of the railroad company Burlington Railroad, but he was also the lucky owner of the Garden of the Gods. Perkins moved to Colorado with the intention of building his railroad from Colorado Springs to Chicago, unfortunately, that dream never became a reality (I wish it would have though – I mean how cool would that be). With Perkins goal in mind, he purchased 240 acres of land as a place where he would build his summer home in 1879. Luckily for all of us Garden of the Gods lovers, Perkins never built on the gorgeous property. Instead, he left it in its natural and untouched state for the public to enjoy with him. His family knew how much Perkins loved the properly and sharing it with others, so when he passed away they donated the 480 acres that Perkins had acquired by that time to the city of Colorado Springs. With this donation, the family specified that the city could have it under one condition “given by the children of Charles Elliott Perkins in fulfillment of his wish that it be kept forever free to the public” (you will even see this on a plaque when you enter the central garden. Thanks to Perkins and his children, the Garden of the Gods cost to enter will be free forever.

Why is it called “Garden of the Gods”?
You might be wondering (I know I was), why the park is called “Garden of the Gods”? Well, in 1859 there were two surveyors who came upon this location while they were exploring nearby. One of the surveyors mentioned he thought it would be a “capital place for a beer garden.” While the other surveyor responded “beer garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.” There you have it, one simple conversation alters history forever.

As mentioned earlier, by the time Perkins had passed away he had acquired 480 acres of Garden of the Gods. Today, the Garden of the Gods Park measures nearly 1,367 acres! That’s a lot of exploring.

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