Garden of the Gods is an amazing red sandstone formation that stands 310 feet tall. The formations are one of the most visited areas on the front range and for good reason. It is very accessable with paved roads and paths and the ground is very level.
The garden offers great views of Pikes Peak and is open year round. It became a national landmark in 1971, and the land was donated under a couple conditions. There are to be no buildings built on the land and the land is to be open year round. Because it is open year round there are plenty of activities and events happening.
Points of Interest
Make sure to stop by the visitor center to get a map of these locations.
Garden of the Gods Park
This one is very self explanitory and the reason everyone comes. It is also very hard to miss the 310 foot red rock formation.
This is a rock formation less than a quarter mile off of the road. It is small in comparison to the main park, but still worth a stop.
Balanced rock is a popular spot on the south west side of the park. It is very easily accessable with parking right next to it.
Hiking and Walking
There are a lot of trails around the park. It is navigable with out a map, but google maps, all trails, or the visitor center will give you a better idea. The trails around the main formations are paved while the others are dirt.
For a full experience, start by parking close to the main formations. Once you have hiked around the main formation head over to siamese twins. Then finally head over to balanced rock to finish up.
Check here for more trail information
The Garden of the Gods is already an amazing park, but climbing the red rocks brings it to the next level. It is a great place to get used to soft desert sandstone.
To climb in the park a permit is required. Free climbing permits can be found online, and there is a mandatory video that must be watched. The city also limits which formations can be climbed which is listed on their regulations. Be sure to get updated information from the visitor center about current regulations. Because of bats, nesting raptors, owls, and hawks some formations may be closed. Bouldering is regulated and scrambling is prohibited (climbing more than 10 feet without propper equipment).
Front Range Climbing offers a great single and group climbing experience for any experience level with half and full day options. They also include gear for climbing.
Camping and Cabins
Between Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs there is a private RV park and campsite (rvoutdoors.com). They also offer cottages and bunkhouses. There are plenty of ammenities that are family friendly such as a dog park, swimming pool and more.
The Garden of the Gods visitor center is a world class museum with new exhit halls and museum technology being added. The museum offers in depth history on the red rock formations and the Ute indians that used to live here. Their second gallery offers information on local wildlife. Finally their third exhibit explains the geological side of garden of the gods as well as some of the fossils found in the area.
There are plenty of park tours that leave from the visitor center. These include trolley, jeep, and segway tours. There are also other privately run tours that will take you to Garden of the Gods as well as other places around the springs. But, the tours from the visitor center are very insightful and are packed full of history and information. They range from 45 minutes to 2 hours.
Academy riding stables is just south of Garden of the Gods and offers tours by horseback through Garden of the Gods. Slots range from 1 hour sessions to 2 hour seasons. Be sure to check their season schedule. Times vary from winter to summer.