An urban park and designated national landmark in Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods encompasses 1,367 acres of unique wilderness, Great Plains grassland, and juniper woodlands. The most iconic section of the park features a towering ridge of eroded red rock formations that reveal 300 million years of geological history, while the famous red rock formations include Balanced Rock, Gateway Rock and the Three Graces. Among the crags and overhangs, visitors can spot petroglyphs from the Native American Ute tribe that once roamed these lands.
With such close proximity to Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods is one of the most convenient and spectacular spots to enjoy Colorado’s red rock country (and admission is free). It’s also one of the most popular parks in the United States. Options for touring are plentiful—everything from Segway, Jeep, walking, and photo tours to a half-day of guided climbing on the red rocks. Travelers can also combine their visit with a stop at nearby Pikes Peak or a Jeep tour of the Red Canyon Loop.
- This city park is a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers.
- Dogs are welcome on a six-foot leash; cleanup bags are available at the visitor center.
- The 1.5-mile Perkins Central Garden Trail is both wheelchair and stroller accessible.
- The Garden of the Gods offers little shade—bring sunblock, a hat, and water, especially in summer.
- The park offers several picnic areas, as well as a café.
How to Get to the Garden of the Gods
The easiest way to visit the Garden of the Gods park is by car from Colorado Springs; the parking areas have more than 330 spaces, though they can fill up in summer. Note that many guided Garden of the Gods tours do not include roundtrip transportation from Colorado Springs, so you may have to arrange your own transportation (although tours from Denver and Cañon City generally do include transport). The charming small town of Manitou Springs is also nearby.
When to Get There
The Garden of the Gods is open and accessible year round, but the best time to visit is during the shoulder season—from September to April—when weather is cooler, parking is easier to find, and crowds are sparser. Arriving in the early morning or late afternoon means more shade on the trails and the chance to watch a spectacular sunrise or sunset.
How Did the Garden of the Gods Form?
The Garden of the Gods Visitor Center doubles as a natural and cultural history museum where visitors can learn about the geology, wildlife, people, and history of the park through a series of interactive exhibits. A highlight is the Geo-Trekker Theater, where a 15-minute video digs into the park’s history while offering amazing views from an aerial drone.