Garden of the Gods is known for its large red-rock formations. The various trails that wind throughout the park make for great photo opportunities.
At one particular rock formation called the "Siamese Twins", you can even photograph Pikes Peak through a large hole in the rock.
But before I get to any of that, you'll need directions on how to find the park. In Colorado Springs, follow I-25 to exit 146, then follow Garden of the Gods road. Turn left on 30th street and after about a mile, you'll see the park on your right, and the visitor and nature center on your left.
I highly recommend going into the visitor and nature center before you venture into the park. (And by the way, the park is free; there is no fee to visit this wonderful place.) Inside the visitor center, you'll find area related books, wildlife displays, a small cafe serving lunch and snacks, American Indian gifts, maps of the park, and a lovely terrace overlooking the park and Pikes Peak.
From the visitor center, you can either drive or walk to the park. If you choose to drive, there is a large parking area a short drive after entering the park, and from there, you can walk into the park. Beyond the main parking lot, there are various pullouts along the road where you can get out and take pictures or walk around. If you'd like to walk from the visitor center, there's an underpass under the highway which makes it much easier to reach the other side.
Some of the wildlife that you might be lucky enough to see in the Garden of the Gods park includes: mule deer, coyote, fox, bighorn sheep, and rabbits, among others. I've seen mule deer here and am still hoping to see some of the other residents. Bighorn sheep have been seen on the hogback ridge that's immmediately north of the park, so that would be a good place to start looking.
One of the many great things about the Garden of the Gods park is that dogs are allowed here. They must be on a 6-foot leash and also, please remember to pick up after them. That way, we will all be more likely to continue the privilege of bringing them here.
Do you want to picnic at the Garden of the Gods? If so, you can make your way to the Scotsman Picnic area. As you enter the park, turn right on the Juniper Way loop, and at the next fork in the road, follow the right-hand fork which is Garden Drive. After a short drive, you'll see the picnic area on your left. Have fun!
This park is very popular so don't plan on having it to yourself, especially in the summer and on weekends. But it IS quieter during early mornings and on week days. Also, you'll find fewer people there during the winter. Winter does have its benefits! And...there is usually plenty of sunshine.
The park consists of about 15 miles of trails and they range from easy to moderate. They are also relatively short, up to about 3 miles round-trip. Before you go, be sure to pick up a park map from the visitor center. Here's a brief description of the trails that we've walked so far:
Garden of the Gods Trails
This is the trail that leads from the visitor center into the park. Remember to use the underpass since it makes it much easier to reach the other side of the road.
You can take this trail if you'd like a longer walk and also, this trail tends to be less used so it makes for a quieter walk. You won't see as many rock formations from this trail, but it also won't take long to reach them.
Perkins Central Garden Trail
This trail can be accessed from the visitor center or from the North Main parking lot.
It's an easy, paved trail of about 1 and 1/2 miles round-trip. It takes you into the heart of the park and past the highest rock formations.
Needless to say, it's the most popular trail in the park, but with good reason!
Siamese Twins Trail
The easiest way to access this trail is from the Spring Canyon trailhead.
It's an easy to moderate dirt trail of about 1 mile round-trip. The Siamese Twins is the unique rock formation with the "window" through which you can see and photograph Pikes Peak.
Have fun, but you might want to get there early!
Upper Loop Trail
This is a trail that's not listed on the park map, but I think it should be! You can find it at pullout number 7, and as the name implies, it is a loop trail.
It's an easy to moderate, short loop with some light climbing.
It takes you up to where you have some nice views of some of the main rock formations in the park.
More Garden of the Gods Pictures
The above picture is of Balanced Rock...I don't know how it balances there, but somehow it does. This is one place you don't have to hike to since the road goes right by it.
To find it, follow the Juniper Way Loop until you see Garden Drive. Turn right on Garden Drive and follow it to Rampart Range Rd. Turn right on Rampart Range Rd. and you'll soon see Balanced Rock and the parking area that goes with it. Have fun!
This picture is a closer-up look at one of the rock formations that you see from the Upper Loop trail. To me, it kind of looks like hands reaching towards the sky, but you might have your own interpretation of it.
Here's a look at Pikes Peak through the Siamese Twins rock formation.
As I said at the top of this Garden of the Gods page, this is where you can photograph Pikes Peak through a large hole in the rock.
This Colorado mountain is bigger than it looks here though!
I'll be adding more Garden of the Gods trails as I get to them. Also, be on the lookout for more pictures since I'll be adding them here at some point.