Garden of the Gods is a National Natural Landmark AND number one on Trip Advisors park list. It is not hard to see why. It is one of the most accessible parks we’ve ever been to. Every one of the major rock formations is easily accessible by car or a short walk down a paved path. The “harder” trails we went on were some of the best maintained trails I’ve ever seen. It was easy peasy. There are even shuttles that can whisk you from the parking lot to the trailheads if you want to keep your walking to a minimum.
The park has a total of about 21 miles of trails and many of the trails focus on getting you to a formation and on to the next one. We were able to cobble together about a 7 mile hike that took us by each of the major formations AND gave us enough elevation to give us a birds eye view of the park, too.
We spent about three hours there hiking and walking around. You could spend more time if you wished to eat there (from what it sounds like the cafe is great!) or if you were climbing for the day. I am not a climber, but MAN, this looked like some good stuff! If hiking is not your jam, the park also offers Segue, bike, and horseback tours. There are a few nearby outfits that rent bikes, too.
The story goes that Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of the Burlington Railroad, bought the land around the Garden of the Gods back in 1879 and considered running the Burlington Railroad line from Chicago to Colorado Springs. I shudder to think what it would be like if the park was not a park but a railway station. Lucky for all of us, Perkins’ children gifted the park to Colorado Springs and it has been protected ever since.
You can make a day of your trip to the Garden of the Gods by combining it with some of the fun that Manitou Springs has to offer!