The Garden of the Gods has several access points. The Gateway entrance is across from the main Visitor Center on 30th St., between Garden of the Gods Rd. and Fontmore St.
The second is from Manitou Springs. Get on El Paso Blvd, which is one street north of Manitou Ave. Just east of the Highway 24 overpass, take Garden Drive. This entrance is marked by a narrow entryway and the photogenic Balanced Rock. Beckers Lane in Manitou also takes you to the park.
Finally, from the western edge of Colorado Springs, you can turn north from Colorado Ave. onto Ridge Road, which takes you directly into the park.
Summer (May-Oct.): 5 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Winter (Nov.-Apr.): 5 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Rock climbing is allowed only with a permit from the Visitor Center, horses and bicycles are permitted on designated trails, and leashed dogs are permitted throughout the park.
The Garden of the Gods is one of the most famous attractions in the Springs and is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. The impressive sandstone formations are open to the public free of charge.
A FEW TRAILS OF NOTE
Perkins Central Garden Trail
1.5 miles roundtrip
Of course, the most famous (and popular) section of Garden of the Gods is the Central Garden Trail. Crowded as it may be, it is the best way to walk in the heart of the largest and most dramatic formations in the park. The Garden Trail, which consists of 1.5 miles of concrete sidewalk loops, is fully handicapped accessible and has a handicapped parking area should the spaces in the main lot be full. It’s also a great place to take the elderly, out-of-towners, photographers, and rock climbers or those wishing to gawk at the rock climbers. (See the Red Rock Canyon Open Space article for information about rock climbing at the Garden.)
1 mile roundtrip
The most direct access to Siamese Twins is by starting at the Spring Canyon trailhead/parking area, but you can also make it part of a larger loop. From the Spring Canyon trailhead, it is a quick loop that you can begin at either end of the parking lot.
The Siamese Twins formation is composed of two sandstone pillars joined at the bottom and again partway up, forming a fun hole for kids to crawl through or a picture frame through which you can see Pikes Peak. Doubtless, it would spur more family photos than Balanced Rock if it received as much traffic.
3 mile loop
Combined with the Bretag and Chambers trails, this network makes a broad loop around the main section of the park. You have a good view of the large formations, though you are not directly among them. There are many access points, one of which is across the road from the main Gateway parking lot.
- Photographs in this article, except rock climber, are courtesy of Tabitha Carroll