A Fall Garden of the Gods Hike
For most of this road trip, it was up to Jeremy to plan out what we were going to see and do, meaning I did very little research upfront. Like Clark Griswold in National Lampoons Summer Vacation, with nostalgia welling in his eyes, he said, “you’re going to love Garden of the Gods. I used to go there as a kid”. I was skeptical, to say the least. In my head, I pictured a long and arduous hike into some canyon under a sweltering sun and while I am definitely game to see some beautiful rocks, the idea of hiking through the desert makes my ocean-breeze-loving-can’t-ever-be-land-locked palms sweat. Luckily, my anxiety over being hot and uncomfortable quickly subsided as soon as we exited the parking lot and approached these ancient red giants.
The magnitude and the rich rust color will surely take your breath away. Their layered surface is porous and rough and pocked with circular divots carved by wind and time. Walking up close, you fight the urge to want to climb them.
The name “Garden of the Gods” is truly an apt description, as some rocks appear to have sprung from the earth like wildflowers surrounded by muted grass at the base. If it weren’t for the vegetation, one could swear you were on Mars.
For the experienced rock climber, special permission can be granted for a unique and memorable chance of climbing and claiming victory over these geological wonders, so long as you don’t mind being watched the whole time by tourists from below.
One can escape the crowds and journey into peaceful serenity by simply walking past the first grouping of rocks and off the paved family-friendly path. The trails connect and intertwine with each other, weaving in and out of the road. Along the way, other formations stand silently waiting for visitors.
A personal favorite is the impressive Siamese twins, located in the heart of the park. Just behind, a beautiful view of the surrounding areas awaits.
The trading post is a welcome oasis and resting spot after a long walk. There, one can find food or a small souvenir to commemorate the visit. We purchased an owl figurine carved out of antler, but the more meaningful souvenir was the flat red rock we found on the trail.
This park, though heavily commoditized, is a must-see for anyone in Colorado. Garden of the Gods is just one of many great attractions that Colorado Springs has to offer, making these short few days my favorite part of the trip. I now understand Jeremy’s need to come back here and experience this again as an adult.
Have you been to Garden of the Gods?
I’d love to hear about your own experiences. Tell me in the comments if you’ve ever been before or have ever found a place similar. And of course, if you have any questions about our experiences at Garden of the Gods, I’m happy to answer.
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