This Old Campsite
This Old Campsite

When people think of Colorado Springs, Colorado, they think of places like Pikes Peak or the US Air Force Academy.  They may not know that Colorado Springs is home to one of the most interesting City Parks in the country.  Garden of the Gods is a 1350 acre city park that was dedicated in 1909.  The original park of about 240 acres was given to the city of Colorado Springs by Charles Elliott Perkins.  Mr. Perkins imposed some restrictions as a condition of the city being able to keep the park.  The restrictions stated that the property be forever known as the Garden of the Gods, that no intoxicating liquors be sold or manufactured there, that no buildings be erected there, except those necessary to properly maintain the area as a public park and that it be forever free to the public.  Any violation of these restrictions would result in the property going back to the Charles Perkins' heirs.  Just before Christmas in 1909 the city council of Colorado Springs accepted the conditions and has owned the park since then.

This is a garden of shear cliff walls, balanced rocks and towering spires that seem to reach for the Colorado skies.  Some of the rock formations, which are mostly red sandstone, are thought to be over 300 million years old and have been sculptured over time by erosion.  This area has a rich history that includes the early visitors of Indians, adventurers, gold seekers, the pioneers, entrepreneurs and early tourists.  In the summer of 1859, Rufus Cable and Melancthon Beach came to this area to lay out their town of Colorado City.  The town was named after the red rocks of the area because the word "Colorado" is Spanish for red.  Mr. Beach thought that this area would be a great place for a beer garden and Mr. Cable thought that this would be a great place for the Gods to gather.  Therefore, they named this place "Garden of the Gods" and it has been known by that name since.  The visitors center has a wonderful interpretive program that details the history of this area and how all of the rock formations came to be.

Today, the park offers visitors a wonderful place to hike, picnic, bike ride, horse back ride, photography or just sit back and enjoy the beauty of the area.  The rock formations are truly magnificent and are what really makes the park what it is.  There are 19 different named rock formations.  Probably the most famous of the group is the balanced rock that you will find near the south entrance to the park.  The huge rock of about 700 tons sits on a small base and looks like it should fall but it doesn't.  It has been that way for thousands of years.

A trip to the Garden of the Gods will not be complete without a trip to the Garden of the Gods Trading Post.  The Trading Post was originally built in the early 1900s to resemble the homes of the Pueblo Indians.  While maintaining its heritage over the years, the Trading Post has expanded seven times to become Colorado's largest.

To get a feel of what the Garden of the Gods looks like, click on each of the following pictures for a larger view.

If you are passing through the Colorado Springs area or you go there for a visit, be sure to make a day in the Garden of the Gods part of your trip.  You'll be glad that you did.
Garden Of The Gods
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