On Easter weekend of this year, my husband, children, and I visited Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. We didn’t really know much about it other than it was a tourist attraction that sounded interesting, so we drove up and parked in the first parking lot we saw after we passed the big entrance sign. No fees to get in, and luckily, they allowed dogs, since our golden retriever was in tow.
We went on a Saturday late afternoon, and the park was quite crowded. There was even a wedding ceremony taking place in one area called the Jaycee Plaza, which offers a view of the rocks called “Kissing Camels.” Apparently there are over 15 miles of trails to explore, although we only attempted a mile or so that afternoon through the wide, paved path called the Perkins Central Garden Trail. Many of the rocks are open for bouldering and climbing after registering at the Visitor Center, with proper equipment of course. We walked around a little bit and enjoyed ourselves so much that we decided to come back early the next morning, when it was a little cooler and less crowded.
The area of sandstone formations was discovered in summer of 1859 by two men, MS Beach and Rufus Cable. Beach suggested it would be a great place for a beer garden when the city became more established, but his friend Cable said instead it was a “fit place for the Gods to assemble,” calling it the Garden of the Gods, which it has been named ever since. Its 480 acres was donated to the City of Colorado Springs in 1909, so it would “remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.” Archaeological studies have been done in the park and have shown that humans passed through this area on foot as far back as 575 AD.
The next morning we arrived early and, as we had hoped, the park was much less crowded. We discovered an area of the park where there were hundreds of bats living in the flat face of a giant rock, Lyons or Fountain formation. The holes in the faces of the rocks also make wonderful homes for lots of species like White throated swifts, swallows, falcons, pigeons, and wood rats, among others. We even caught a glimpse of some deer grazing in the early morning hours.
It’s quite a beautiful, spiritual place, and I think most everyone would enjoy a visit.