Saturday, June 22, 2013

Travel Review: Garden of the Gods - Colorado Springs

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Beautiful scenery with lots of hiking trails for free
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Towering red rocks
Make breathtaking scenery
Enjoy it for free

Beautiful Scenery at a Price that Can't be Beat

I must be honest, I didn't plan much for my trip to Colorado Springs.  I was meeting my family, and they also seem to pick great stuff for us to do, so I left it to them.  And one of our first stops proved me right.  We went to Garden of the Gods, and it was incredible.

Garden of the Gods is a city park preserving some beautiful red rock formations.  These red rocks are sticking right out of the ground.  I took so many pictures while we were there.  It seemed that around every bend in the road was a new, beautiful vista.  From the right angle, you can even see Pikes Peak in the background.

We didn't have much time to spend there, so we skipped the Visitor & Nature Center (as well as the gift shop).  The one thing I wish we had stopped to get was the free map that color codes the various trails in the park.  I don't feel I have a good idea exactly what is located where in the park.  But that's a minor complaint.  The visitor center is open 8AM to 8PM during the summer and 9AM to 5PM the rest of the year.

While a map would have been nice, you don't really need it to enjoy the park, which is open 5AM to 11PM May through October and 5AM to 9PM the rest of the year.  There is a one way loop that you can drive through much of the park, enjoying the rock formations from the comfort of your own car.  Parts of the road are two way, but most of it is one way and all is fairly clearly marked.  We managed to find our way to the entrance we took without too much trouble.

But if you are inclined to get out and hike, the park boasts that it has 15 miles of hiking trails.  We only did the Perkins Central Garden Trail, which is 1.5 miles of paved trails through the best of the park.  We were there on a Monday in October, and there were plenty of people on the path, but it was never too crowded.  I know I've already said the scenery was beautiful, but it really was.  This path is fairly level, so it is easily accessible to strollers and wheelchairs as well.  I don't know what the rest of the trails are like, but if I find myself back in Colorado Springs, I'd love to explore them.

And the best part of all this?  Admission is free.  No catch, just drive in any time you feel like it.  Apparently, this was a condition from the man who gave the land to the city to run.  For this price, you have no excuse not to check out the beauty of the area.

Scattered around the park are various picnic tables, so feel free to bring a lunch and make a day of exploring.

Garden of the Gods is a must see in Colorado Springs.  The scenery is great, and it only costs you time.  Believe me, it will be time well spent.

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