The Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs, comprised of giant red rock formations that were created during a geological upheaval along a fault line millions of years ago. When two surveyors came from Denver City (now Denver), in 1859, to begin the Colorado City (now Colorado Springs) town site they came upon this beautiful area of sandstone formations. M.S.Beach, who related this incident, suggested it would be a "capital place for a beer garden." His companion, Rufus Cable, exclaimed, "Beer garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods." It has been so called ever since.
We began our visit at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. There, the complex geology, ecology, and cultural history of the park comes to life through new hands on interactive exhibits. Both the park and the visitor center are free, and open to the public--click here to see the visiting schedule
I particularly enjoyed seeing the exhibit of the wildlife that lives in and around the park.
One can see many of the remarkable rock formations by driving through the park...
...so if one is short on time you can drive through the 1,367 acres of the park.
The outstanding geologic features of the park are the ancient sedimentary beds of deep red, pink and white sandstone, conglomerates, and limestones that were deposited horizontally, but have now been tilted vertically by the immense mountain building forces caused by the uplift of the Rocky Mountains and Pikes Peak massif.
To truly appreciate the park, however, one must park the car and go walking on one of the many trails in the park! The 700 hundred ton Balanced Rock is best viewed this way. Click on to enlarge the collage above to read interesting facts about this formation.
There are more than 15 miles of trails in the park, with a 1.5 mile trail, Perkins Central Garden Trail, that runs through the heart of the park that is paved and wheelchair friendly.
There were still wildflowers blooming in many areas.
White sandstone in the Lyons Formation.
The "Three Graces" rock formation.
It was fun to see the "Cathedral Spires" and the "Sentinel Spire" rock formation close up and be able to touch something that was millions of years old!
In 1879, Charles Elliott Perkins, a friend of William Jackson Palmer, purchased 480 acres of land that included a portion of the present Garden of the Gods. Upon Perkin's death, his family gave the land to the city of Colorado Springs in 1909, with the provision that it would be a free public park. If you click on to enlarge the photo collage above you can see the plaque that has this dedication on one of the rock formations. Palmer also donated land upon his demise, and the city of Colorado Springs purchased more to make the park as large as it is presently.
When you get to the top of the trail you are facing the "Siamese Twins" that looks as if they are attached in the middle, as well as many amazing surrounding, giant rock formations.
Almost at eye level, right below where the twins are attached, is this natural framed view of another amazing sight---Pikes Peak!
My husband and I drove up to the 14,110 foot summit of Pikes Peak, nicknamed "America's Mountain," this past summer--click here to read that post.
It is easy to see why two million people visit the beautiful and magnificent Garden of the Gods every year. It is one of the most beautiful natural places to see in Colorado!
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