The Garden of The Gods park is an open space located on the western edge of Colorado Springs. Its most prominent feature are red rock formations.
the most prominent rock formation, Kissing Camels
The city of Colorado Springs manages the park under the terms of a private trust administered by the heirs of the original property owner. The trust has ensured the park remains open and free to the public, and prohibits development within the park boundaries.
The rock formations are located in the eastern half of the park. The rock formation immediately south of Kissing Camels is Gateway Rock, which serves as the main entrance into the park.
at the base of Gateway Rock
Other entry points into the park include Ridge Drive on the south, and from Manitou Springs on the southwest. The entry from Ridge Drive takes the visitor to the highest point in the park. A smaller visitor center, at one time, operated at High Point. It provides a majestic view of the rock formations and surrounding area. It also had one of the two remaining Camera Obscuras in the nation. Budgetary constraints forced the city to close the High Point visitor center in the 1980s.
For many years, the Hidden Inn served as the primary visitor center. A new visitor center was constructed about ten years ago, across the street from the Gateway Rock entrance. While the city had wanted to build the new center within the park boundaries, the trust had restrictions which prohibits any kind of construction.
The Garden of The Gods features approximately 29 miles of hiking trails of varying difficulty. Most of the trails are friendly to the casual and novice hiker. Two or three trails are moderate in difficulty with steeper grades. The most difficult trail, which takes the hiker into the eastern end of the Rampart Range, was washed out in the late 1960s by heavy rains.
along the trail
It is recommended all hikers remain on marked trails. Occasionally, rattlesnakes have been encountered off trail. During the summer, lightweight rain gear is also recommended.
Technical rock climbing (climbing with gear) is allowed (requires a permit). Rock scrambling (climbing the formations without gear), however, is not.
If hiking or technical climbing is not your forte, the park has a driver-friendly road system that takes the visitor through the entire park. There are plenty of turn-off spaces where you can stop and take in the different formations and vistas.
About the photos –
These photos were taken with the Canon FTb using Kodacolor film (ASA 200).