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Escape to Colorado’s Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a one-of-a-kind place in the midst of all Colorado Springs, Colo., has to offer. With a state-of-the-art nature and visitor center, amazing natural rock formations and at least 15 miles of multi-use trails, there is something for adventure seekers of all levels here.

Hours vary depending on the season, but you can basically plan on enjoying the free park during daylight hours.  The visitor center should be the first stop for everyone to get a lay of the land and get experience from the park rangers and volunteers.  There are many interactive exhibits and this is where you can sign up for van, jeep and yes, even Segway tours of the park.

Rock climbing is a popular sport practiced in the park and is free for technical climbers.  You must fill out a registration form in person before you begin climbing for the day.

As I said before, there are many activities to do in the park for all ages and abilities.  Even if your time in the area is short you will be able to enjoy most of these experiences.

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Drive the park — The entire drive is only about 6 miles and it will allow you to see many of the rock formations and get an idea of the hikes and areas you would like to explore further.  The road through the park is a one-way loop and there is a large bicycle lane, too.  The road narrows in some places (we drive a dually), so it is very important to obey Colorado law and remain at least 3 feet from cyclists at all times.  There are many parking lots throughout the park and other appropriate scenic pullouts.  Use these wisely.

Visit the nature/visitor center — General admission is free and this is a great place to pick up a souvenir in the gift shop or a piece of clothing or gear that you forgot.  There is also a Geo-Trekker movie to watch for a fee. www.gardenofgods.com/educational/edu-2/edu-geo-trekker-movie

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Visit Balanced Rock — There are about 20 parking spots here and, yes, your full size truck/van will fit through the narrow passage. You will see what I mean when you get there. Under NO conditions should you consider taking an RV of any kind through this area.  This is a great area for kids and adults alike to climb around on the rocks or take that great photo of you pretending to hold up Balanced Rock. www.gardenofgods.com/your-visit/visit2/gallery

Take a stroll on the Perkins Central Garden Trail — This is one of the few wheelchair and stroller accessible trails in the park and you will walk on the paved path along the base of the park’s largest rock formation.  The 1.5-mile trail is very easy and includes less than a 30 foot gain in elevation. www.gardenofgods.com/things-to-do/things-1/trails-and-hiking

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Hike Siamese Twins Trail — If you don’t have any physical limitations, this is a must-do hike. There is about a 150 foot elevation gain over the one-mile round-trip hike.  The terrain is uneven and will keep your mind and body active.  The highlight of the hike is the view of Pike’s Peak through the hole between the Siamese Twin rock formations.

Go Geocaching — There are many caches throughout the park and this could be an all day activity in itself.  Some are earth caches and others will lead you to find an actual log. Visit the website before you go or use the app on your mobile device.  www.geocaching.com

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Visit the trading post — After your day out on the trails, stop by the trading post located very close to Balanced Rock.  The trading post has a rich history and has more than 25,000 items for purchase including items from Colorado’s largest art gallery.  You can also  enjoy a bite to eat from Balanced Rock Cafe or ice cream and coffee from the Coffee Corner. www.gardenofthegodstradingpost.com

Now that you know some of the highlights of the park, plan your day, grab your selfie stick and get ready to soak up the fresh air and beautiful scenery at Garden of the Gods Park.

For more information, visit www.gardenofgods.com.

About Jen Holt

Jen Holt and her husband Drew are parents to two young kids and travel the country in their fifth wheel nicknamed Big Moosey. The Holts have a passion for the outdoors and love visiting National Parks. You can follow more about the Holts adventures at www.free2breathe.com

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