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Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

Garden of the Gods Loop

Views From the Perimeter of the Garden

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    This guide contains photos
 (5 votes, 3 reviews)
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 4.0 miles / 6.4 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
 
Overview: The Garden of the God’s really deserves more than one guide. This one takes you on a walk around the main section of the formations that constitute the Garden of the Gods as most people experience it. Three primary trails connect to form a 4 mile loop: The Palmer Trail begins on the north side of the main parking area, heading west and then south. After a little more than a mile, a short 400 yard trail branches off to the Siamese Twins formation. Returning to the main trail, you’ll cross the road and cut through the main park area’s southern section on the Buckskin Charlie Trail. When this reaches the other side of the paved road loop, you’ll cross again, this time heading for the Ute Trail, which eventually runs north to join with the Susan Breitag trail, and on back to the start point. If this sounds confusing, don’t worry. The large formations in the center of the park are visible from all parts of the trail. Just keep circling them.

Tips: Directions: Exit I-25 at Garden of the Gods exit. Drive east to the end of the road where it “T’s” into 31st St. Turn left (south) and drive to the Garden of the God’s entrance sign. Turn right. Once inside the park, you’ll have to turn right onto the tourist loop road. The first parking area you find on your left is the main one for the park. There are restrooms and water at this location.

Tips:
1. Watch for traffic as you cross the roads. The drivers are tourists intent on seeing the sights in the garden, not watching for hikers.
2. This is a dry hike most of the time. Take water. However, if there’s been rain, parts of the trail can be muddy.
3. Dogs are welcome on a leash.

Points of Interest

map

Trailhead

Across the street from the parking area, which is also the main entrance to the walkways of the center of the park, is a connecting path to the Palmer Trail. Get on this trail and turn left (west). It will take you into the high ground surrounding the park. Then it will bend south to the turn off for the Siamese Twins formation.
map

View Point 1

At this point you’re far enough away from the central formations to see them all at a glance. If you’re able, come later in the day so you’ll have the post meridian rays of the sun to illuminate the western sides of these magnificent rocks.
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Siamese

Named for obvious reasons, this unique formation offers spectacular views of Pike’s Peak. If you have time, you can take advantage of the small loop trail that begins and ends here. Walking back from the Twins, you’ll leave Palmer Trail by crossing the road and picking up Buckskin Charlie. This section of the park is famous for its horse tours. You can see and smell them coming; just step to the side of the trail and let them pass. When you get to the far side of Buckskin Charlie, cross the road and pick up the signs for Ute Trail.
map

View Point 2

There’s no water behind this dam, but there is a great view of the Garden formations. You can also look south and see similar formations in line with those of the Garden.
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View Point 3

Now on the east side of the Garden everything looks different. Kissing Camels on top of Signature Rock becomes easy to recognize. Early morning light makes this part of the hike breathtaking.
Pictures in this guide taken by: dougknighton
Reviews
holdenmontgomery
We enjoyed it. It was one of those unusually warm winter days and since my wife was pregnant with our second son at the time it made for a nice area to walk around and see some nice rocks.
Visited on Jan 29, 2013

by holdenmontgomery on Aug 12, 2013
desaraetouart
The paved walkways circling the rock formations are tourist attractions with a few small trails but if you veer off to the right of the main parking lot there are plenty of good hiking trials. Horseback riding is allowed so you do have to dodge quite a bit of manure. The views are spectacular, the visitors are a little bothersome at times, but its a great family-friendly place to hike with kids and dogs!
Visited on Apr 06, 2013

by desaraetouart on Apr 11, 2013
bigghoss
The scenery is great but all the paved trails that go right up to the formations kind of spoil it for me. There are some unpaved trails but the main attractions are right next to the parking lot and you can see the bulk of it in about an hour. This area would be good for anyone who wants to get outdoors but can't hike for a long ways on rough terrain.
Visited on Nov 11, 2012

by bigghoss on Nov 11, 2012

Garden of the Gods Loop Trail Map


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About the Author

dougknighton
dougknighton
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Retired Air Force Chaplain who began military life as an Airborne Ranger. Evidently I didn't get enough...

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