I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
Garden of the Gods
When traveling to the lovely city of Colorado Springs, ColoradoI, it is almost impossible to miss seeing the spectacular Garden of the Gods city park. This is a large city park (over 1,300 acres!) situated near the base of the towering Pikes Peak.
Pikes Peak is an impressive mountain with an elevation of 14,100 feet. One's eye is naturally drawn to that "purple mountain majesty" which inspired the song America The Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates.
This city park is stunningly beautiful. It consists of striking red sandstone formations that were seemingly thrust up from the earth in distinctive and unusual patterns in comparison to the topography of the surrounding area.
My mother and I got to spend 11 wonderful days sightseeing and exploring parts of Colorado in July of 1999. We started our vacation in Colorado Springs after flying there from Houston, and we first spotted the Garden of the Gods from the air. Naturally, we wanted to see and experience this site up close after that lofty first view. After leaving the airport with our rental car, we drove through this magnificent area and were later to return to see more of the park on a guided tour.
Origins of This City Park
- Charles Elliott Perkins was an intelligent, hard-working soul—the eldest of five boys in his family—who graduated from high school at the age of 16. His first job was clerking in a fruit store.
- His uncle, John Murray Forbes, was the president of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad. Due to that family relationship, he was offered a job as a clerk for that railroad.
- Charles Elliott Perkins rapidly rose through the ranks, holding many different job titles.
- By 1872, he was the vice president of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad and president of that railroad's Nebraska division.
- In 1873, that railroad merged with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.
- By 1881, C.E. Perkins had become the president of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. He remained president until his retirement in 1901.
- During his working career, he was also a director of other railroads and was on the board of directors of the American Bell Telephone Company.
- Charles Elliott Perkins had amassed great wealth over the course of years. He had originally purchased a portion of land in Colorado Springs consisting of what is now known as Garden of the Gods for the possible location of a summer home.
- He came to appreciate the land for its natural beauty and decided to leave it in its natural state instead of building anything man-made upon it. He had already opened it up to the public for the enjoyment of this space and acquired even more of the adjacent land.
- Mr. Perkins' children knew his intent, and after his death, they generously donated the land (consisting of 480 acres) to the City of Colorado Springs in 1909 with the stipulation that it would always remain open and free of charge to the public.
- Additional surrounding lands were subsequently added, making Garden of the Gods the city park that is now enjoyed daily by countless residents of and tourists to this fine city.
What to Do and See in This Park
The Garden of the Gods city park offers so much. It is not only stunningly beautiful, but there is also lots of entertainment to be had depending upon one's willingness or ability to participate. It is a genuine playground of sorts!
- One can simply stroll the paths winding through the various formations and sit and watch the shadows dance off of the rocks, trees, and vegetation native to that area.
- Some of the trails in the park would be the perfect spot for meditation.
- Watch for chirping birds of various species resting on branches in the trees or colorful butterflies tasting the nectar of flowering plants.
- There is a wide diversity of plant life as well as animal life native to this area.
- Fossils have been found here that indicate marine life in the past and even one type of dinosaur whose remains have been identified.
- Whether walking on fairly level ground or mountain hiking, one's desires can be satisfied.
- Biking and horseback riding is allowed on pathways throughout the park.
- Just driving on the roads through the park gives one glimpses of areas of great beauty.
- Rock climbers have fun in this park. My mother and I did see some professional rock climbing taking place in the Garden of the Gods in addition to the normal type of scrambling over rocks by children and adults. In order to scale those heights, one must have the proper equipment and permit plus climb with a buddy on established routes. One can also hire professional rock climbing guides to assist one in this type of effort if a novice climber.
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The video above shows some of the fun had by adventurous rock climbing folks in this locale.
Visitor Center and Nature Center
My mother and I stopped at the visitors center and took some time to look at the displays of minerals and plant life. We learned about the local wildlife, geology, and more. One can watch a movie in this location and become better educated regarding the amazing history of this area. I would highly recommend doing this.
The Garden of the Gods Park is open daily from 5 AM to 9 PM with even longer hours in the summer; from May to October, one can enjoy this park from 5 AM to 11 PM.
Seen below is the Balanced Rock, which is a notable subject for the snapping of photos. I snapped that photo one day on our narrated bus tour of the park.
If you ever travel to Colorado Springs, Colorado be sure to make some time to visit this spectacular city park. You will be impressed by its beauty. Few cities have parks this stunning and distinctive in their midst which can be accessed in all sorts of ways and are also totally free of charge.
Winter with Snow Scenes in this Park
Location of Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Peggy Woods