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The Garden of The Gods Park in Colorado Springs brings together a fascinating combination of settings and biomes, as the Great Plains come with the woodlands of the Southwest, all in close proximity of the mountain forests of Pikes Peak. But there’s a lot more to do here than just take in the scenery—even if you could spend a whole day doing just that.

The Garden of The Gods Park as we know it was founded in 1909, when the children of Charles Elliot Perkins donated the original 480 acres of land, fulfilling their father’s wish, with the provision that it stay “free to the entire world.”

Today, this registered National Natural Landmark is free to visit, and roughly 2 million people come each year from across the country and the world to enjoy the 1,367-acre park. The park is also open year-round with exceptions for certain holidays, but hours are different depending on what time you go.

Before heading into the park proper, it’s a good idea to try and head into the accompanying Garden of The Gods Visitor and Nature Center. The staff here can give you some insight on the best ways that you can spend your time in the park, and you can also grab some last-minute essentials before heading in, like food, drinks, and maps. The Nature Center also has exhibits, as well as a spectacular view of the park and nearby Pikes Peak.

In the park itself, there are a variety of ways to see the natural splendor and famous rock formations, some dating back hundreds of millions of years. There are over 15 miles of hiking trails, including options that are wheelchair and stroller accessible. You can also take a guided hiking tour in order to learn from an expert about the park’s flora, fauna, history, and even some of the off-the-beaten-path trails.

For those who are looking for a more independent experience, there is also the opportunity to explore the park via horseback riding or biking. There are even jeeps and Segway tours available for those who want to see the park without a whole lot of walking.

The park is also a fantastic hub for nature enthusiasts and hobbyists. For example, Garden of The Gods Park is on the Colorado Birding Trail, offering the chance to see a variety of striking species. Rock climbing is also permitted in the park, provided that you fill out a free registration form and follow the park rules.

More beauty at the Bear Creek Nature Center.

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