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Garden of the Gods

posted Jul 13, 2018, 4:27 PM by Justin P   [ updated Sep 6, 2018, 4:41 PM ]

Saturday was our last day in Colorado, but our flight home wasn't until the late afternoon. So before leaving Colorado Springs, we headed to Garden of the Gods.  Arriving a little after 8, it wasn't too crowded yet.  We started off hiking the Gateway Trail, following Gateway Road to the loop road around the garden.  Turning right on Bretag Trail, we followed it to the main parking lot and then headed into the Central Garden on the paved walkways.

First we passed Tower of Babel at the north end of a large red rock ridge.

At the top of the ridge were the Kissing Camels - it was clear how they got their name.

We then passed between North and South Gateway Rocks.

Rock climbers were ascending the Sentinel Spires.  Although the sun was rising in the sky, the tall ridges cast long shadows over the park.

Heading into the heart of the Central Garden, the red rock formations were just amazing.  And to think that this is a Colorado Springs City Park.  More rock climbers were on Cathedral Spires and they were really high up!

Passing by Pulpit Rock, we went between Cathedral Spires and Three Graces.

Although the spires were really high up, there were more rock formations closer to the ground.

Passing back out to the paved trail, there was a nice view of the Three Graces.

Next we headed over towards the Sleeping Giant.

In the distance, Pikes Peak was towering above.

Climbing up towards the Sleeping Giant, there were nice views of the Central Garden.

We climbed around for a while a got some pictures from different angles.  After a while, we continued on, taking Scotsman Trail towards the picnic area.

A Woodhouse's scrub jay landed on a fence long enough to get a picture.

Here we crossed the street and picked up Siamese Twins Trail to its namesake.

This was my favorite of the rock formations.  Two spires were connected at the bottom and middle, making a window between them.

Looking through the window, Pikes Peak was visible.

I really enjoyed this one.  Looking down below, I could see Red Rock Canyon past the highway where we had hiked the evening before.  We finished up the loop, stopping for some nice views of the Pikes Peak and the Front Range.

A little fence lizard scurried across the trail.

Heading back, we took Palmer Trail, which parallels the loop road.  There was a nice view of Scotsman from the trail.

Past here, the Giant Footprints was another cool rock formation.

From here, the trail ascended and we had great views of the Central Garden from above.

The big northern ridge looked kind of like a big turtle from this angle and the Kissing Camels were still visible.

It was really cool to see the rock formations from different angles.

We finished up Palmer Trail back at the main parking lot and took Bretag Trail back towards the visitor center.  We made a short detour on Dakota Trail.  Along the way, some moths were on a thistle flower.

The trail is closed towards the end, but passes by some cliffs and rock outcrops that were white in color.

We were hoping to see some wildlife, but no such luck.  Then we headed back to Bretag Trail for one last view of the garden.

Taking Gateway Trail, we returned to the visitor center.  We did a final packing of the car, before heading back to the airport.  Security was really long at Denver due to high volume of travelers, but we had time for a quick dinner before our flight.