Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hiking Colorado - Garden of the Gods

Located only a few short miles away from my parents home in Colorado Springs is a majestic park filled with dramtic red sandstone rock formations that has made it world famous. It wouldn't be a trip home without a hike in Garden of the Gods and a snapshot or two of the infamous rock formations, include the one called "the kissing camels" in the photo above.

According to legend, the 1350 acre city park got its name from two surveyors, who started out from Denver City to begin a townsite, soon to be called Colorado City in August 1859. While exploring nearby locations, they came upon the sandstone formations. M. S. Beach, who related this incident, suggested that it would be a "capital place for a beer garden" when the country grew up. His companion, Rufus Cable exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods."

With a plethora of hiking trails and magnificent views, this is a must stop for any visitor to the Colorado Springs. Whether it is an easy stroll winding through the largest rock formation on Perkins Cental Garden Trail (which is a 1.5 mile paved loop that is handicap accessible) or the challenging and rocky 3 mile Chambers/Bretag/Palmer Trail that nearly circles the entire park, there is something for every level of hiker.

For those history buffs: The land was originally purchased in 1879 by Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of the Burlington Railroad, with the intent to build a summer home by the urging of General William Jackson Palmer, who founded Colorado Springs. According the park website, Perkins later added to the property but never built on it, preferring to leave his wonderland in its natural state for the enjoyment of the public. Perkins died in 1907 before he made arrangements for the land to become a public park, although it had been open to the public for years. In 1909, Perkins' children, knowing their father's feeling for the Garden of the Gods, conveyed his four-hundred eighty acres to the citizens of Colorado Springs and declared the park, "forever free to all the people of the world."

You can find maps and more information at

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