When planning our massive, three week, seven state summer road trip, I was so excited to head back to Colorado. Last year while in Colorado for two Dead & Company concerts, we drove up Flagstaff Mountain, visited Red Rocks Amphitheater, toured Dinosaur Ridge, and walked through Chautauqua Park. This year, in addition to seeing Dead & Company again, we planned on visiting Garden Of The Gods in Colorado Springs, hiking the Flatirons in Boulder, and Rocky Mountain National Park.
I first visited Garden Of The Gods on a family vacation when I was 14. I remembered the huge red rocks and having a blast with my sisters and friends exploring and climbing on the rocks — and I couldn’t wait to take my kids there and see Carter’s face when he realized he could climb on and explore some of the enormous red rock formations the park is famous for.
Check out the photos below of my family and some friends in 1993 and Brian, Carter, and Natalie in 2018 on the same rock formation!
The Visitor & Nature Center
Our first stop at Garden Of The Gods was the Visitor & Nature Center to get the lay of the land and pick up a park map. With around 2 million visitors each year, from all 50 states and more than 60 countries, the Garden Of The Gods Visitor & Nature Center is the most visited museum in the Pikes Peak region. This world-class museum added two new exhibit halls in 2015 that use the most cutting-edge museum technology found in the world.
Here you’ll find:
- A topographic, interactive map of Garden Of The Gods.
- Exciting interactive exhibits on new dinosaur species, animals in the park, and Colorado’s geology, mountains, flora and fauna, and red rocks.
- Museum quality displays about the Red Rock People, Native Americans, early explorers, and even the buffalo.
- Historic photographs of the park and information about the park history.
- The Geo-Trekker theater experience, shown every 20 minutes.
- Information about the park trails and hiking opportunities, guided tours, and more.
Bean Sprouts Café
Bean Sprouts at the Garden Of The Gods Visitor & Nature Center is a healthy café offering a variety of choices for the entire family, including those who have picky eaters, food allergies, and other dietary challenges. There is even a coffee bar!
Bean Sprouts adheres to clean ingredient guidelines and features organic and sustainable foods, compostable packaging, and eco-friendly design. While eating in the beautiful glass-enclosed café or on the terrace, you can enjoy stunning views of Pikes Peak and the Garden Of The Gods red rock formations.
The Gift Shop
The Garden Of The Gods Gift Shop offers a wide variety of custom souvenir items and specializes in Colorado-made items like American Indian jewelry, American Indian pottery, apparel, Himalayan salt lamps, food items, rocks, books, postcards, toys, gifts, and homemade fudge.
Know Before You Go
- Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center is located at 1805 N 30th Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80904 in El Paso County.
- The park is open daily from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm.
- The Visitor & Nature Center and the Gift Shop are open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, with the extended hours of 8:00 am to 7:00 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.
- Download the Garden Of The Gods Map.
- Visiting both the park and the Visitor Center is free.
- There are several parking areas located throughout the park, but there are only 336 parking space total, so the park fills up fast, especially on weekends.
- Climbing Trips depart the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center every thirty minutes. It is also the place to catch segway and open-air jeep park tours and bike tours.
- Bean Sprouts Cafe is open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
- If you’re not able to walk through the park, you can drive through Garden Of The Gods and enjoy the majestic views of the red rock formations and surrounding landscape from your vehicle.
- Garden of the Gods Park is a registered National Natural Landmark.
- Pets are welcome but must be on a leash at all times and all pet waste removed. Doggie cleanup bags are available at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center in the designated pet area.