Home » 2005 Cross Country Road Trip

Garden of the Gods, CO

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 8:00am by Lolo
290 miles and 6 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


The "Entering Colorado" sign made me feel like we'd finally hit the West, but the scenery was still very much that of the Great Plains. It pretty much stays that way until you hit the Rockies. Taking the advice of a local, we decided to avoid Denver by getting off I76 and taking Route 71 south. This was quite a road--straight, narrow, and deserted. Well, at least we weren't driving through rush hour in Denver, but I'm not so sure that wouldn't have been preferable. You definitely didn't want to have car problems out here. The towns--and I use that term quite loosely--were at least 25 miles apart and had inviting names, such as Last Chance. I must admit I was a bit relieved when we hit civilization again.

Garden of the GodsGarden of the GodsHerb, however, is never that thrilled about hitting civilization. He would be perfectly content with nothing but nature--and I hope us--as his company and entertainment. That's why, as we inched our way along Saturday afternoon traffic in Colorado Springs, he was quite skeptical about our visit to Garden of the Gods. His feelings were not much improved when our motorhome practically got wedged in a tight turn within 2 minutes of entering the park. As dozens of tourists clambered happily atop Balance Rock, we edged our way ever so slowly around it trying not to bring some of it along with us. At this point, Herb was getting a bit cranky and mumbling something about just getting out of here. We pulled over as soon as we could, which happened to be in the parking lot for the Garden of the Gods Trading Post, Colorado's largest. Now, Herb is not particularly fond of gift shops and what he views as people's unnecessary need to consume crap, so he stayed in the RV to regroup while the kids and I quite happily went inside to shop. While in there, I was able to get information on how best to visit the park. If we could get a campsite at Garden of the Gods campground, just a block away, we could leave our motorhome there and bike through the park. Perfect. Bikes have always been our favorite form of transport.

Touring Garden of the GodsTouring Garden of the GodsFortunately, despite it being a Saturday night, we were able to get a campsite in the very nice, but quite crowded, Garden of the Gods Campground. Since it was a hot afternoon, we decided to hang out by the pool for awhile and then bike into the Garden of the Gods when it cooled off and the lighting got better for photography. Hanging by the pool also gave me the opportunity to get some laundry done, which was good because we had accumulated about 3 days of some pretty stinky running clothes. As I started to pour my powdered Tide onto my wash, I was surprised to see a sign above the washers that said Liquid Detergent Only. I surreptitiously wrapped my beach towel around the box and had Herb, my accomplice, carry it out with him to the pool where he discretely placed it behind my beach chair. I'm not sure why I didn't just bring it back to the RV. After coming out of the pool from a refreshing dip, I bumped into the towel-covered Tide box, knocking some powder onto the pavement. I immediately began to panic. In my clumsy attempts to right the situation, I spilled some more. Meanwhile, my dripping body was causing it to suds up quite nicely. I wanted to die. Everything I did only made the situation worse. Finally, we decided to just leave and hope for the best. As we got back to the RV, a thunderstorm came through. I could only imagine what was happening to my suds at the pool.

Garden of the Gods CampgroundGarden of the Gods CampgroundAfter the storm ended, we hopped on our bikes and headed up Ridge Road into the Garden of the Gods. It's hard to believe that this is a city park. When I think of city parks, I think of playgrounds and duck ponds, but this park had acres of magnificent red sandstone rock formations that were on par with the scenery of the national parks. We locked our bikes at the Central Garden Trailhead and walked the 1 ½ miles along the paved trail that went along the base of the formations. The lighting was perfect for photography--a great place for Andrew to shoot some pictures for his photography assignment. Too bad it was a black and white assignment--the colors were amazing. We tried to take one of the off-road mountain biking trails back, but got a bit lost and went back on the road. I was huffing and puffing a bit more than I thought I should--the change in altitude really does make a difference.

Back at the campground, I was relieved to see that the pool area looked pretty normal--no suds oozing through the fence. The next morning before leaving, the boys partook in the campground's Sunday morning $4 all-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast. They definitely ate their money's worth.


Garden of the GodsGarden of the GodsGarden of the Gods is a free city park located in Colorado Springs. Its 1,340 acres contain magnificent red sandstone rock formations, miles of hiking trails, a living history museum, the largest trading post in Colorado, and spectacular views of Pikes Peak. The park has been recognized as "a nationally significant natural area" by the Department of the Interior and designated as a National Natural Landmark.

This land was originally purchased in 1879 by Charles Perkins, a railroad magnate. After his death in 1909, his children gave the land to the City of Colorado Springs under the conditions that it be kept forever open to the public and free. Today it receives more than 1 million visitors a year.

Activities in the park include hiking, guided nature walks, mountain biking, horseback ride, photography, and rock climbing.

While there are no campgrounds in the park, the Garden of the Gods Campground lies just at its edge. This 5 star campground has many amenities, including a heated pool, indoor whirlpool, game room, basketball court, playground, etc.

rvnana on September 13, 2006

Garden of the Gods Park is awesome. We are amazed everytime we drive through. You were more energetic than us - walking & bicycle riding. We've also camped at Garden of the Gods Campground & we just love it there. Such a friendly & accommodating staff & we love all the activities. Can't wait to get back.

Garden of the Gods location map in "high definition"

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