Garden of the Gods – 2019 style

Colorado Springs, Colorado.

This year’s family reunion brought us to Colorado. Regular readers of my Travel Tuesday posts will note that previous posts included stops in Nebraska on our way to Colorado. Our reunions are planned for three days to allow family members to spend time exploring the area where the reunion is being held. In 2012, Lynn and I visited Garden of the Guards on our way home from Arizona. At that time, we explored what I would call a “central core” of the park where a paved trail meanders past some of the larger outcroppings of rock. This year we would drive around the area which I discovered was much larger than we realized on our initial visit. The view of the park in the opening photo is a panorama captured from the park’s information center observation deck.

The red rock outcroppings were created millions of years ago due to a geological upheaval along a fault line. The name was given by a couple of surveyors who were setting up what would become Colorado Springs. With the quote, “It is a fit place for the Gods to assemble,” the park was named.

Many trails, some nicely paved, transit the park which was donated to the city of Colorado Springs in 1909 with the provision that admission to it become a public park and admission would always remain free. Earliest visitors to the park were Native Americans that have been traced archeologically back to 1330 BC.

One of my favorite photos of the park I captured in 2012. Rock climbing is a popular attraction for visitors and as long as people follow the rules for safe climbing, they are allowed to scale the outcroppings. Climbers require a permit. Those are free, available online, and must be renewed annually. The permits cover several areas around the city and can be found on the coloradosprings.gov parks website.

Hikers will find about 15 miles (24 km) of hiking trails in the garden. The Perkins Central Garden trail is a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) paved trail that is wheelchair accessible and is the trail we explored first in 2012. Other popular trails include the Ridge Trail, and the Scotsman/Buckskin Charlie Trail. Trail maps with routing and difficulty levels are available at the park’s information center.

Guided hikes are also available as well as bike and electric bike tours, rentals and rides. Mountain bikes are welcome and one of the features is a nighttime bike ride called the Starlight Spectacular. Jeep, trolley, and segway tours are also available.

The park’s website provides information for photographers. Of most importance to me in recent months is the availability (or lack thereof) for permitted drone photography. As I suspected, a permit is required, is only available during the off-season, has insurance requirements and a fee for use. They are pretty normal requirements for drone photography in public areas.

For more on the park and other photos captured in our first visit, you’ll find that original Travel Tuesday post here.

I present for your review a gallery of images captured that day in the Garden of the Gods. It truly is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. As always, most browsers will allow you to click on a link to enlarge the images and scroll through the gallery.

John Steiner

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