This place is absolutely iconic, and it’s a must do for anyone visiting the Denver area, although it’s actually down in Colorado Springs. The best part is that the visitor center and the park are totally free, and there are tons of trails so that you can experience the place with as much or as little walking as you want. I think our family ended up doing about 3-4 miles, and we saw most of the big sights. However, you can also drive through the park and see them that way too. It’s seriously perfect for everyone.

First, we parked at the visitor center so we could get a feel for the place (and a map.)IMG_7199eblogThere was so much neat stuff to check out.
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Clearly, Austin was the most interested.IMG_7211eblog

Just before you go out onto the viewing deck, there’s a fantastic gift shop and a neat little cafe along with a help desk. Everyone there was super friendly and informative – they’re happy to answer any questions you might ask about the park.

And then we walked outside and got this view. Wow.IMG_7221eblog

We were so excited for a nice, warm day in February!IMG_7225eblog

One last view before we headed back down to our van.IMG_7222eblog

As you can tell above, the entrance to the park is just across the street from the visitor center. And the map they provided us with told us exactly where to go and park so we could see the different formations.IMG_7237eblog

We parked in one of the main lots, and this was our first up-close sight. Not too bad.IMG_7242eblog

I couldn’t even begin to tell you what trails we took or what paths we selected. I have no idea, and we got lost a few times too. So it was just a fun little adventure!IMG_7250eblog IMG_7269eblog IMG_0255eblog

You can see here that we were behind the huge rock formations at this point.IMG_7272eblog IMG_7275eblog

And then we came upon this fun formation on the left.IMG_0258eblog

It’s sort of hard to see, but it looks like two camels kissing!IMG_7282eblog As we kept walking, we got this gorgeous look at Pikes Peak.IMG_7292eblog

These goof balls are great at posing for me. Unless they’re bored of the day’s adventure. Thankfully this was a short and fun day, so they were good to go.IMG_7300eblog IMG_7310eblog Another look at Pikes Peak.IMG_7319eblog

We found the Siamese Twins formation, and spent quite a bit of time here.IMG_0278eblog

A little peek at Pikes Peak. I crack myself up.IMG_7332eblog

This kid loves to climb.IMG_7337eblog

And the whole fam. (And yes, I routinely bring my tripod and remote because without them, these photos would be much more difficult!)IMG_7346e2blog One last shot before we headed on.IMG_7364eblog

This is about where we got lost. It’s not really possible to get totally lost – I mean, you can see the formations from anywhere. But it took us a minute to figure out which trail we wanted to be on.IMG_7372eblog

We figured it out though!IMG_7376eblog IMG_7379eblog The birds apparently like to hang out in this one particular spot.IMG_7383eblog

This area was the busiest we found (although my strategic shot here doesn’t show it). It’s very close to the main parking lot, so there were tons of people and some climbers too.IMG_7386e1blog

How fantastic is this heart? Audra spotted it and took this photo too.IMG_7397eblog Of course she needed to have her own picture taken.IMG_7402e1blog

We walked around for a little longer and then headed out. Everywhere we looked, we just encountered more and more rock formations. And they are gorgeous!IMG_7411eblog IMG_7416eblog IMG_7423eblog

Although our first trip was in February, I went back in June with my friend Erica and grabbed some more photos!

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We didn’t see this balancing rock formation when we were there the first time (because it’s a little bit further out), so we made sure to stop and check it out. IMG_0563eblog

Another photo-op at the Siamese Twins formation.
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And then I just went crazy talking all kinds of photos, because seriously – this place is beautiful. (And yes, there was still plenty of snow on Pikes Peak in JUNE!IMG_0593eblog IMG_0604eblog IMG_0609eblog IMG_0618eblog IMG_0631eblog

Please check out the Garden of the Gods website because they have tons more information about tours, trips, and the trails. It’s very informative and you can even download a park map right from the site.

How to find Garden of the Gods:

Castlewood Canyon State Park - Inner Canyon Trail
Cherokee Ranch & Castle