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    Garden of the Gods Loop

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    Very Easy
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    6.4 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    137 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Garden of the Gods Loop

    There is no question as to why the Garden of the Gods attracts millions of visitors each year. This stunning landmark situated in the high alpine desert presents awe-inspiring scenery of sandstone spires, red rock slabs, and unique outcroppings that protrude from the grasslands. Exhibiting the diversity of the topography, flora, and fauna, the Garden of the Gods Loop is a truly breathtaking experience.

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    Route Description for Garden of the Gods Loop

    The Garden of the Gods Loop is a must-do; it is a rite- of passage when visiting Colorado Springs. This Natural Landmark is conveniently located just outside the city's center and just a few miles from Denver; this Natural Landmark is a popular weekend excursion, notably in the summer months, so expect to see some crowds! If you are hoping for a more tranquil and secluded experience, then a weekday adventure in the off-season may be the best bet. The alpine desert environment is extremely fragile, so it is important to maintain on the established paths and note that climbing on the formations is strictly prohibited unless otherwise signposted. Note rattlesnakes frequent the area in the warmer months, so keep an eye and ear out for them!

    Attracting outdoor enthusiasts, geological buffs, and sightseers, the Garden of the Gods Loop caters to adventurers of all sorts. With countless rock climbing and bouldering opportunities, mountain biking routes, and dozens of walking trails, you can easily spend the day exploring and adventuring the sandstone spire garden. Given the elevation, manageable terrain, and stimulating scenery, the circuit trail is also a great family-friendly excursion. Escape into the fresh air and explore the wilderness, laden with diverse flora, fauna, and epic rock sculptures. The next time you find yourself near Colorado Springs, a venture to the Garden of the Gods is well worth the time and effort—trust us.

    Embark on your journey along the Garden of the Gods Loop from the Palmer Trailhead off Juniper Way Loop. From here, you can choose to complete the loop from either direction, but we prefer counterclockwise. From the trailhead, veer left and hike the Palmer Trail west before curving south. Traveling further away from the rocks and up to a lookout, you will be granted a more expansive view of the slabs and spires that jut from the landscape. The sun illuminates the western rockfaces in the afternoon, delivering an awe-inspiring vista of the vibrant outcrops. Continue journeying south, and you will pass the Garden of the Gods Mine in the west as you travel through the meadowlands.

    As you trek, you will be granted sights of the Pulpit Rock, the Three Graces, and the Giant Footprint. Traveling along the border of the park warrants stunning panoramas of the garden, but if you seek a more close and personal sight of the spires, then take one of the many connecting trails into the center of the rock field. Continue along the Palmer Trail until you reach an intersection with the Scottsman Trail. Here, keep left, tracking east past the Scottsman Rock and along the park's south end. Soon you will want to merge onto the Buckskin Charlie Trail then onto the Niobrara Trail.

    The Niobrara Trail leads adventurers to another overlook of the garden formations. Follow this path north along the eastern boundary of the rocks. In our opinion, this is the most picturesque section of the trail, revealing sights of the Kissing Camels, the Gray Rock, and intrepid adventurers' bouldering on Snake Pit. Following the route north, you will pass the Tower of Babel feature before returning to the trailhead. This marks the end of your exciting excursion through the Garden of the Gods. If you are curious about this amazing geological site, then stop into the visitors center to learn more.

    Trail Highlights

    Garden of the Gods

    Formed many millions of years ago during a geological upheaval along the fault line, the red sandstone rock formations in the Garden of the Gods are rich in historical, archeological, and ecological significance. Covered by ocean many moons ago, fossils of shells, sea creatures, and even a shark’s tooth have been discovered here. Occupied by Native American Natives as early as the prehistoric period, the large sandstone and spires have been visited for years.

    It wasn’t until the 1800s that the Garden of the Gods started becoming a tourist destination. Named the Red Rock Corral by Europeans, two surveys explored the land in 1859, awarding it a new name. MS Beach and Rufus Cable revamped the name after Beach described the landscape as a “capital place for a beer garden,” to which Cable replied, “Beer Garden! Why, it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.” Since then, the iconic name has remained unchanged. After a transfer of ownership, the land was gifted to the City of Colorado Springs in 1909 and become a National Natural Landmark in 1971. Since then, millions of people each year visit the breathtaking alpine desert dotted with unique geological sculptures.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long is the Garden of the Gods Loop?

    The Garden of the Gods Loop is a 6.4 km hike.

    Is the Garden of the Gods busy?

    Yes, the Garden of the Gods is a highly trafficked tourist and hiking destination, so expect to share the trails.

    Is there a fee to visit the Garden of the Gods?

    No, visiting the Garden of the Gods is free of charge.

    Insider Hints for Garden of the Gods Loop

    • Head out on a weekday to enjoy thinner crowds
    • Charge up your camera, the picturesque
    • Be mindful of rattlesnakes in the warmer months
    • If you are adventurous, sign up to do some rock climbing in the garden

    Getting to the Garden of the Gods Loop Trailhead

    The Garden of the Gods Loop departs from the Palmer Trailhead off Juniper Way Loop.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


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    Garden of the Gods Loop Elevation Graph

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