Garden of the Gods in Colorado is owned by the City of Colorado Springs and stretches the traditional definition of a city park. Annually, visitors from all 50 states and more than 60 countries discover the beauty and history of the 1,367-acre Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, which has been designated as a National Natural Landmark. The Park is a unique biological melting pot where the grasslands of the Great Plains meet the pinon-juniper woodlands characteristic of the American Southwest, and merge with the mountain forest of the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak - America's Mountain. The 300 million years of geological history of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs reveal one of the most extensive pictures of earth history found anywhere in the United States.
Wonder how the Garden of the Gods in Colorado was named? In August, 1859, two surveyors started out from Denver to begin a town site, to be called Colorado City. While exploring locations, they came upon a beautiful area of sandstone formations. M.S. Beach suggested that it would be “a capital place for a beer garden,” when the country grew up. His companion, Rufus Cable, exclaimed, “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.” The name stuck.
How did an area of such national significance become a city park? The answer to that question is a story of friendship, of strong commitment to the common good and of children fulfilling their father’s dream. This part of the story begins in 1879 when General William Jackson Palmer, founder of the city of Colorado Springs, convinced his good friend, Charles Elliott Perkins to buy 240 acres of land known as the Garden of the Gods. In 1899, Perkins purchased another 240 areas and in his letters to General Palmer, expressed his desire to donate his 480 acres to the City of Colorado Springs. Perkins was undoubtedly influenced by General Palmer, who already had donated more than 1,000 acres of his own land to become public city park lands.
In 1907, Charles Perkins died before he had officially arranged for the Garden of the Gods in Colorado to become a public park. However, knowing their father’s wish for the Garden, Perkins’ children deeded the 480-acre Garden of the Gods to the City of Colorado Springs on December 22, 1909, with the stipulation that it remain “free to the entire world.”
Today the original 480-acre Perkins land donation, “a gift of inestimable value” forms the center of Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, which now totals 1,367 acres. It still is free and will always be “Kept forever free to the world.”
You can learn more about Garden of the Gods at the Visitor & Nature Center located at 1805 N. 30th Street in Colorado Springs. Here you can find great exhibits, a fun 14-minute HD video on the formation of the park, a cafe that overlooks the garden as well as a gift shop.
Visitor Center Summer Hours
Memorial Day - Labor Day: 8 AM - 8PM
Visitor Center Winter Hours
*The Visitor Center is currently under construction and open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9AM-5PM and closed Monday through Thursday.
Garden of the Gods Park Hours
May 1 - October 31: 5AM - 11PM
November 1 - April 30: 5AM - 9PM
Map of Garden of the Gods Park