Pikes Peak is America's Mountain.
Garden of the Gods History
Uncover the Garden of the Gods history and learn how this geological wonder was formed.
Garden of the Gods Park is a breathtaking, free park that draws millions of visitors to the Pikes Peak region every year. Now a registered National Natural Landmark, Garden of the Gods has an extensive history dating back millions of years, before humans roamed the Earth.
Garden of the Gods Formation
Hundreds of millions of years ago the area surrounding Garden of the Gods was host to the Ancestral Rockies, an ancient mountain range in roughly the same area as the modern day Rockies. Time passed and the Ancestral Rockies slowly eroded leaving behind only low hills and sediment.
As the ancient mountain range disappeared the climate dried out and sand dunes formed across the region. Over the years seas and oceans encroached and retreated on the land leaving behind ocean deposits. Eventually, after millions of years, the dunes disappeared leaving behind a layer of sand that became buried under more sediments and compacted into sandstone.
Around 65 million years ago the modern day Rockies began to form through a series of Earth-altering events. These events caused the sandstone to shift, with profound movement occurring near the major faults, one of which runs through Garden of the Gods park, leading to the formation of the park's impressive spires, including North Gateway Rock and White Rock.
Garden of the Gods Native American History
According to Ute oral tradition, the Ute people have lived in Colorado since the beginning of time. The oldest residents of Colorado acquired horses from the Spanish around 1630 and became skilled horsemen. Over time the Ute made Camp Creek Valley, the current site of Rock Ledge Ranch, their basecamp as it provided abundant water and diverse plant life.
From 1775-1835 the Ute peoples flourished, using their horses for hunting and travel. Abundant natural resources and extensive trade networks provided the Native Americans of the area with a wide variety of foods, building materials, and manufactured goods allowing them to support their families and honor their cultural traditions. Although many tribes moved through the Pikes Peak region the Ute were the primary residents.
In the mid-19th century gold discoveries and western expansion brought the United States Government and Ute into conflict. By the 1870’s the Ute people were removed from the area to reservations in Southwestern Colorado and Utah.
Founding of Garden of the Gods Park
In 1859 a group of surveyors left Denver City to begin a new town called Colorado City. While exploring the area they came upon Garden of the Gods and Surveyor M. S. Beach noted that the area would be an ideal place for a German beer garden. The other surveyor, Rufus Cable, exclaimed that the area was “fit for the Gods to assemble,” and named the land Garden of the Gods.
By the 1870’s railroads had forged their way west and General William Jackson Palmer founded Colorado Springs. General Palmer urges his friend and head of the Q Railroad, Charles Elliot Perkins, to build his railroad out to Colorado Springs and establish a home in Garden of the Gods. Perkins purchased 240 acres for a summer home and later added further acreage to the property, but never built on the land, preferring to keep it in its natural state for the public.
In 1907 Perkins passed away and, thanks to his efforts, the land became a public park. Two years later his children conveyed his 480 acres to the City of Colorado Springs where it would forever be known as Garden of the Gods and remain free to the public.
We’ve put together a list of some of the must-see smaller events going on around the…Learn More
The Pikes Peak Region is an ideal escape for self-exploration and adventure. Burn some calories with…Learn More
Colorado Springs and the surrounding Pikes Peak region offer no shortage of memorable experiences that are…Learn More
Enjoying the outdoors should be equally accessible to everyone. While some trails and hiking areas are…Learn More
Towering at more than 14,000-feet on the Colorado Rockies Front Range, Pikes Peak is a bucket-list…Learn More