Posted by: Brad Nixon | April 7, 2017

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

If you’re going to name a place, “Garden of the Gods,” it had better be good. The one in Colorado Springs, Colorado delivers.

Garden of the Gods Brad Nixon 121 (640x480)

Colorado Springs sits at the very eastern base of the Rocky Mountains. To the east, plains and prairie stretch almost continuously more than 800 miles to the Mississippi River. At Colorado Springs, the Rockies spring straight up, capped by 14,115-foot Pikes Peak, directly above Colorado Springs.

Garden of the Gods Brad Nixon 1470 (640x505)

The mountains adjacent to Colorado Springs are replete with a wealth of spectacular scenery, but the 1,367-acre Garden of the Gods is a city park right within the municipal boundaries.

Garden of the Gods Willard Nixon 3991 (605x640)

The formations are sedimentary rocks uplifted and tilted by the forces that formed the Rockies, and further shaped by erosion.

Garden of the Gods Brad Nixon 130 (640x456)

I’ve spent a lot of time in Colorado Springs on business trips. I’ve hiked in the mountains, explored Colorado Springs and the surrounding towns and even gone fly fishing far up in the Rockies. I’ve rarely passed up an opportunity to revisit the Garden, introducing coworkers and family to the site when I could.

Garden of the Gods Brad Nixon 0065 (640x480)

The Garden of the Gods is easy to visit by car or on foot. A loop drive with numerous parking areas extends through a large part of the park, and 15 miles of trails provide access to most of it.

Garden of the Gods Brad Nixon 1478 (480x640)

The trail in the photo above is a portion of more than a mile of pathway paved and accessible for visitors of all abilities.

That trail leads to one of the park’s landmark formations: the Three Graces:

Garden of the Gods Brad Nixon 120 (480x640)

Another popular spot, right by the park road, is Balanced Rock.

Garden of the Gods Marcy Vincent 001 (484x640)

Yes, climbers, you’re welcome there, too (look closely for the blue shirt).

Garden of the Gods Brad Nixon 0064 (640x480)

Climbers need a permit, available at this link on the city’s website. If you visit the park on any day it’s not raining or icy, you’ll probably see climbers.

Garden of the Gods Brad Nixon 1473 (480x640)

As with most geological wonders, the site is best photographed in early morning or late afternoon light, when shadows highlight the relief. Those are also better opportunities to spot deer, rabbits and other wildlife on the trails away from the road.


Colorado Springs is about 2 hours due south of Denver on Interstate 25. It’s also about 2 hours from Denver International Airport, and has an airport of its own. Use exit #146 from Interstate 25, go west, left on 30th Street for about a mile to reach the entrance.

“The Springs” has a lot to see: the U.S. Olympic Training Center, the nearby, picturesque towns of of Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City and a historic downtown of its own. The mountains beckon with hiking, fishing, Pikes Peak, Native American ruins, and nearby is the Air Force Academy and its iconic Cadet Chapel, which I wrote about here.

But while you’re there, don’t fail to visit the Garden of the Gods, if only for a couple of hours. There’s much more to see than I’ve shown you. Here is the website with more information. Note: It can get crowded on weekends in pleasant weather (which The Springs has a lot of).

© Brad Nixon 2017. Additional photos © Willard Nixon 2017 and © Marcy Vincent 2017, used by kind permission.

Some photographs in this post and select images from Under Western Skies are available on CLICK HERE to view the Underawesternsky image portfolio.


  1. Fabulous pictures. I agree that the name is very appropriate. Thank you for posting.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh this place looks magnificent! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Brad (and Marcy). I’m finally getting back to you…. These pictures are nothing short of spectacular. My first trip to the Garden of the Gods was in the early fifties. We were almost killed coming down the mountain when we lost our brakes. I’ll never forget the terror on the old two-lane road, weaving from a cliff drop to a near collision with the mountain until finally my father was able to pull the emergency brake.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gorgeous pictures, Brad! Grazie per averle condivise 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Prego. And thank you for the bracciatelle recipe. Marcy just baked some with your recipe and they’re delicious!


      • Hi Brad! I’m so glad you enjoyed bracciatelli!!! Complimenti alla cuoca Marcy 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • D’accordo! (that is, I agree she deserves a compliment. I simply enjoy saying “d’accordo!”)

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a nice word. Accordo reminds me of an ‘accordo musicale’ – a music chord. Harmony. That is what good music and good cooking do: create harmony. D’accordo?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Si. Veramente.


  5. Excellent Work and Great Efforts. As an photographer i can understand how important is to make your pictures creative specially when it comes to capturing Architecture and Nature Pictures. It really need extra efforts and Patience. Even when i started photography, i faced difficulties in capturing wildlife pictures and then i started writing tips for others so that they could improve themselves. Have a look at my work at and also let me know how is it. I would love to hear from you. Thank you in advance

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great photos and post! I have been wanting to visit the Garden of the Gods for some time now, hopefully I make my way soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind words. It’s a memorable place, along with any number of other sights in the Springs area. Happy travels.

      Liked by 1 person

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