With stunning red rock formations rising into the sky, Garden of the Gods is a unique landscape that is an absolute must-visit in Colorado. Spend some time wandering around the many Garden of the Gods trails to check out the incredible views from a variety of angles and see the famous Pikes Peak off in the distance.
If you’re looking for the top hiking recommendations in Garden of the Gods from a local, then you’re definitely in the right place.
I’ve called Colorado home for nearly 15 years and have spent plenty of quality time in Garden of the Gods.
As a local hiking expert, I am here to help you explore the Garden of the Gods trails like a local, not a tourist.
About this Guide to Garden of the Gods Trails
Inside this local guide to Garden of the Gods trails, you’ll find expert info about:
- Tips for visiting Garden of the Gods
- Driving directions to Garden of the Gods from Colorado Springs
- Garden of the Gods trail map
- The best Garden of the Gods hikes, broken down by difficulty
- Things to do & places to eat near Garden of the Gods
- Additional Colorado hiking resources
Tips for Visiting Garden of the Gods
- Garden of the Gods is open every day, and admission is free. It’s definitely one of the very best free things to do in Colorado!
- Park hours are 5am-10pm daily in summer (May 1-Oct 31) and 5am-9pm daily in winter (Nov 1 – April 30). Visiting Garden of the Gods is one of the great things to do in Colorado Springs in winter.
- The Visitor Center is open 9am-6pm in summer and 9am-5pm in winter. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, but the park itself remains open.
- Dogs are welcome in the park, in the visitor center, and on all trails, but must be on at least a 6-foot leash at all times. There is an off-leash area south of Gateway Road.
- Rock climbing in Garden of the Gods requires a free annual permit. Rock scrambling is prohibited in the park.
How to Get to Garden of the Gods from Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods is way up on the list of top places to visit in Colorado, and it’s just a short drive from Colorado Springs.
From downtown Colorado Springs, take 1-25 North for 2.5 miles then take Exit 145 for Filmore St. Stay left at the fork and merge onto W Filmore St.
Take Filmore St. for 1.5 miles, then turn right onto Mesa Road. Stay on Mesa Road through the traffic circle, then take a sharp left onto 30th St.
You’ll find the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center on your left or go just past that and take a right for the main parking area.
How Many Trails Does Garden of the Gods Have?
There are 21 miles of trails in Garden of the Gods, but a lot of trails connect in different loops, so you can make your own combination of Garden of the Gods trails.
The longest trail at Garden of the Gods is the Garden of the Gods Outer Loop, which is just under 6.5 miles.
Where is the Best Place to Hike in Garden of the Gods?
If you’re looking for what trail to take at Garden of the Gods, you’ll find some of the best hikes in Colorado on the Central Garden Trail in Garden of the Gods.
This area is right in the center of the red rock formations, making it the best place for Garden of the Gods hiking.
Garden of the Gods Trail Map
Here is a Garden of the Gods trail map to help you see how the trails connect.
The Best Easy Hikes in Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is one of the coolest places to visit in Colorado, and most of the Garden of the Gods trails are short and easy. You can link a lot of them up if you want to keep hiking and exploring.
1. Ridge Loop Trail
This quick little loop from the South Garden parking area is a great way to catch a glimpse of Garden of the Gods in all its splendor.
Distance: 0.4-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 65 feet
Estimated Time: 10-15 mins
2. Gateway Trail
If you stop by the Visitors Center to start out your trip to Garden of the Gods, the Gateway Trail connects you from there to the rest of the trails in the park.
Distance: 0.4 miles point-to-point
Elevation Gain: 55 feet
Estimated Time: 10-15 mins
3. Siamese Twins Loop Trail
Check out the Siamese Twins in Garden of the Gods on this short loop trail. The rock formation is made of two connected towers, hence the name Siamese Twins.
Distance: 0.5-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 104 feet
Estimated Time: 15 mins
4. Palmer to Siamese Twins Trail
Take the Palmer Trail to connect from other trails to the Siamese Twins Trail. The Palmer Trail also offers an excellent view of Pikes Peak.
Distance: 0.8 miles out & back
Elevation Gain: 85 feet
Estimated Time: 20 mins
5. Perkins Central Garden Trail
The Perkins Central Garden Trail is an excellent loop to see some of the best sights in Garden of the Gods, including White Rock and Kissing Camels.
Distance: 1.1-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 88 feet
Estimated Time: 30 mins
6. Cabin Canyon via Balanced Rock Trail Loop
For one of the unique things to do in Colorado, take the Cabin Canyon Trail to the Balanced Rock Trail Loop to see this gravity-defying rock formation.
This huge sandstone boulder really doesn’t look like it should be standing!
Distance: 1.2-mile lollipop loop
Elevation Gain: 137 feet
Estimated Time: 30 mins
The Best Moderate Hikes in Garden of the Gods
These moderate Garden of the Gods trails are a little longer if you want to spend more time in this Colorado bucket list location.
7. Buckskin Charlie Trail Loop
Another great loop trail in Garden of the Gods, the Buckskin Charlie Trail Loop provides a different perspective on the red rock formations.
It also tends to be less crowded than the Central Garden trails.
Distance: 1.5-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 127 feet
Estimated Time: 30-45 mins
8. Susan G. Bretag Trail & Palmer Loop
Another way to escape the heavier crowds is on the Susan G. Bretag Trail and Palmer Loop, which skirts the western edge of the park on a tree-lined trail.
Distance: 2.5-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 321 feet
Estimated Time: 1 hour
9. Palmer, Cabin Canyon, Strausenbach, and Central Gardens Trail Loop
Combine the Palmer, Cabin Canyon, Strausenbach, and Central Gardens Trail into an awesome moderate loop to really see the whole park.
This trail is a perfect way to spend a couple of hours exploring all of Garden of the Gods!
Distance: 4-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 593 feet
Estimated Time: 1.5-2 hours
10. Scotsman Trail
The Scotsman Trail is nice way to navigate through a good section of Garden of the Gods and see some of the best the park has to offer.
Distance: 3.8-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 501 feet
Estimated Time: 1.5 hours
Photography Tips for Garden of the Gods
- Try to arrive for sunrise or stay for sunset to capture the stunning sky in one of the most beautiful places in Colorado.
- Walk around the trails to find interesting and unique angles of the red rock formations.
- Find Pikes Peak and use the unique rock formations to frame it in your photos.
Things to Do Near Garden of the Gods
While you’re in the area, check out some of these other things to do in Colorado Springs:
- Red Rocks Canyon Open Space – Explore more trails and rocks right next door to Garden of the Gods.
- North Cheyenne Cañon Park – Enjoy more of the best Colorado Springs hikes on beautiful forested trails featuring granite formations and waterfalls.
- Pikes Peak – You can drive to the top of Pikes Peak (reservations are required in peak season) in about an hour from the Garden of the Gods.
- Manitou Incline – If you want to test your fitness on a more challenging hike while visiting Colorado, head to the Manitou Incline for over 2,000 ft of gain in under a mile. (Free reservations are required.)
Places to Eat Near Garden of the Gods
- Adam’s Mountain Cafe – Tasty and hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Manitou Springs. Very veggie friendly.
- 3.14 Sweet and Savory Pi Bar – Yummy house-made hand pies, pot pies, dessert pies and more located just north of the park.
- Cerberus Brewing – A Colorado Springs favorite featuring local brews and excellent pub grub.
Additional Local Colorado Hiking Resources
Looking for nearby hikes in Colorado? Check out these locally-curated resources: