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On Walkabout Travelog: Winter Time In The Garden of the Gods

Below are some photos I recently took of the Garden of the Gods after a snow fall earlier this week.  I was hoping to see more snow on the ground when I visited the park but the weather was warm enough that much of it had already melted.  There may not have been much snow left around the Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak on the other hand was covered in a fresh new coating of snow:

From the overlook at the visitor center I then proceeded to drive down into the park and take a few pictures of the park:

I parked in the northern parking lot and planned to walk around the Central Garden area of the park.  Below is a map of the Central Garden area of the park that I walked around:

From the parking lot the first rock seen is the massive “Tower of Babel” which is the very end of the northern rock wall called the “North Gateway Rock”:

The paved path from the parking lot goes down to an area known as the “Chuckwagon Pavilion” where starting in 1935 a chuck wagon business was located that catered to tourists visiting the park.  The business closed in the 1980’s and today the area is used as a viewing area with interpretive signs about the park:

On side of this viewing area the “Kissing Camels” can be seen on top of the northern rock wall:

On the opposite side of the viewing area is “White Rock” which is named for obvious reasons:

On one part of “White Rock” a buffalo can be seen:;

Here is a closer look at the buffalo:

In the middle of the Central Garden there is a gap between the northern and southern rock walls where there is a nice park area:

One of the items to be seen in this central area is “Signature Rock”, which is covered with graffiti from the many decades of prior visitors to the park leaving their names here:

On the side of the northern rock wall there is a gigantic plaque dedicated to Charles Elliot Perkins who donated this land to the City of Colorado Springs in 1909 for the promise that it would be forever free to the public to visit:

So far the city has kept its promise and the park remains free to visit and even more impressive is that the park has probably never looked better as the trails are first rate, the environment has recovered greatly from past misuse, and commercialism has not overrun the park.  This central area is really the most spectacular area of the park as the various trails allow visitors to get an up close look at the rocks.  Some of the rocks still had some snow on them that really made them more beautiful then they already are:

I am definitely going to have to come back here sometime when there is a heavier snow fall to see how more beautiful these rocks would be then, such as this rock called “Sentinel Spires”:

From the central area of the park I then walked over to the west side of “North Gateway Rock”.  In the below photograph, for those that look closely, the “Kissing Camels” can be seen once again:

As the trail looped away from the Central Garden area the rock formation called “Gray Rock” came into view:

Here is a picture of the gap between North and South Gateway Rocks as viewed from the western side of the Central Garden area:

What I find most interesting about this photo is that if you look at old photographs of the Garden of the Gods the trees and native grasses are non-existent due to overuse of the park.  Today the park is lush and beautiful due to the careful management of the park despite the many visitors that still come to enjoy the park.  I think the Garden of the Gods is really a perfect example of great land conservation at the local government level.

The trail then looped around this tall and skinny rock known as the “Three Graces”:

Near the “Three Graces” is another tall and skinny rock wall called the “Cathedral Spires”:

Eventually trail went right by the previously mentioned “Gray Rock”:

The trail then headed back towards the central garden area of the park:

Along the way I took another picture of the “Three Graces” backdropped by the sun:

This next rock I took a picture of is known as “Pulpit Rock”:

From there there the trail went back through the gap between the rock walls and I followed it back up to my truck:

From the parking lot I then proceeded to drive the loop road around the park.  Just a short distance from the northern parking lot is this view of the Central Garden area I was just walking around at:

On the western side of the park there is a parking area that provides a really beautiful view of Pikes Peak with some of the smaller red rocks in the foreground:

Here is the view from this same look out looking south towards Cheyenne Mountain:

Here is a view of the Central Garden area from this same look out:

I always find it interesting how different the Garden of the Gods looks from different angles.  This place has to be a dream place for a photographer to take photos at.  I next headed down the road towards the often photographed “Balanced Rock”:

The road goes in between this narrow gap in the rock wall.  On the northern side of the rock wall is this rock that appears it is about to fall over at any time:

It is a popular for people to photograph themselves appearing to hold the rock up in place.  Here is the view from “Balanced Rock” of the Central Garden:

From here I then proceeded to drive the loop road back towards the Central Garden.  Along the way a local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution constructed this marker in recognition of the Indian trail that passed through the Garden Gods and followed the present day Highway 24 up into the high country:

Here is the last shot I took this day at the Garden of the Gods before heading back home from the look out where the marker was located:

All in all it was another great day at a place that must rank as one of the most beautiful city parks in all of America.  I have visited the Garden of the Gods for literally decades now whenever I am back in Colorado.  Every time I come back I am always impressed by the beauty of the place and this time was no different.

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