Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Abstract: Whether you’re interested in hiking or photography, Colorado’s Garden of the Gods offers a natural playground that will take your breath away. By Meredith Newlin
Located at the west end of Colorado Springs (http://www.visitcos.com/), Garden of the Gods (http://www.gardenofgods.com/home/index.cfm?flash=1) is a 1,350-acre geological wonderland with a rich natural and cultural history.
This garden is renowned not for flowers, but for hundreds of towering, 300 million–year–old red sandstone formations created by erosion and other forces. Its name came about in the mid-1850s when a surveyor exclaimed that it was “a fit place for the gods to assemble,” and well-traveled aviator Charles Lindbergh (http://www.charleslindbergh.com/history/index.asp) once said that he had never seen “a more spectacular and magnificent place.” Park activities include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, road biking and rock climbing. A registered national landmark since 1909, the park offers a wonderful view of Pikes Peak (http://www.pikes-peak.com/page/122.aspx), paved and unpaved hiking paths, and a living history museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park has its challenges: for hikers, miles of arduous trails; for photographers, enough spectacular views to fill a memory card. A free visitor center offers a geological, ecological and cultural history of the area through hands-on exhibits, and naturalists give free presentations on a variety of subjects, as well as free guided nature walks daily.