Date and Time: Around 4:15 pm on 30th September 2019.
Garden of the Gods Park is a natural National Landmark in Colorado Springs which is about an hour drive from Denver, Colorado. The park has dramatic views of 300 feet towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes peaks. Rufus Cable, a surveyor, first saw these gigantic towering fins of rock formation near Pikes Peaks back in 1859 and with great excitement he declared that it was a perfect place for the Gods to assemble. From here on, it is known as Garden of the Gods.
There is NO entrance fee for both the park and Visitor & Nature Center. The park opens daily from 9am to 5pm except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year’s Day. The Visitor & Nature center have wonderful exhibits that explain the history of this beautiful natural landscape. The park offers hiking trails, rock climbing, scenic driving, biking, and horseback riding. Allow at least 2 hours to stroll on some pretty trails that take you between the towering Gateway Rock Formations and into the heart of the Park. There are 21 miles of trails to explore and free trail maps are available at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center information desk.
These photos are from our visit to Garden of the Gods on October 1st, 2019. We stopped and spent a couple of hours at the park on our way to Denver. It is worth visiting if you are around Denver or Colorado Springs area.
Mt Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved byway in North America that climbs more than 7,000 feet in just 28 miles. This scenic byway passes through different climate zones and reaches an altitude of 14,130 feet. The 60 mile one way road trip from Denver takes up to 2 to 3 hours with many zig-zags, hair raising hairpin curves, sudden drop offs, and stomach churning twists up the mountain summit. Driving on Mt Evans road is somewhat adventurous and terrific, but is definitely a thrilling and memorable experience. When the clouds are rolling, it creates an illusion of driving on the clouds like flying cars. This exciting drive up to Mt Evans summit offers the breathtaking views of Mount Evans peaks, the highest peak in the Mt Evans wilderness area in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains along with sparkling alpine lakes, massive granite walls, ancient bristlecone pine, and carpet of seasonal wildflowers.
These photos are from our drive up to Mount Evans on 30th September, 2019. Although the summer brings the best of the summit with breathtaking views of gorgeous lakes in the backgrounds of snow capped peaks and colorful wildflowers valleys, we thoroughly enjoyed our drive.
Quick Facts and Tips for driving up
- Best time to visit: Late May to early September
- Fly Into: Denver International Airport which is approximately 84 miles away
- Mount Evans Scenic Byway is generally open from Memorial Day to Labor Day depending on weather conditions.
- The Mount Evans Byway starts at the beautiful Echo Lake and climbs 14 miles to the summit
- Snow can fall at any time, even in the summer. Dress in layers and bring jackets
- Be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms
- The road can get over crowded on summer weekends with cars and bikes. Avoid weekends and start early for best views and more elbow room.
- The road is narrow, has no guardrails, no shoulder and there are serious drop-offs and hairpin turns. Drive with caution, follow speed limits and traffic
- There is a $10 fee to drive up to summit and additional $5 to park at Summit Lake
- Watch for Mountain goats and bighorn sheeps which are often spotted along the road
- Summit: Summit is at 14000 feet elevation. A short hike to the actual summit from the parking lot offers magnificent views of the mountain peaks, sparking lakes, and jagged aspen valley
- Summit Lake. Take a short trail from the parking lot to a spectacular viewpoint. The trails offer a stunning sparkling lake surrounded by seasonal wildflowers or orange hue alpine thunda with a snow capped peaks in the backdrop
- Mount Goliath Natural Area: The trail winds across tundra, purple fringe, and trunks of the bristlecone pine trees.
- Walter Pesman Alpine Garden lookout: Offers massive view of 1,700-year-old Bristlecone pines
- Echo Lake: There are some nice trails that offer the gorgeous views of the lake and surrounding peaks. There are picnic tables, restrooms, and an authentic log building Echo Lake Lodge