If there is one place in the US I want to return to one day, it has to be the Garden of the Gods park. This park is located in Colorado and it is definitely one of the most memorable and stunning places I have been to in recent years. So here are photos and stories from our days of hiking around the magnificent Garden of the Gods park.
Imagine the warm rays of sunshine in the early morning. You are driving on the busy multi-laned roads of the US and then around the corner seeing a red peak. And then another and then another. Then in the midst of them there is a gray peak. And then more red. It is an astonishing sight. Those rocks that rose from the ground million years ago took my breath away. I remember feeling lost for words and being astounded by the scenery opening before my eyes.
Garden of the Gods works for all ages
We actually visited the park twice during our stay in Colorado. That’s how beautiful it was. On the first day we stayed on the “front” side. This side is near the Visitor centre and the paths are wide and well-maintained so everyone can enjoy their day. On this day we visited the park in the early morning whilst the sun was rising. In the summertime Colorado gets really hot during the day which is why we tested the park in the morning hours. We marveled at the rock formations and returned back to the car in few hours. Our first visit to the park wasn’t much of a hike rather than a leisurely stroll but it was lovely regardless. But on our second visit we hiked.
Hiking in Garden of the Gods
Our second day roaming the park was full of adventure. We hiked for 6 hours and for around 10 kilometres, or somewhere around 6,25 miles(ish, I guess). There are various maps for the Garden of the Gods park. The maps inside the park are somewhat confusing (and so are the maps that you can print) so we went hiking with an open mind and we were prepared to roam around a little. And we did get lost a few times. But that is no news when it comes to me. We covered the Ute, Niobrara, Scotsman, Strausenback, Balanced Rock and Central Garden trails. And probably few others whilst trying to find our way around the park.
There are various routes around the park that one can trail. Some routes are easy and some tougher. On some you walk on the fields on flat ground and on other routes you hike up and down amongst the rock formations. One thing is certain though. If you hike for 6 hours in midday, in summertime, in Colorado, you will be sweaty and tired by the end of your hike.
Tips for a day of hiking in Garden of the Gods park
- Remember to take water and other liquids
We packed water into our bags and also had a bottle of lemonade. Hiking in heat is exhausting and it is smart to have something else than just water as you also need more than water to maintain energy whilst hiking in the Garden of the Gods park. A snack is also not a bad idea to keep up the spirits!
- Pick an earlier rather than a later time
We hiked once at 7am and once at 11am. 11am is definitely doable but it is a lot tougher to hike around in scorching sun when you could hike in the warmth of morning sunrays. So if you have the chance to decide pick an later time.
- Sun cream is a must!
In the summer it is really warm, regardless of the time of day. Which is why you NEED to protect your skin. And keep applying more throughout your hike.
- Get to know the routes
The park is huge! We were not prepared for the size which is why we spent a lot of time getting lost. If you are on a time frame and don’t like being lost like I do then you should prepare ahead and plan routes and places you want to see.
- Cover your head
Your head is directly below the sun during your hike so you want to protect your brain from over heating. It is already doing a lot trying to keep you from getting lost or dying of dehydration by reminding you to drink so don’t stress it out by not covering you head during you summer hike.
Greetings from the mule deer
One of my favourite memories was seeing a mule deer up close. The park is huge and you can see a lot of wildlife around. During our hike we saw some small lizards, various kinds of butterflies, birds and I even saw a hummingbird very briefly. But as we were journeying back through the Central Garden we were greeted by few mule deers who had come to eat just next to the buzzing walk paths. These animals seemed unbothered by our existence and we wanted to let them roam and eat in peace so we all took our photos from a decent distance.
Mule deers are indigenous to North America and its name comes from its noticeable ears. When mule deers move they prefer stotting over running. These animals were truly the cherry on the top of the cake.
Beer garden to remember
Incredibly enough this amazing park got its name after few men believed the park was a worthy place for even Gods to gather. Garden of the Gods is a place I would like to return to. As there was still many miles and kilometres uncovered during our days of hiking. And I would like to find more odd places to take silly photos in.
The US has never been on my bucket list. But now at least the nature has won some part of me over and I want to see more. Do you have a favourite park to see/hike in the US? Tell me in the comments!
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