Colorado Springs Icons: 7 Ways to See Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak
If you’re looking for the best ways to explore Garden of the Gods Park and Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, this list has you covered.
Whether on horseback or train, in a car, on a bike or on foot, make the most of your visit with these seven unforgettable ways to see these famed natural wonders of Colorado Springs.
1. Hiking Barr Trail to the Summit of Pikes Peak
The well-traveled Barr Trail begins in Manitou Springs and ascends to the summit of Pikes Peak, an imposing 4,300-meter-high mountain known as "America's Mountain" and popular with hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners. There’s a stop at Barr Trail Camp at 3,100 meters that leads to the final climb – and an unbeatable view of Colorado Springs, the Rocky Mountains and beyond.
A scenic hike throughout, the Barr Trail is especially rewarding in its higher reaches toward the Pikes Peak summit.
2. Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway
The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway travels from Manitou Springs through spruce and pine forests, waterfalls, fascinating rock structures and open fields to the top of Pikes Peak. Kick up the adventure factor with Challenge Unlimited’s Cog Up/Bike Down tour, which will book the train trip to the summit and provide mountain bikes for a thrilling downhill return on the paved Pikes Peak Highway.
Ride The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway through the scenic aspen groves.
3. Driving & Cycling the Pikes Peak Highway
Take it at your own pace by car or bike, and choose your favorite stops along the Pikes Peak Highway, a 31-kilometer road from the base to the peak of America’s Mountain. When you go through the ranger toll booth, ask to purchase the audio tour – it’s a narrated tour on CD to play during your drive to the top. Take some time to stop at Crystal Reservoir to hike, fish and snap a few pictures.
The Pikes Peak Highway allows visitors to reach the fabled peak by car or bicycle.
4. Horseback Riding in Garden of the Gods
Imagine discovering the enormous 150-meter high, red-and-pink sandstone sculptures of Garden of the Gods the same way pioneers did more than a century ago. Academy Riding Stables offers one- and two-hour horseback tours that include photo ops of the park’s most recognizable landmarks.
Horseback riding through Garden of the Gods is a uniquely Western way to see its iconic formations.
5. Jeep and Segway Tours
For maximum Garden of the Gods scenery, a Jeep or Segway tour is the way to go. The experienced Jeep drivers at Adventures Out West will take you through old train tunnels, back roads and scenic overlooks while offering fascinating historical details. A Segway tour in the park is ideal for a low-key day out in this phenomenal National Natural Landmark.
While many people opt to hike, a Segway tour through Garden of the Gods allows you to cover more scenery in less time.
6. 1909 Bus Tour of Garden of the Gods
This trolley tour is affordable and fun for the entire family. Climb aboard an open-air vintage trolley and get a historical overview of the park and the famous rock formations. Check out the visitor center for an exciting time-travel movie experience and high-tech interactive exhibits. Refuel at Café of the Garden, complete with spectacular views of Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
Explore Garden of the Gods like visitors did more than 100 years ago in this vintage trolley.
7. Cycling Through the Sandstone Towers
Garden of the Gods Park is a great cycling destination with winding roads, fantastic scenery and limitless pull-offs to enjoy the views. There are three options, 4K, 6.3K and 8.5K loops, for those who want to train on the park’s roads.
Colorado Springs can be reached via Colorado Springs Airport (COS), which is 19 kilometers from downtown. Fly from global locations to Denver International Airport (DEN), and take a connecting flight or rental car to drive just one hour south to Colorado Springs.