Garden of the Gods is a public park located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, US. It was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1971. The Garden of the Gods is famous for horseback riding, technical rock climbing, hiking, technical rock climbing, and road and mountain biking. It attracts more than 2 million visitors a year, making it the cities most visited Park. It is also the host of various annual events including summer running races, recreational bike rides, and pro cycling challenge prologue. The main trail in the park, the 1.5 miles Perkins central garden trail is paved and wheelchair accessible which begins at the north parking lot.
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To know about the history of the Garden of the Gods it is important to understand the geological formations. The red rock formations of the park were created during a geological upheaval along a natural fault line millions of years ago. Helen Hunt Jackson wrote of the park, “You wind among rocks of every conceivable and inconceivable shape and size.. all bright and red, all motionless and silent, with a strange look of having been just stopped and held back in the very climax of some supernatural catastrophe.”
The outstanding geological features of the park are the ancient sedimentary beds of deep red, pink and white sandstones, conglomerates and limestone. It offers a mesmerizing view to be witnessed. These rocks were deposited horizontally but now have bee tilted vertically by the immense mountain building forces caused by the uplift of the Rocky Mountains. The resulting rocks had different shapes: toppled, overturned, stood-up, pushed around and slanted. Balanced Rock, composed of the fountain formation, is a combination of coarse sand, gravel, silica, and hematite. It is the hematite that gives the large balanced rock its red hue. The Garden of the Gods Park is a rich ecological resource. The park is home to more than 1130 species of birds including white-throated swifts, swallows and canyon wrens. Mule deer, big horned sheep, and fox are common in the park.
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The Garden of the Gods visitor and nature center offers the view of the park. A short movie, How did those red rocks get there? runs every 20 minutes. Natural history exhibits include minerals, geology plants, and local wildlife, as well as Native Americans who visited the park. Programs include nature hikes and talks, narrated bus tours, movies, educational programs, and special programs. Known for scenic and recreational opportunities dramatic views, 300-foot towering sandstone rock formation against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak all make it a great recommendation to visit the park. The award-winning gift shops at the visitor and nature center offer Native American pottery and jewelry, geology gift, books, apparel, and keepsakes. Plan your amazing Colorado Springs today and have endless fun. Watch the sunrise over the magnificent and otherworldly rock formations and make your day well worth it.