If you go to Colorado, you need to visit the Garden of the Gods. If you land in Denver, Colorado, or near Colorado Spring, this should be a must stop. If it a free park to visit which is even better. I recommend getting there for the sunrise it is unbelievable.
I went for the sunrise when I solo traveled to Colorado in November 2017. Here is my experience of going to Garden of the Gods for sunrise.
Background to Garden of the Gods:
It is said and is on the park's website, the land got its name in 1859 when surveyors were sent to evaluate the land and said it would be a “capital place for a beer garden.” His friend responded by saying, “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.” The name has stuck since!
Could you imagine if this was someone's vacation home? Well, the land before becoming a state park was going to be someone’s vacation home. Thankfully, he never built the home and it became a public park for us all to enjoy.
The town of Colorado Spring was founded in 1871 because the railroads were making their way west. The Denver and the Rio Grande Railroad lines merged, they met in Colorado Springs.
Charles Elliot Perkins a railroad man and head of the Burlington Railroad. He was urged by his friend General Palmer to make a home for himself at Gardens of the Gods. While doing that, he could make a railroad line from Chicago to Colorado Springs.
Perkins was won over, bought the land and created the railroad line, but never built on the property. The natural beauty of this park was left untouched. Perkins passed in 1909 and the land was public and is free to this day by Perkins's wish.
How to Visit for Sunrise:
If you input the Visitor Center of the Garden of the Gods, it is across N 30th Street from the structures. Keep that in mind when planning your trip. When visiting the Garden of the Gods I went for sunrise.
Going for the sunrise, you’ll be amazed seeing these black landscape figures to a burning red-orange. It is magnificent!
I recommend you stay on the path. One thing I missed arriving in the dark, signs warning about rattlesnakes! Thankfully I did not encounter any, however, that could have been aided by the large running group that was there before me to scare them off.
I visited in November of 2019 which meant the sunrise is later in the morning than if it was in the summer. I got there around 6:45 AM and it still started but a glow was beginning and there is a paved parking area.
From the parking lot, there are paved paths around the iconic monuments that people know and desire to visit.
I solo traveled from my hotel in Denver to drive an hour and ten minutes to the Garden of the Gods. The sunrise was about 7:30 AM. I left my hotel around 5:30 AM to be safe for my arrival time at the park.
When planning a sunrise hike or visit, there is a lot of research that goes into planning. First and foremost, check the sunrise time. Add about a buffer of 20 minutes to arrive before the sunset. You will also want to check if it will be clear in the morning. If both of those are yes, you can get into the nitty-gritty.
Getting the sunrise time, next you need to calculate drive time, also buffer time in case you get lost. Then a simple way to help yourself out in the morning lay out everything you need! This will help yourself to not forget anything. Another is either sleeping in what you’ll wear or having it all laid out.
Now that you’ve done all your logistic prep work, sleep!
In the morning it will create one step to get your stuff all prepped to go. From the hotel there was a little over an hour's drive, this was the perfect time to snack on a bar and banana for breakfast. Also to get hydrated!
Arriving at the Garden of the Gods, I put in the visitor center location as I said, this is across the street. Since it was dark out it was a bit difficult to figure out where to go.
Thankfully there was a free map that helped me figure out that the Visitor Center is on one side of N 30th Street. I then crossed N 30th street and went on Gateway to Juniper Way Loop which is the popular walking trail.
Juniper Way Loop is where the iconic rock figures people mainly take photos of. When you pull up to the parking lot, the first figure is called Kissing Camel. When you pull in for the sunrise all the landmarks will be dark which adds to a beautiful contrast.
I recommend taking the path to the right. The stone figures in front of you add so much to the sunrise. It will come between the Kissing Camels and you will see the stone go from a black to darker red to a light orange as the sun gets lighter.
It is tempting to just wander, but I recommend staying here to enjoy the view. As the sun begins to rise, have your camera ready! Take your time walking this space. You will be thankful you did.
Once the sun is fully up walking the walking paths is made easier. There are many trails here. I, unfortunately, had a flight to catch so I could not wander for very long.
As a solo traveler, it can be challenging getting photos of yourself where you’re visiting. Thankfully this is a pretty popular spot and people were in the space and willing to snap photos for you.
Most people appreciate getting a photo with a sign of a park they’ve visited or a climb they’ve completed. Going through the entrance I went there is no sign to enter the park. You will need to drive down and leave the park via Garden Drive to get to the sign. It is a sign on the smaller side but you get to also pass this other major attraction, Balanced Rock.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my trip to the Garden of the Gods. If you have any questions about the area please email me at
If I had more time here are some hikes or spot I recommend checking out:
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
The trail to Siamese twins
Where to Stay:
Facts & Attractions of Garden of the Gods:
Garden of the Gods is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Denver is the capital of Colorado
American currency is in American dollars and cents
The area is known for its hiking and adventure seekers
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my trip to Garden of the Gods. If you have any questions about the area please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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