Colorado’s Garden of the Gods is a national treasure. Its 300 rock formations are registered as a National Natural Landmark. Then adding to the glorious wonder is the impressive Pikes Peak, with its perfect snow-cap lingering in the background. Consequently, the area is a bucket list for many, even non-hikers. But how long should you budget for a visit?
Most people take 2-3 hours to hike the Garden of the Gods in Colorado. However, you can easily do the shortest route in under 30 minutes, then spend another half-hour driving to see more. But with the gift shop and visitor’s center, most folks find themselves spending 4-6 hours on the outing.
Visiting The Garden of the Gods is not, for most people, about hiking. In fact, many hikers that love this area and live fairly local don’t consider a visit to this special place as hiking but a fulfilling walk. They come to enjoy the natural beauty and wonder, clear their heads, and relax. It isn’t about “getting it done” but savoring the pleasure of being there for a few hours.
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Length To Hike Garden Of The Gods’ Top 5
The Garden of the Gods has 21 miles of trails, with many of the official routes crossing each other, allowing people to customize their own unique hike. Thus, how long you spend hiking around is, in many ways, under your own control. If you are pressed for time, you can get away with spending as little as half an hour. However, most enjoy a 2-3 wander.
The park is open from 5 am – 9 am during the winter months of Nov 1 – April 30 and 5 am – 10 pm during the summer months of May 1 – Oct 31. But the visitor center hours are 9 am – 5 pm in winter and 5 am – 6 pm in summer.
Please note the distances we give for the trails are from the official Garden of the Gods website, and these may disagree with other reputable hiking sites.
Ridge Trail: Garden Of The Gods
Length: .5 miles
The Ridge trail is the shortest of the trails but has stairs, so it isn’t accessible for wheelchair users or strollers. It sits outside the main garden, thus isn’t a popular trail, but it has excellent views.
Parents of small ones like it as kids have fun climbing over small rocks and running around. It also has fewer people, making running children no big deal.
Siamese Twins Trail: Garden Of The Gods
Length: 1 mile (round trip)
The Siamese Twins Trail is another short one with an Instagram-worthy Pikes Peak view, framed by the twins’ natural “window.” The rise on this walk is less than 150 feet, so not difficult. However, it has stairs and is not suitable for wheelchair users or strollers.
Perkins Central Garden Trail: Garden Of The Gods
Length: 1.5 miles
Perkins Central Garden Trail is the park’s showpiece and is incredibly accessible. It is an easy walk, with less than a 30-foot increase in elevation, and it is gradual enough and maintained so well that wheelchair users can do the route.
Scotsman / Buckskin Charlie Trail: Garden Of The Gods
Length: 1.5 miles
Scotsman /Buckskin Charlie Trail provides views of the garden from the southwest side. It is a rolling trail and rocky, so those requiring smoother surfaces should avoid this one. However, it is not hectic, nor does it require any skill, just good ankles, and sure footing.
Chambers / Beretag / Palmer: Garden Of The Gods
Length: .3 miles
Chambers / Beretag / Palmer trail is a relaxing and moderate walk loop around most of the park. It takes most people an hour to complete. It is the perfect walk for those that want to stretch their legs, enjoy scenic views, and encounter as few people as possible.
How Long Is Colorado’s Garden Of The Gods’ Scenic Drive?
There is a popular drive that contains a loop around the Central Garden that is under 6 miles long. It is not a fast drive, as people park alongside the road and many pedestrians and cyclists are about. Oh, and you’re looking at the stunning views. So despite the short distance, it can easily take over 20 minutes, depending on the crowds.
How Long Is A Visit To Colorado’s Garden Of The Gods’?
It’s advised to block 4-6 hours when visiting the Garden of the Gods. Unless local, this isn’t a glance-and-go type of place.
As we mentioned, people easily spend 2-3 hours just walking around the park. Then even the short scenic drive could eat up as much as a half-an-hour. Finding parking can also be tricky, sometimes taking up as much as another 10-20 minutes. You’ll also need to budget time if you plan on having a picnic at one of the many tables in the area.
Lastly, you have two other big time-eaters: Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center and Garden of the Gods Trading Post.
How Long To Visit The Garden Of The Gods Visitor Center?
Folks visiting the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center for the first time should budget 30-60 minutes.
The Center provides:
- Exhibits, such as a wildlife display
- The Geo-Trekker Theater
- Observation deck
- Café with a fantastic view
- Gift shop
How Long To Visit The Garden Of The Gods Trading Post?
The Trading Post at the Garden of the Gods is where people spend 30 – 60 minutes and a fair chunk of money. It is filled with quality art, books, jewelry, and clothing. There is food and more common gift shop trinkets, too. The place is well laid out, and just staring at the wooden beams in the ceiling is nice.
How Much Does It Cost To Hike Garden Of The Gods?
Garden of the Gods does not charge for admission into the park or the visitor’s center. However, for a small fee, you can participate in their Self-Guided Hiking Program or join one of their Guided Tours.
Also, commercial permits must be obtained if you wish to do anything as a business, including bringing a commercial bus tour, holding an art workshop, or leading a yoga class.
Those part of a tour, such as rock climbing or biking, you must arrange through the establishment. However, anyone with their own equipment, such as a bicycle, must check in with the visitor’s center first to be updated on the current regulations, including which trails are marked for bike use. However, there is currently no fee.
The park does, gratefully, accept donations.
Walking around the Garden of the Gods can be as brief or long of an outing as you wish it to be. The shortest official route takes people an average of 30 minutes. However, most people will spend 2-3 hours wandering the various trails and taking photographs. Also, keep in mind that the whole outing takes 4 – 6 hours for a typical visitor.