Garden of the Gods visitors have a new educational amenity to enjoy, following the launch of a free self-guided audio tour offering insight into the park’s geology and human history.
The tour, which can be accessed via a free app, is narrated by the archeologist for the city of Colorado Springs, the manager and administrator of the park, park rangers and other park personnel.
The park, a national natural landmark, attracts an estimated four million visitors annually, lured by vertical 300-foot orange sandstone formations that emerged at the foot of Pikes Peak 65 million years ago through tectonic forces. They are reminiscent of Red Rocks Park in Morrison and Roxborough State Park in Littleton. Human history in the park began at least 3,000 years ago and it is considered sacred by Utes.
“Three of North America’s major ecosystems converge within the park boundaries,” a web page associated with the audio tour notes.
“The prairie grasslands of the Great Plains meet the dry woodlands of the American Southwest and merge with the evergreen forests of the Rocky Mountains. The park is known as a cultural crossroads where American Indians, early explorers, ‘Pikes Peak or Bust’ gold-seekers, homesteaders and health seekers all were drawn to the red rock formations that mark the dramatic meeting place of the Great Plains with the Rocky Mountains,” it continues.
Visitors are encouraged to download the TravelStorysGPS app before arriving at the park because stories begin playing automatically after users enter the park. Hands-free narration pauses when they stop and resumes as they continue their drives. It can be downloaded for free in the App Store or Google Play.
A special fun event is coming to the park on Saturday night when the park remains open only for cyclists, runners and walkers. The annual Starlight Spectacular takes place under the stars from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. with participants donning glow-in-the-dark gear. Flashlights, headlamps and bike lights are required. There will be a costume contest. Registration fee is $37.
The Garden of the Gods is located three miles northwest of downtown Colorado Springs. Admission is free and reservations are not required. The park is open daily from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.
It was recently named by Tripadvisor as the ninth best attraction worldwide and second best attraction in the U.S.