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Old 10-04-2011, 09:54 AM
 
808 posts, read 1,175,440 times
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GOTG Park is lovely, but can seem rather touristy at times (not that there's anything wrong with that!). By far, my favorite hike/walk in that area is across Highway 24 in Red Rock Canyon Park - called the Contemplative Trail. Amazing. Contemplative Trail by osm from Colorado Hikes - Hiking, Manitou Springs, CO, United States
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:16 PM
Status: "Goodbye fall ... hello winter" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Manitou Springs
924 posts, read 1,030,423 times
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The roads into and through Garden of the Gods are always open, and though there are set hours, you're right, nothing prevents you from driving through - dusk is one of my favorite times ... all the critters are out and about getting dinner. The visitors center isn't even really "in" the Garden.

Ditto to lunch at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post ... the food is quite good.

There is lots of great hiking in the Garden, with trails all over the place. Lots of maps online for that info. For more "real" Colorado hiking you should check out Cheyenne and Bear Creek Canyons.

Lots of great eateries in Manitou. The above-mentioned, plus the Spice of Life (get a box lunch there to take up the Peak with you), The Loop, and for really great burgers The Keg is not to be missed - their bleu cheese burgers are soooo good.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:50 AM
 
Location: 80904 West siiiiiide!
2,864 posts, read 7,095,361 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_hug99 View Post
Garden of the Gods is open from 5a.m. to 11p.m during the summer and 5a.m. to 9p.m. in the winter. City of Colorado Springs - Park Hours & Rules

That said, there aren't gates to stop you.

How long it takes depends on what you want to do. If you want to just do the central garden, it can be done in an hour or so. I like the Palmer trail that gives you nice views of the park from different angles. If you are really into hiking you can take that all the way to other trails in the southern end of the park. I usually do Palmer to the Central Garden trail, then get in my car to the Siamese Twins Trail, then back in the car to see Balanced Rock, and drive around some of the other scenic places. I also hike with my daughter, so four miles is about our limit.

A very good hike if you want to spend many many hours is Palmer trail to Scotsman to Central Garden.

You can see more trails and the rock formation highlights at Garden of the Gods - Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Visitor's Center is neat, but it isn't completely necessary. Do go to the Trading Post though. Mike's comment to eat in Manitou is spot on. Take the exit from the park from Balanced Rock into Manitou. I personally love the Loop. Adam's Mountain Cafe is excellent.
Yea I was just gonna say that. I've rode my motorcycle through there at 3 am. There are no gates to stop you from going in.
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