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Garden of the Gods Loop

Easy/Intermediate
  4.1 ( 45 ) Favorite

Trail

4.0 mile 6.5 kilometer loop
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 414' 126 m
Descent: -414' -126 m
High: 6,588' 2,008 m
Low: 6,291' 1,918 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)

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Map Key

A longer loop in this spectacular area allows hikers to take in the highlights without the crowds.

Mikhaila Redovian

Features Fall Colors · Views

Family Friendly With incredible variety of trail and many options to shorten/extend your route, this loop will delight visitors young and old!

Park hours:
May 1- October 31: 5am - 11pm
November 1 - April 30: 5am - 9pm

Overview

It is very easy to customize a loop of any distance you might want to undertake in Garden of the Gods. With many trail options to choose from, you can change the route to suit your needs, while exploring a (somewhat) less-crowded area of the park. No matter which route you choose, you'll still be afforded views of the various famous rock formations along the way. The combination of vibrant red rock, beautiful trail, and scenic stopping points make this a lovely loop in the Colorado Springs area.

Description

Starting at the main parking lot, cross the road and hop on the Palmer Trail. You can go clockwise or counter- clockwise, the hills and obstacles will be fairly similar in difficulty in whichever direction you choose. This route begins by following the Palmer Trail as it meanders first west and then south. You'll enjoy the well-maintained trail as it brings you ever closer to the Three Graces formation, and the Giant Footprints shortly after.

Continue south, taking in the views until the Scotsman Formation comes into view. Here, you'll cross the road to head towards the Scotsman Trail, and the rock formation of the same name. There's also a picnic area in the vicinity with restrooms available in the summer months. Keep right/south at a fork in the trail, and you'll soon pass Hamp Hut. Owned by the Girl Scouts of Colorado, the hut is a fun stopping point where you may catch a glimpse of Girl Scouts practicing their camping skills. Continue on the Hamp Trail, and the Eastern Hamp Trail to continue the tour of the park.

You'll make a right onto the Buckskin Charley Trail, which leads visitors on a winding route among open pine stands, and through meadows before crossing Juniper Way Loop to connect with the Niobrara Trail. The Niobrara Trail defines the Southeastern boundary of the park, providing hikers with some spectacular views of the prominent rock features that lay to the north. Eventually, this trail will turn to the north, to start the journey back to your vehicle. Please be aware the mountain bikes are permitted on this section of trail.

As you continue north, you'll be afforded incredible views of the Sleeping Giant, Gray Rock, and the Cathedral Spires. The trail is quite gentle, providing you with plenty of time to look up nd admire the view. Eventually, you'll take a short connector trail to the Ute Trail to continue heading north. At this point, most of the rock formations that you were admiring from afar have transitioned into the foreground, and you'll likely be glued to the western views in this portion of trail!

As you continue on, you'll eventually cross Gateway Road, where you'll catch the Susan G. Bretag Trail. From here, almost all of the most famous rock formations can be seen to the west, including the White Rock with Signature Rock behind it, as well as the Kissing Camels, and North Gateway Rock. Since you'll be nearing the parking area that you started from, there will likely be more visitors in this section. Luckily, the red rock formations, open prairie, and blue Colorado sky provide ample scenery for all. Eventually the Susan G. Bretag Trail transitions to the Palmer Trail, which you'll only follow for a short while to return to the parking area.

There are many opportunities to cross the road into the main paved trails of the park if you need to bail for whatever reason. Most of the trails in the park are very well marked and maintained, but some trails in this area can become a little obscure and less traveled. If you do get lost, however, the main rock formations are pretty much always visible, so just find a trail that goes toward them, and you'll find your way back to the parking lot.

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Check-Ins

Aug 22, 2019
Leah Wachowski
Aug 10, 2019
Michael Warren
Great hike. A little tricky staying on correct trail near Girl Scout building, but not too bad
Jul 6, 2019
Colten Janssen-Olsen
Jul 1, 2019
Kelley Harper
It's VERY busy in summer and once you're on the loop rd you're stuck so just park at the entrance. This loop avoids the crowds on a weekday. 4.9mi — 1h 52m
Jun 24, 2019
Dee Livingston
Did with members of my team, while on TDY training. glad I got a chance to see this area. 4mi
Jun 22, 2019
Samuel Canuto
4mi — 3h 00m
Jun 16, 2019
Andy M
4.2mi — 2h 20m
May 28, 2019
Kale Rogers

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 45 votes

#178

Overall
  4.1 from 45 votes
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Featured Hike Rankings

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in Colorado

#178

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