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In Pictures: ‘A capital place for a biergarten’ in Colorado Springs
By Tom Adkinson
April 7, 2023

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A Colorado surveyor in 1859, stunned by the beauty of massive stone formations on a tract of land, declared it would be “a capital place for a biergarten.” His companion countered that it was a “fit place for the Gods to assemble” and suggested it be called the Garden of the Gods. William Jackson Palmer, who founded Colorado Springs, bought 240 acres of that land and later added acreage, but he never built a home, a biergarten or anything on it. He left it in its natural state for the public to enjoy, and after his death in 1907, his family honored that sentiment by giving 480 acres to the Colorado Springs for use as a public park. Access is free, and the park now covers 1,367 acres.

Work on the park began 2.5 million years ago

garden of the gods
Geologists say the 19 massive sedimentary rock formations that are the hallmark of the Garden of the Gods began forming more than 2.5 million years ago as ancient mountains were created, ocean waters came and went and more mountains pushed upward. Image by Tom Adkinson

No need to zip past the scenery

garden of the gods car
Park managers say you could zip through the park’s winding roads in about 20 minutes if other vehicles or wildlife don’t slow you down, but that would be a foolish visit. Image by Tom Adkinson

Rolling along on a Segway

segway tour
Asphalt roads, paved paths and gravel trails wind through the Garden of the Gods. Segway tours provide an unusual perspective on the scenery. Image by Tom Adkinson

Whose profile is that?

weather eroded rock formations
The wind- and weather-eroded rock formations sometimes take on shapes that are easy to imagine as something other than geologic oddities. Can you see someone’s jutting profile here? Image by Tom Adkinson

A place of peace

native americans holy ground
Native Americans – Apache, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa, Lakota, Pawnee, Shoshone and Ute – appreciated the Garden of the Gods and treated it as neutral turf. Park literature says they respected the site as holy ground. Image by Tom Adkinson

At the trading post

native american pottery
The Garden of the Gods Trading Post has been an attraction itself since 1929. It features a substantial inventory of Native American art from throughout the Southwest, including these pottery pieces from Navajo artist Mireille Gilmore. Image by Tom Adkinson

Trip-planning resources: and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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