Garden of the Gods


Garden of the Gods

:"For the Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois, see Shawnee National Forest. For Hawaii, see Lanai."

Infobox_protected_area | name = Garden of the Gods
iucn_category = III



caption = Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado
location = El Paso county in Colorado, USA
nearest_city = Colorado Springs, Colorado
lat_degrees = 38
lat_minutes = 52
lat_seconds = 23
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 104
long_minutes = 53
long_seconds = 10
long_direction = W
area = convert|3300|acre|ha|abbr=on
established = 1909
governing_body = Colorado Springs, Colorado

Garden of the Gods is a public park located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

Genesis of the park

Entrance to the park is free according to the wish of Charles Elliott Perkins, whose children donated the land to the city of Colorado Springs in 1909.

Recreational opportunities

It contains numerous trails for hiking, walking, mountain biking and horseback riding. One of the most popular trails, named Perkins, has been paved in an effort to combat the erosion of the park's central garden caused by its numerous visitors. Visitors receive frequent reminders to watch out for rattlesnakes in the hot days of summer.

Because of the unusual and steep rock formations in the park, it is an attractive goal for rock climbers. Rock climbing is permitted, with annual permit obtained at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. The only requirements are reading the rules, proper equipment, climbing with a "buddy", and staying on established climbing routes. Due to the sometimes unstable condition of the sandstone—particularly after a great deal of precipitation—several fatalities have occurred over the years. This is a very popular bicycle-riding area because of the scenic views, safe one-way recently-paved roads, and healthy clean air.

Geological formations

The outstanding geologic features of the park are the ancient sedimentary beds of red and white sandstones, conglomerates and limestone that were deposited horizontally, but have now been tilted vertically and faulted by the immense mountain building forces caused by the uplift of the Pikes Peak massif. Evidence of past ages; ancient seas, eroded remains of ancestral mountain ranges, alluvial fans, sandy beaches and great sand dune fields can be read in the rocks. A spectacular shear fault can be observed where the Tower of Babel (Lyons Sandstone) contacts the Fountain Formation. [ [http://www.gardenofthegods.com Garden of the Gods - Colorado Springs, Colorado ] ] The name "Colorado" is said to come from the color of the sandstone. There are many fossils to be seen: marine forms, plant fossils, and some dinosaur fossils.

The hogbacks, so named because they resemble the backs and spines of a pig, are ridges of sandstone whose layers are tilted. Instead of lying horizontally, some layers are even vertically oriented. Each hogback can range up to several hundred feet long, and the tallest (called North Gateway Rock) rises to a height of convert|320|ft|m tall [ [http://www.experiencecoloradosprings.com/travel.asp?pageid=17%7C57%7C113%7C155 Garden of the Gods ] ] . A notable rock feature on this hogback, the "Kissing Camels", appears to be two very large camels sitting face to face with their lips touching. The hump on the northern-most camel broke off from erosion and heavy climbing.

Nearby attractions

Near the entrance to the park is Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, a recreation of rustic ranch of the late 1800s. The walking tour features a restored ranch house, demonstrations of smithing and facts about Native American activity in the area, including a small recreation of a Native American campsite. Unlike Garden of the Gods, Rock Ledge Ranch charges a small entrance fee.

Also nearby is the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center, proceeds from which support the Garden of the Gods Park. The center provides useful information for the experienced hiker as well as the armchair tourist.

The name

The name of the park dates back to August 1859 when two surveyors helping to set up nearby Colorado City were exploring the nearby areas. Upon discovering the site, one of the surveyors, M. S. Beach, suggested that it would be a "capital place for a beer garden." His companion, the young Rufus Cable, awestruck by the impressive rock formations, exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods." The beer garden never materialized, but the name stuck. [ [http://www.gardenofgods.com/education/index_175.cfm Garden Of The Gods | Education | Park History ] ]

In 2006 a dinosaur species discovered there, was named after the park: "Theiophytalia kerri".

Photos

>
hogback formations
Steamboat Rock in the late 1950's
[http://www.gardenofgods.com/parkinfo/index_107.cfm Garden of the Gods - Photography] ] ]

References

External links

* [http://www.gardenofgods.com/ Official Garden of the Gods website]


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