A Local’s Guide to Garden of the Gods


garden of the gods coloradoGarden of the Gods is one of the top tourist spots in Colorado. How awesome is it that we, as locals, get to live so close and enjoy this beautiful park?  I love that we can go beyond what tourists normally see, hike the less traveled trails and cherish the less seen sights.

Our family has some favorite hikes at Garden of the Gods that will
take you off the tourist path and may just let you experience some new views.

garden of the gods csmbSiamese Twins: This hike takes you back off the road as you wind back towards these unique rock formations. We often sit at the  base of these twins for a snack break and picture opportunity. This is an easy 1 mile loop.

How to Get There:  There is a small parking lot at the bottom of the Siamese Twins trail.  You’ll look for the Cabin Canyon Parking/Trail turn off from Garden Drive.  We have only parked here once as it rarely has spots open.  If it does though, you will have easy access to the Siamese Twins trail thus making this an even shorter hike.  If there are no spots here, follow Garden Drive around past the Trading Post and look for the Spring Canyon South Picnic Area. Then, follow the Strausenback trail north across the open field and across the street to the Siamese Twins Trail loop.

Strausenback Trail: We sometimes hike this in a loop, but it can get a bit long. Often we just hike to the top to see the stunning view, and then back down the same trail.  Due to the hilly nature of this trail, I’d say it’s a moderate hike. However, if you’re just going up and down- it’s pretty short in length. Don’t forget your camera: the 360 degree view at the top is pretty spectacular.

How to get theregarden of the gods csmb2:
For this hike we would ideally park in the Spring Canyon South Picnic Area or if it’s busy, we park at the Trading Post just before the picnic area. The Trading Post has more parking than the picnic area. We often opt for walking from the Trading post to the trail for the nearly guaranteed parking spot there, along with the ability to take a bathroom break before we hike. The Strausenback trail is to the East, across the road from the Spring Canyon South Picnic Area parking lot.

Ridge Loop: This is a half mile moderate hike that gives unique and elevated views of some of the main rock formations you’d see on the main Central Garden Trails.  An excellent choice for a short hike and a different view of the park.

How to Get There:  Parking at the South Garden Parking Lot off of Juniper Way Loop gives you easy access to the Ridge Loop: walk across the street to the west to find the trailhead.

Upper Loop Trail:  If you find yourself on the ever popular Central Garden Trails, don’t forget to take a stop by Three Graces (my favorite rock formation in the park), but don’t stop there.  Head East until you see a dirt staircase, follow these stairs for a quick up and down loop and a beautiful view of Three Graces.

How to Get There: There are a few street parking spots along Juniper Way Loop, after you veer left from Garden Drive. These parking spots, if you can snag one, are on the south end of the Central Garden Area and would give very convenient access to the Central Garden Trails and Upper Loop Trail.  The larger main Garden Parking Lot is also a good option for parking.

visitor center view These few trails are really just the tip of the iceberg for hiking that Garden of the Gods has to offer. Don’t be afraid to get away from the busy Central Garden Trails and discover all that Garden of the Gods has to offer in their less tourist traveled spots. Before you head out, make sure to stop at the newly renovated visitor center for more beautiful views and to pick up a map…just in case.

Have you visited Garden of the Gods? Do you have any favorite hikes?


  1. Even thought we live here and have hiked around, it was super fun to do one of the guided tours. The guides know all sorts of history, and they make it really fun!

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