In 1859, gold was found in the South Park area of Colorado which created a population boom in the region. Within one year more than 100,000 people settled in the area. Around that time, two surveyors headed out from Denver to begin a new town, which would later be Colorado City.During their explorations they came upon the vast landscape of enormous rock formations. One of the surveyors, M.S. Beach, claimed it would be a perfect place for a beer garden, once the city developed. His travel mate, Rufus Cable, scoffed at the idea of a beer garden stating,“Beer garden? Why, it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.” And so it was.
The features of the park are made up of ancient sedimentary rocks of red, pink and white sandstones,conglomerates and limestone. Sedimentary rocks are a type of rock that takes its shape over time through deposits of minerals and other organic particles that are carried to the rock by water, ice or wind. It takes thousands of years for these types of rocks to take form.
It’s basically little pieces of our earth’s surface eroded and crumbling over time, being swept downstream into riverbeds, oceans and other bodies of water. As each layer is added, the layers below become more compact until they eventually turn into a solid formation. Over thousands of years, waterbeds drained leaving behind the magnificent stone giants you see today in Colorado Springs.
It is quite humbling to think that you are walking a path that was once the bottom of a river or lake that dinosaurs may have drank out of or even lived in. Looking up to the tops of the rock ledges, imagining the water’s surface and what may have been there millions of years ago is truly amazing. If you’re ever in Colorado, I recommend you make your way to the Springs to see these limestone giants and enjoy the feeling of awe.
Rock climbing is also permitted in certain sections of the park, but climbers need to get a permit from the visitors office beforehand. For more information see: www.rockclimbing.com/routes/North_America/United_States/Colorado/Front_Range/Garden_of_the_Gods/. Admission is free to the park, visitors center and the nature center, although donations are welcome to help maintain the upkeep of the 3,300 acres.
With resources from: www.gardenofthegods.com