Day trip: Garden of the Gods and Cave of the Winds

2013-04-03 14.06.20One day when Elisabeth was here, we ventured over to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to check out the Garden of the Gods and the Cave of the Winds.

First we took a tour in the cave. The Discovery Tour, which we took, cost $18 a person (for adults) and lasted about an hour. You get to walk through caverns and fairly cramped passages. The tour guide teaches you about different kinds of stalactites, stalagmites, and other cave formations. There is one type of formation that looks like bacon, it’s very neat! There is another that looks a bit like popcorn kernels. And another kind of cave growth looks like a spidery monster. Just being in a cave is interesting. You learn about the history of the cave and how people explored the cave in the past.

There are lights along the path so no one should have difficulty with sight. The guide does point out certain areas that are prone to people getting bumps so as long as you’re listening you should be just fine. At one point, the guide does turn off all the lights, so if you tend to dislike total darkness or possibly have a tendency to feel claustrophobic, perhaps this tour is not for you.

The area is absolutely beautiful. Before or after your tour you can walk around outside and enjoy the view. They have those big binocular contraptions that you can look through for 25 cents. They also offer an above-ground ropes course and a zip line (you get to sit down on a chair, no hanging) for more money. Elisabeth and I opted to do those another time but they looked like they could be fun.

2013-04-03 15.36.35After the tour we headed down to the Garden of the Gods. This is a free park that is absolutely breathtaking. I’ve been there three times now and I would easily go again. There are a lot of trails, many of them flat, with great views at every turn. The rock formations are so gorgeous. Many of them have names, like the Kissing Camels, which makes the trip even more fun trying to find each rock.

The Garden of the Gods is a must for those living in or visiting Colorado who have a free day. It only takes an hour to get there and it’s free. Pack a picnic, head down around 11 (or earlier), and spend the afternoon walking around. Cars are not allowed to park on the side of the road and there are only a few parking lots throughout the park. I suggest you park at the first parking lot and walk around for a bit, even if you don’t end up stopping there for the whole trip. It’s a big parking lot and it leads to a lot of the trails so it’s a great starting point. There are also restrooms at this spot.

There is a welcome center before you enter the park, on the other side of the road, that you may consider stopping in. Although I have not been to the center, I do know that they have maps. Along the trails there are maps as well, although I’m guessing they are not as detailed as the paper ones would be.

I have been here in the summer, the winter, and now the spring and every time it’s been a lot of fun and beautiful. I can’t wait to go again!

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