Postcard from the Garden of the Gods

I love Colorado. I love the people, the lifestyle, the weather, the mountains. But like I said a few weeks ago, even though I love being on my own and living through new experiences, it’s always hard to be away from home when you love your home as much as I love mine.

Luckily, I have family and friends of a particularly high quality — one of which went as far as driving across the United States with me to help me move out west, several of which have already visited, and a few of which just left in the past few days. Last month, I had the exceptional pleasure of hosting my recently-college-graduated sister Amy for awhile, and OH THE ADVENTURES WE HAD.


Amy with Pikes Peak somewhere in the background on a bipolar weathery day in Colorado Springs !

Before Amy arrived, I hyper-planned several itineraries for our excursions. Sometimes I like to have a more relaxed, go-with-the-flow attitude toward adventures, but Amy had never been to Colorado and there were still plenty of big touristy/classic Colorado-y places I’d never seen. I created a schedule for us that would include as much of the best of everything as possible. (Not as easy task.)

First stop: Colorado Springs.

The weather was being a temperamental asshole on Amy’s first day in Colorado, so after a sunny morning at the Denver Botanic Gardens, rain forced us to cancel our plans of driving up Pikes Peak. Instead, we stuck to exploring the quaint & quirky mountain town of Manitou Springs and wandering the grounds of the Garden of the Gods.

Manitou Springs is essentially a tourist-driven mountain town with a semi-hippie vibe, with lots of shops selling typical Colorado souvenirs and Native American knick knacks. We strolled the main drag, ate some damn delish Mexican food & discovered an old schoolmpenny arcade that could have entertained us for hours had we actually had some coins on us. We did manage to play a game or two, including one that predicted your “love forecast” ….see the photo below to find out how bright my romantic future is looking…

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After we ate our fill of enchiladas & became thoroughly disappointed with the dismal outlook of my future romantic endeavors, we made our way to the main attraction: the Garden of the Gods. As we learned while visiting & with help from Wikipedia, The Garden of the Gods red rock formations were created during a geological upheaval along a natural fault line millions of years ago. It’s a beautiful park & is completely free to visit, with hiking trails and endless photo ops and stunning views of the famous Pikes Peak (on a cloudless day).

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If you’re visiting the Denver area & you have an extra afternoon/day to zip down the highway to Colorado Springs (it’s just about 1.5 hours away), the Garden of the Gods is a super cool pit stop. In the days following our GOTG excursion, we would visit Mt Evans Scenic Byway, Echo Lake, Glenwood Hot Springs, Hanging Lake and Aspen… all insanely beautiful in their own ways, but all so vastly different from Garden of the Gods! Colorado continues to blow my mind on a daily basis at the varying landscapes, terrains & plant life that exist across the state.

Have you ever been to the Garden of the Gods or Colorado Springs?

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  • Reply abrokenbackpack

    I should definitely travel more in the states!

    July 14, 2015 at 12:29 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Yes! 2015 has been a big US travel year for me — especially in the west! It’s crazy how much there is to see inside this country!

      July 14, 2015 at 12:37 am
      • Reply abrokenbackpack

        Yeah! There are so much stuff to see over there! When I’ll go home (Canada), I am looking forward to have a massive roadtrip!

        July 14, 2015 at 12:39 am
        • Reply Kristen

          I’m hoping to do a road trip from Denver to Banff eventually 🙂 Have fun!

          July 14, 2015 at 12:48 am
  • Reply Eagle-Eyed Editor

    Beautiful! Maybe one of these days I’ll get out there. And I highly recommend Banff — take one of the cable cars up to the top of the mountains for the most gorgeous views.

    July 14, 2015 at 4:49 am
    • Reply Kristen

      I’ll get to Banff ASAP! Thanks for the tip 🙂 They have those cable cars in a lot of the mountain towns in Colorado too!

      July 14, 2015 at 11:06 am
      • Reply Eagle-Eyed Editor

        Only thing is, if you go in the fall, check a Banff webcam or the weather report. The travel agent warned me to bring a coat and snow boots (we went in November), and I was so glad I did!

        July 14, 2015 at 6:30 pm
  • Reply Grainne

    It looks so beautiful! Myself and my husband will be moving to Denver in October, I’m so excited to see everything!

    July 14, 2015 at 8:36 am
    • Reply Kristen

      That’s amazing! Good for you! As a recent transplant to this area I can assure you that you will be blown away by the beauty of this state!

      July 14, 2015 at 11:06 am
  • Reply beckmank

    I’m a Denver native, glad you were able to get down to the Springs. Beautiful sites to see!

    July 14, 2015 at 1:40 pm
  • Reply ottergardens

    We used to live in Littleton. I miss GOTG and Red Rocks!

    July 14, 2015 at 7:36 pm
  • Reply shmamyhopf


    July 14, 2015 at 8:04 pm
    • Reply Kristen


      July 15, 2015 at 1:22 am
  • Reply Margie's Recipes 2014

    Having just returned from Colorado yesterday (it was great visiting with you), I have to say the scenery in Colorado is absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful!

    July 16, 2015 at 11:07 am
    • Reply Kristen

      I do know that is right girl!

      July 16, 2015 at 11:26 am
  • Reply Turquoise waters at 7k feet: hiking to Hanging Lake | skyward eyes

    […] Postcard from the Garden of the Gods […]

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  • Reply Driving along the majestic Mt. Evans Scenic Byway | skyward eyes

    […] Postcard from the Garden of the Gods […]

    August 8, 2015 at 7:29 pm
  • Reply Postcard from the Colorado National Monument | skyward eyes

    […] Postcard from the Garden of the Gods […]

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  • Reply markbialczak

    I loved Estes Park and Denver, Kristin. Next time to Colorado, I’ll put Colorado Springs on my travel list, thanks to your photo spread. Beautiful!

    August 10, 2015 at 8:38 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Glad you enjoyed! 🙂

      August 10, 2015 at 12:26 pm
  • Reply Crossing the Continental Divide at Independence Pass | skyward eyes

    […] a long weekend exploring the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, hiking to the incomparably beautiful Hanging Lake, soaking in the natural hot […]

    August 17, 2015 at 6:38 am
  • Reply jemdolby

    I love your blog and this post! I feel like I can relate to exactly where you’re coming from since almost all of my family lives on the East Coast (none live in CO). I’d been toying with taking my currently-visiting dad to GOTG, and am grateful for your review. Can’t wait to read about your other suggestions!

    August 20, 2015 at 11:34 am
    • Reply Kristen

      It was a a really cool place — especially for us east coasters, where you can’t find anything even remotely close to the GOTG! Hope you enjoy!

      August 20, 2015 at 11:44 am
  • Reply She won’t make it 6 months | skyward eyes

    […] I didn’t sit still. AT ALL. Amy was here and we traveled all over Colorado — from Denver to Colorado Springs to Mount Evans to Hanging Lake to the Continental Divide to Aspen to Boulder. We explored Devil’s […]

    September 14, 2015 at 6:09 am
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