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Garden of the Gods

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Garden of the Gods Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 6,035'
Location: 38.8788, -104.87 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 751,979
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Stich on Mar 15, 2002  with updates from Jes Meiris

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BETA PHOTO: Photo by Eli Powell.

Reopened after the floods. 2015 Seasonal Closures MORE INFO >>>


Situated right next to Colorado Springs off of US Highway 24 lies a small park aptly named Garden of the Gods. The acreage of the park is rather modest, like Red Rocks, but the sandstone formations are quite stiking and memorable. Several massive rocks are decorated with jagged profiles with colors ranging from white, mild orange and rich reds. Spires of up to two pitch height are scattered behind these larger rocks. The park is highly developed and has cement trails in places. Climbing is almost exclusively trad, though there are many routes with drilled angles that don't require gear other than draws. Rock quality varies from formation to formation and can be very crumbly. For Front Range denizens who want to get used to soft desert sandstone, this is a great place to experience it. Get used to an audience, as the crowded park has hundreds of visitors on weekends.

Getting There 

From the south, from I-25, take a left on US Highway 24 (Exit 141). Drive past 21st Street and then take a right on either Ridge Road or Garden Ave, depending on which lot you want to park at. The visitor center is on 30th Street, which is to the right of the park facing North.

From the north, from I-25, take the Garden of the Gods Rd west to 30th St. Go S on 30th St. to the visitor's center and get your permit.

Rock Considerations 

There are regulations specific to climbing at this city-owned park, see the Visitor's Center for your permit & list of rules. The phone number is 719.634.6666.

The rock here is a very porous, fragile sandstone; however, the exact qualities of the rock vary from formation to formation. Kindergarten Rock (lighter color) has probably some of the strongest of the weak sandstone here. Beware after any significant rain storms that it can take up to days to dry out. Rock edges here are known to fail without warning. Also, some of the hardware is old, and fixed hardware has been known to fail due to metal stress over time. Make sure to always backup your anchors and key pieces of protection.


This park is city-owned. Thus, there are specific rules and regulations that must be followed. Each calendar year, you are obliged to fill out a free permit at the visitor center. Bouldering is also regulated here: rock scrambling, defined as climbing on a rock formation more than ten feet above its base without proper equipment (again, defined as UIAA standard rope), is prohibited. Also, bouldering is not permitted on Sentinel Rock, Red & White Twin Spires, Signature Rock, & the South face of North Gateway Rock. Certain formations are closed to climbing including, sadly, climbing atop the Kissing Camels and Balanced Rock. Used of calcim carbonate chalk is prohibited. Chalk substitute that does not discolor the rock may be used. Slings left on the rock must match the color of the rock. Please check the regulations if you are uncertain. Thanks!

Raptor considerations 

"Climbing near raptor nesting [sites] is prohibited. Seasonal clusters of [routes] near nesting [sites] will be posted at the trailhead leading to the climb."


There are an assortment of places to eat in the Colorado Springs area which range from fast food to 4 star dining at The Broadmoor. You can find many options heading south along 30th Street then east on Colorado Avenue. Also, located just SE of the Garden of the Gods is the old-fashioned Mason Jar.


There is a new website that is being created for information on this park. It even has topos of routes on some of the formations.

Rock After Rains 

Remember that the soft sandstone of Garden of the Gods is particularly fragile after rains. You should strongly consider refraining from climbing after rains for a few days. Thanks!

Climbing Season

Weather station 6.3 miles from here

142 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',36],['2 Stars',65],['1 Star',28],['Bomb',4]

Classic Climbing Routes in Garden of the Gods

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Garden of the Gods:
Unknown V7 aka Slapper   V7-8 7B     Boulder, 12'   The Snake Pit Area : Mongoose Block
Low Traverse into Slapper   V9 7C     Boulder, 20'   The Snake Pit Area : Mongoose Block
Cowboy Boot Crack   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   North Gateway Rock : West Face
New Era   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 270'   Kindergarten Rock : East Face
Potholes   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Twin Spires : Red Twin
Finger Ramp   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   North Gateway Rock : Southwest Face / Finger Fac...
North Ridge   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches   Montezuma Tower
West Point Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R     Trad, 3 pitches   South Gateway Rock : West Side
End of an Era   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Kindergarten Rock : East Face
Bob's Buttress Crack   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Kindergarten Rock : East Face
Credibility Gap   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 2 pitches   South Gateway Rock : West Side
Crescent Corner   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 2 pitches   South Gateway Rock : East Side
Alligator Soup   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 2 pitches, 140'   Kindergarten Rock : East Face
Skyline Pig   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 2 pitches   Kindergarten Rock : East Face
Mighty Thor   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   South Gateway Rock : East Side
Rainbow Bridge   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   North Gateway Rock : West Face
Footloose 'N' Fancy Free   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 150'   Kindergarten Rock : West Face
Diesel and Dust   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 2 pitches   Kindergarten Rock : East Face
Anaconda   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches   North Gateway Rock : North Face / North End
Grapefruit Dance   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch   North Gateway Rock : West Face
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Garden of the Gods

Featured Route For Garden of the Gods
Rock Climbing Photo: Steve Sellers just above the first pitch anchors o...

New Era 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b  CO : Colorado Springs : ... : East Face
This route is located on the east face of Kindergarten Rock. Park at the Kindergarten Rock parking area and walk up the road. You will see a faint trail on the left side of the road cutting through a field of POISON IVY. Scramble up the steep hill to the base of the prominent crack in the middle of the formation.You can climb this in two or three pitches. I prefer two.P1 climb jugs and pigeon shit to a thin layback crack just before the cave belay. Slings are setup here for anchors and rappe...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Garden of the Gods Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Storm brewing over Garden of the Gods, July 2007.
Storm brewing over Garden of the Gods, July 2007.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sweet air shot of The Garden.  Photo by Trask Brad...
Sweet air shot of The Garden. Photo by Trask Brad...
Rock Climbing Photo: Garden of the Other Gods. He sleeps and waits.
Garden of the Other Gods. He sleeps and waits.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pikes Peak though a hole.
Pikes Peak though a hole.
Rock Climbing Photo: Garden of the Gods-Winter. Photo by Blitzo.
Garden of the Gods-Winter. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers racing to beat the storm.
Climbers racing to beat the storm.
Rock Climbing Photo: Montezuma's Tower north spine climb on 9/29/07.
BETA PHOTO: Montezuma's Tower north spine climb on 9/29/07.
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo by Dave Fiorucci.
Photo by Dave Fiorucci.
Rock Climbing Photo: Winter desert tree.
Winter desert tree.
Rock Climbing Photo: Garden of the Gods.
Garden of the Gods.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Garden.
The Garden.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Top of the Gateways, and Grey Rock from the We...
The Top of the Gateways, and Grey Rock from the We...
Rock Climbing Photo: This place is amazingly beautiful.
This place is amazingly beautiful.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on an arete climb.  Forgot long ago which...
Climbers on an arete climb. Forgot long ago which...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Garden from Red Rock Canyon.
The Garden from Red Rock Canyon.
Rock Climbing Photo: Garden.
Rock Climbing Photo: 'Zuma's Tower at Sunset.
'Zuma's Tower at Sunset.
Rock Climbing Photo: North Gateway sun.
North Gateway sun.
Rock Climbing Photo: Montezuma's Tower from the west loop road.
Montezuma's Tower from the west loop road.
Rock Climbing Photo: D. Magill approaching rap station atop 2nd pitch, ...
D. Magill approaching rap station atop 2nd pitch, ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Trying to be artsy.
Trying to be artsy.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking south on the Kindergarten Rock.
Looking south on the Kindergarten Rock.
Rock Climbing Photo: Garden.
Rock Climbing Photo: Cresent Corner, 5.9+ on South Gateway. fun moves, ...
Cresent Corner, 5.9+ on South Gateway. fun moves, ...

Show All 34 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Garden of the Gods Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 24, 2015
By Darin Lang
Aug 21, 2001
A few additions. If you want to climb in the Garden "legally", you need to stop at the Visitors Center and obtain a free climbing permit. Also, there are many non-chossy, quality routes in the Garden if you know where to look, and one of the state's best 5.7 climbs on Montezuma's Tower.
By Dan Russell
Oct 15, 2001
Garden of the Gods CAN be very chossy, but when it's good, it's great. Sport routes such as Grapefruit Dance (5.12b) are overhanging and gymnastic. Trad lines such as New Era (5.7), Cowboy Boot Crack (5.8), Anaconda (5.10a or 5.11c), and Triple Exposure (5.12c) are solid and clean. Aid lines such as The Inferno and The Zipper are always scary because of the old gear. Even a few quality boulder problems can be found (though not many) such as Master of Puppets (V8) and the Blowouts Traverse (V3). It may not be the world's most classic area, or even Colorado, but anyone who lives in Colorado should get a local to help them sample the good lines there. The place has tons of history. Harvey Carter has been climbing there since the 50's. Anyone who wants to check it out get ahold of me, an email can be found on my site: Also, a photo gallery for the Garden can be found at:
By Anonymous Coward
Nov 6, 2001
All that I have to say is that I have been climbing in the garden for two years and I agree that there are some of the states most beautiful climbs there, especially Mighty Thor and Montazumas tower, but many times I have had to replace unequalized anchors (the death triangle) with properly equalized slings only to find them replaced with the triangle or cleaned of all webbing shortly after. so to all those thinking of a trip to the garden watch the anchors, bring webbing(try to match the rock color) and rap-rings and enjoy the beauty of one of the gems of Colorado climbing.
By William Prehm
Nov 15, 2001
The rock at Garden of the Gods is comprised of very soft sandstone. A few years ago one of the most popular routes Pete and Bob's lost a huge chunk of rock because some climbers didnt let the rock dry out after it had rained. The sandstone here is VERY brittle when wet.
By Barrett Cooper
Nov 26, 2001
Along the lines of the first comments about registering to climb in the garden and trying to use slings the same color of the rock, you are asked not to use white chalk when climbing. The rock in the garden is for the most part a nice red and the white chalk is easily visible and does not wash off easily under roofs and ledges. I was told by the park office that climbing chalk "is not allowed" because it marks up the natural beauty of the rock. When pressed they did say that colored/special chalk (eco chalk or the like) would be ok. However on a personal side note, chalk on the rock in the garden is pretty much not needed because the rock is often sandy and keeps your hands dry by default.
By Sean O'Dell
Mar 22, 2002
While we're on the subject of the crumbly rock - if you're a moderate level climber, be especially weary of ratings in the garden. Many of the routes are constantly eroding under the unrelenting trampling of not-so-delicate climbers. The lower finger traverse USED to be a .7, but several large jugs broken off later, its anyone's guess. Everyone in town has broken SOMETHING off of Credibility Gap - that 9+ is probably looking more and more 10a-ish all the time. I just talked to someone who said that the large boulder at the base of Montezuma's Tower is now starting to wobble. You get the picture.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 14, 2002
What is the best guide to this area? I noticed there are 2 specific "Garden of the Gods" guidebooks, as well as those more general guides listed above.
By Andrew Gram
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 22, 2002
My favorite guidebook to the Garden is the D'Antonio guide. I also have Soft Touch which has more of the old aid climbs and FA information in it, but the D'Antonio is easier to follow with better route descriptions.
By Anonymous Coward
Jul 28, 2002
The Garden of the Gods has to be the sickest place I've ever climbed. The routes there are great and offer some of the most daring climbs. Some personal favorites include: Anaconda, Triple Exposure, any thing on the Drug Wall, and my all time favorite Scare Crow. If you feel you can't do a route trust me you probably can't. A lot of routes are very deceptive so watch out and have fun.
By Brian T. Wandzilak
Apr 30, 2003
I have yet to meet anyone, who did not enjoy a day of climbing at the Garden. It is one of the most unique places to climb that I have ever been to. Every type/style of climbing exists here. From the slab style on the south end of north gateway/ north end of south gateway, to the spire of Montezuma's Tower, to the bolted/mixed routes all over the place, to pure trad lines, and there is even some quality bouldering thrown in. It is simply a unique place and as long as climbers take care of it, it will remain one of the best places in Colorado to climb, IMHO.
By Jon Cannon
Jul 11, 2003
There's nothing H about your O, B-Dub. ;-)
By Jeremy Maddamma
Sep 2, 2003
Please layoff the chalk. If you signed for the FREE permit, it says do not use white chalk. Think ACCESS.
By Chris R
Sep 3, 2003
To follow up on the previous chalk comment, "red sandstone" colored chalk can be found at Mountain Chalet in downtown Colorado Springs, or from "". Works just as well as the white stuff, slightly more expensive, but completely legal and not nearly as blatant to the eye.In an area like Garden of the Gods, climbers have a very high profile. It is worth it to be sensitive to the regulations of the area, or, worst case, climbing could be banned in the Park (not as far-fetched as it sounds. Tourists outnumber climbers 1000 to 1.).The few regulations are simple: either use "acceptable" chalk or don't use it, and disguise fixed slings.
By Anonymous Coward
May 25, 2004
Is there a good place to camp near the Garden of the Gods?
By Rees
Aug 4, 2004
Does anyone know the name of the rock wall opposite from the hike to the snake pit from the south parking lot? Ive been bouldering there a bunch of times and very few people Ive talked to have heard of it.
By Bosier Parsons
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Dec 20, 2006
My car was broken into on 12/14/06 while parked at the parallel spaces just North of the South Parking Lot. Thieves looked to be going for a laptop. Just a heads up, probably safer to park at the North Lot, and walk a bit further.
By Aaron Zumpf
Dec 30, 2008
Hey, I saw that someone fell here today and was looking for info about what happened and what route they were on???
By Stewart M. Green
Dec 31, 2008
I am just heading out to the Garden right now to look at the accident scene and figure out what happened. What the fire department has told me is that a 50-something climber, apparently a novice, was lowering down Practice Slab off a single anchor which broke and he fell 50 feet. One of the fireman, a climber, said the climber's Black Diamond harness was put on incorrectly, which he noticed when he took it off the climber. Apparently the climber was taking his brother, a beginner, climbing.

On the surface, it appears to be a stupid beginner mistake...lowering off a single anchor is bad enough but from a single anchor of questionable age and quality is just plain dumb.
By Stewart M. Green
Jan 1, 2009
I went out to the Garden of the Gods yesterday afternoon and did a detailed analysis of the climbing accident on Practice Slab.

Here's a link to my written report on the accident at my Climbing website at
By GardenoftheGodsStaff
Oct 7, 2013
From a forum post:

We wanted to let the climbing community know that all seasonal wildlife closures in Garden of the Gods Park have been lifted, and all routes are now open.

For 2014, we are expecting closures to include the East face of North Gateway and potentially portions of the East face of Grey Rock (Kindergarten Rock) from roughly mid-spring to mid-summer for raptor nesting, and the Tower of Babel on North Gateway for part of the summer to protect white-throated swift nesting sites. If you have any questions, please drop by the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center.
By Jes Meiris
May 22, 2015
Memorial Weekend is coming up. With all this rain, you might be tempted to get out and climb on Saturday, which is fixin' to be pretty nice!

A quick reminder to PLEASE refrain from climbing on ANY of our local sandstone. Unusually high rainfall = unusually fragile rock. Be a steward of our local precious resource and encourage others to do the same. You could:
- choose another activity
- hit the gym
- head to Shelf Road or granite areas like Cheyenne Canyon (pick up Bob Robertson's guidebook and check out a new wall!), Elevenmile Canyon or Devil's Head.

Rapid degradation of climbs, injuries, and a fatality are linked to climbing on wet rock. A bone-dry surface can hide fragile, wet rock underneath – jeopardizing our fragile resource. There is no chance the rock will have enough time to dry by this weekend with the amount of rain we've received recently.
Share this and spread the word!
By Stewart M. Green
May 22, 2015
ATTENTION!! The Colorado Springs Parks Department has CLOSED ALL CITY PARKS, including Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, and North Cheyenne Canon, to rock climbing for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

This is due to record rainfall totals in western Colorado Springs which as caused severe trail and parking lot damage, saturated the sandstone cliffs, and is causing parts of cliffs to break off.

The parks will be re-evaluated on Monday to determine how the closure will last.

Please respect the closures and take care of our precious climbing areas!
By Stewart M. Green
Jun 2, 2015
The Garden of the Gods Park is now open to rock climbing as of Tuesday, June 2.

After a month of unprecedented, record-setting rainfall, which saturated the sandstone, the decision was made a couple weeks ago by the Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department to close the city parks to climbing. The climbing ban for North Cheyenne Canon Park and Ute Valley Park is also lifted, but Red Rock Canyon Open Space is still closed to climbing, hiking, and other uses because of severe damage to trails and roads.

While the rock is now dry, climbers still need to use caution, since flakes and edges were possibly weakened and could be susceptible to breakage. Climbers also need to evaluate the rock on different routes and avoid climbing them if there are any wet sections. Please err on the side of caution to protect the rock surface, yourself, and anyone below from falling rocks. Loose rock is currently found at several areas in the Garden of the Gods; the PPCC will be removing this loose rock during the upcoming days for the safety of all visitors.

The Pikes Peak Climbers Alliance and the city parks staff and rangers thank all climbers for their cooperation during this closure by protecting our local cliffs and climbing areas. Climbers need to continue their stewardship of these areas by avoiding wet rock areas in the future and remembering to allow the rock surface enough time to dry after rain events. The PPCA will continue promoting education about climbing on wet rock, especially for new climbers unfamiliar with our sandstone climbing areas.
By Dan McCabe
Aug 24, 2015
Beautiful day in the Garden completely blown by one of the local guides yelling across the mass of human traffic, "NO CHALK IN THE GARDEN!" Good Lord, what has happened to this place? Chopped bolts, ethics police, and loud mouth guides. No wonder the number of real climbers that regular the Garden continues to shrink every year.

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