Elevation: 6,035 ft
GPS: 38.879, -104.87 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 380,021 total · 1,834/month
Shared By: Tim Stich on Mar 15, 2002 with updates from Jes Meiris
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
Access Issue: 2017 Seasonal Closures - Partial Closure Lifting Details


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 (in fact 5.8 million visitors came in 2017).

Note: new as of 2018, the park is closed after 9p.

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. Climbing permits are required and can be obtained online

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.

Regulations, Online Permit, & Closures

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 (no longer at the visitor center) that you can get it online. 8,222 complied with getting one in 2017. 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.

Also, those accessing the climbs need to have gear and permit and be hiking to the base of the chosen route. When a family member or child or non-climbing member of a permitted group is visible to the public, this creates a conflict. The rangers do not enjoy disrupting a climbing party because we cannot identify climbing gear and believe we are seeing an illegal scrambler. Please do not invite all your friends if they are not actively climbing.

As of 2018, climbing on part of the West side of Kindergarten Rock (aka Grey Rock) is NOT permitted due to wildlife issues for the brown bats, nesting raptors, great horned owls, red tailed hawks, and Cooper's hawks. Also, all climbing on Keyhole Rock (aka Sleeping Giant) is NOT permitted. Finally, walking/hiking is NOT permitted between Kindergarten Rock and Keyhole Rock (and Sleeping Giant).

Also, note the park is closed to visitors after 9pm. This is new for 2018!

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."

White Chalk is not allowed!

The Park staff want to remind the climbing community that white chalk (calcium carbonate) is prohibited in the park due to visual impact. While any chalk use is discourage, chalk substitute that does not discolor the rock may be used. Eco balls are sold at the Visitor Center.

When placing closure signange/notifications, our park rangers noted chalk stains on several routes in the closure area (Anaconda and Grapefruit Dance), as well as the Blowouts bouldering area (which were cleaned last year, meaning all the chalk here is new). We are again hoping that the community can come together and address this issue before it requires any action on our part. Access may come into play! We'd also like to thank the PPCA for their efforts to remove chalk stains in these areas last year and hope that local climbers might consider helping them remove chalk stains from the rock this season- check their website for more info on upcoming events- pikespeakclimbersalliance.o….


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!

Dogs must be in direct physical control by owners

Please keep in mind that climbing locations are close to nesting sites and are often located in erosion-prone areas. As with all other users in the park, visitors must always have physical control (leash in hand) of their dog. Dogs should not be left unattended or tied to a tree with a two-person climbing team, as this typically leads to barking, wildlife disturbances, and other problems. We’re sure your dog would appreciate a walk on a designated trail much more than sitting at the base of a climb.

158 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at Garden of the Gods

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Cowboy Boot Crack
Trad, TR
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
South Ridge
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
North Ridge
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
New Era
Trad 2 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Finger Ramp
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
West Point Crack
Trad 3 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Bob's Buttress Crack
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
End of an Era
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Crescent Corner
Sport 2 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Credibility Gap
Sport 2 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Alligator Soup
Sport 2 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Mighty Thor
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Diesel and Dust
Sport 2 pitches
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Trad 2 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Cowboy Boot Crack N Gateway Rock > W Face
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, TR
South Ridge Twin Spires > White Twin
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
North Ridge Montezuma Tower
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Potholes Twin Spires > Red Twin
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
New Era Kindergarten Rock > E Face
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Finger Ramp N Gateway Rock > Southwest Face / Fing…
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
West Point Crack S Gateway Rock > W Side
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad 3 pitches
Bob's Buttress Crack Kindergarten Rock > E Face
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
End of an Era Kindergarten Rock > E Face
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Crescent Corner S Gateway Rock > E Side
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport 2 pitches
Credibility Gap S Gateway Rock > W Side
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport 2 pitches
Alligator Soup Kindergarten Rock > E Face
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport 2 pitches
Mighty Thor S Gateway Rock > E Side
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Diesel and Dust Kindergarten Rock > E Face
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport 2 pitches
Anaconda N Gateway Rock > N Face / N End
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad 2 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Garden of the Gods »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season


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. Aug 21, 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: worldzone.net/sports/waygoo…. Also, a photo gallery for the Garden can be found at: worldzone.net/sports/waygoo… Oct 15, 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. Nov 6, 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. Nov 15, 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. Nov 26, 2001
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. Mar 22, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
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. Jun 14, 2002
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
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. Jul 22, 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. Jul 28, 2002
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. Apr 30, 2003
There's nothing H about your O, B-Dub. ;-) Jul 11, 2003
Please layoff the chalk. If you signed for the FREE permit, it says do not use white chalk. Think ACCESS. Sep 2, 2003
Chris R  
To follow up on the previous chalk comment, "red sandstone" colored chalk can be found at Mountain Chalet in downtown Colorado Springs, or from "www.rockchalk.net". 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. Sep 3, 2003
Is there a good place to camp near the Garden of the Gods? May 25, 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. Aug 4, 2004
Bosier Parsons
Colorado Springs, CO
Bosier Parsons   Colorado Springs, CO
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. Dec 20, 2006
Hey, I saw that someone fell here today and was looking for info about what happened and what route they were on??? Dec 30, 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. Dec 31, 2008
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 About.com:

climbing.about.com/od/stays… Jan 1, 2009
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. Oct 7, 2013
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! 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! May 22, 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. Jun 2, 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. Aug 24, 2015
I think my partner may have left a gold Camalot #2 on Montezuma's Tower, or thereabouts on the 24th. It's missing, and that's the last time I saw it. So if you found it...
Biblebob454@gmail.com. Thanks.... May 26, 2016
Found an abandoned crash pad in The Garden today.... If you can tell me where it was left and what brand/color it is, it's yours. Feb 6, 2017
John Acker
Colorado Springs
John Acker   Colorado Springs
Found some draws in the Garden...anyone missing them with an accurate description, please contact. Mar 1, 2017
Ankoni Lowman
Fairfax, Virginia
Ankoni Lowman   Fairfax, Virginia
Hey everyone, I lost about 6 Black Diamond draws on Montazuma's Tower last week. Please let me know if anyone has seen them! Mar 3, 2017