Elevation: 6,378 ft
GPS: 38.879, -104.87 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 606,626 total · 2,600/month
Shared By: Tim Stich on Mar 15, 2002 · Updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC
Access Issue: Lifted: 2020 Seasonal Closures Details

Description

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 striking 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: as of 2018, gates have been added to the entrances of the park. They are closed at 9pm during the offseason (November 1st to May 1st) and closed at 10pm during peak season (May 2nd- October 30th) .The park opens at 5am year round.

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

New for 2021! Colored and White Chalk are NOT allowed!

The Park staff want to remind the climbing community that no chalk of any kind may be used when climbing in the Garden. This is a new rule as of March 2021. Previously ecoballs and colored chalk could be used, but this is no longer the case.

Per Doug Lintz: effective 3/15/21, all chalk, including chalk substitutes are banned from use at Garden of the Gods. In the past, white chalk was not permitted (even though many climbers continue to use it), but now all substitutes are included in the ban.

Rock Considerations

Rule change for climbers in Garden of the Gods Park

Effective March 15, 2021, climbing chalk or a chalk substitute of any kind or color cannot be used when climbing in Garden of the Gods Park. Climbing chalk was previously banned, however, this rule change now includes the restriction of all chalk substitutes in order to help preserve the natural beauty of the rock formations. The change has become necessary due to an increase in climbing activity and chalk use in the park.

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department worked closely with local climbers and the Pikes' Peak Climbers Alliance to reach this decision.  

Importance of conservation

Taking into account the number of rock climbers that scale Garden of the Gods each year, even the smallest of traces left behind from individual climbers, such as chalk marks or dust, can create monumental impacts. By eliminating the use of chalk and chalk substitutes, rock climbers at the park will play a role in keeping the Garden’s extraordinary rock structures sustainable and stunning for years to come.

Other regular conservation efforts in Garden of the Gods include regular park maintenance, like removing trash and litter; trail maintenance efforts that help ensure existing trails are safer and more sustainable; reclamation using native seed and mulch to restore disturbed land; trail corridor cleaning; and noxious weed inventory and removal. These efforts often take place in partnership with groups like the Rocky Mountain Field Institute and Mile High Youth Corps.

Working with recreation groups creates the best outcomes

The City is grateful for groups like the Pikes Peak Climbers Alliance for working with us to make changes that benefit and balance both recreation and the environment.

Statement of support from the Pikes Peak Climber’s Alliance

“The Pikes Peak Climber’s Alliance has been happy to work with the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department to help preserve and protect our beloved cliffs and natural resources in Garden of the Gods Park. We support a ban on chalk use on climbing routes to make sure that its iconic cliffs are used by climbers with a sustainable Leave No Trace ethic. As local climbers, most of us learned how to climb on the Garden’s red rock formations and we love the place. A no-chalk ethic goes a long way to preserving the Garden of the Gods and our climbing freedoms.”

....

There are regulations specific to climbing at this city-owned park, see the city's website where citywide free, mandatory climbing permits can be obtained. The Visitor's Center no longer physically provides these permits, since they're online. The Visitor Center is a private organization, and nobody on staff there really knows much about the climbing or the rules except what the city tells them. The Visitor Center 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, Map, & 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. There is now a mandatory video to go along with the free online permiting.
 9327 complied in 2019 and 8,222 complied 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. The 2019 park hours are: May 1 to October 31: 5am - 10pm / November 1 to April 30: 5am - 9pm.

2019 Trail map.

Page 1.

Page 2.

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."

Food

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.

Website

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.

178 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Garden of the Gods Change
Type:  to 
Quality:
Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

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
 143
Cowboy Boot Crack
Trad, TR
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 129
South Ridge
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 455
North Ridge
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 257
Potholes
Sport
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 236
New Era
Trad 2 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 127
Finger Ramp
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
 144
West Point Crack
Trad 3 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 116
Bob's Buttress Crack
Trad
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 103
End of an Era
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 135
Crescent Corner
Sport 2 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 141
Credibility Gap
Sport 2 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 103
Alligator Soup
Sport 2 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 92
Mighty Thor
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 89
Diesel and Dust
Sport 2 pitches
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 53
Anaconda
Trad 2 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Cowboy Boot Crack N Gateway Rock > W Face
 143
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, TR
South Ridge Twin Spires > White Twin
 129
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
North Ridge Montezuma Tower
 455
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Potholes Twin Spires > Red Twin
 257
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
New Era Kindergarten Rock > E Face
 236
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Finger Ramp N Gateway Rock > Southwest Face / Fing…
 127
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
West Point Crack S Gateway Rock > W Side
 144
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad 3 pitches
Bob's Buttress Crack Kindergarten Rock > E Face
 116
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
End of an Era Kindergarten Rock > E Face
 103
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Crescent Corner S Gateway Rock > E Side
 135
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport 2 pitches
Credibility Gap S Gateway Rock > W Side
 141
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport 2 pitches
Alligator Soup Kindergarten Rock > E Face
 103
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport 2 pitches
Mighty Thor S Gateway Rock > E Side
 92
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Diesel and Dust Kindergarten Rock > E Face
 89
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport 2 pitches
Anaconda N Gateway Rock > N Face / N End
 53
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad 2 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Garden of the Gods »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Photos