Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods (Arapaho: Ho3o’uu Niitko’usi’i) is a 1,341.3 acre public park located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States. 862 acres (3.49 sq km) of the park was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971.

 Steamboat Rock in the late 1950s

The garden's red rock formations were created millions of years ago during a geological upheaval event called the Laramide Orogeny. Archaeological evidence shows that prehistoric people visited Garden of the Gods about 1330 BC. At about 250 BC, Native American people camped in the park; they are believed to have been attracted to wildlife and plant life in the area and used overhangs created by the rocks for shelter. Many native peoples have reported a connection to Garden of the Gods: Apache, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa, Lakota, Pawnee, Shoshone and Ute people.[1]

Multiple American Indian Nations traveled through Garden of the Gods. The Utes' oral traditions tell of their creation at the Garden of the Gods, and petroglyphs have been found in the park that are typical of early Utes. The Utes found red rocks to have a spiritual connection and camped near Manitou Springs and the creek near Rock Ledge Ranch bordering Garden of the Gods.[1] The Old Ute Trail went past Garden of the Gods to Ute Pass and led later explorers through Manitou Springs. Starting in the 16th century, Spanish explorers and later European American explorers and trappers traveled through the area, including Lt. John C. Frémont and Lt. George Frederick Ruxton, who recorded their visits in their journals.[2]

In 1879 AD, Charles Elliott Perkins, a friend of William Jackson Palmer, purchased 480 acres (1.94 sq km) of land that included a portion of the present Garden of the Gods.[citation needed] Upon Perkins' death, his family gave the land to the City of Colorado Springs in 1909, with the provision that it would be a free public park. Palmer had owned the Rock Ledge Ranch and upon his death it was donated to the city.[3]

Helen Hunt Jackson wrote of the park, "You wind among rocks of every conceivable and inconceivable shape and size... all bright red, all motionless and silent, with a strange look of having been just stopped and held back in the very climax of some supernatural catastrophe."[4]: 116 

In 1995, the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center was opened just outside the park.[3]

^ a b Toni Hamill; The Manitou Springs Heritage Center (March 2012). Garden of the Gods. Arcadia Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-7385-8892-6. Retrieved 3 July 2013. ^ Toni Hamill; The Manitou Springs Heritage Center (March 2012). Garden of the Gods. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0-7385-8892-6. Retrieved 3 July 2013. ^ a b Toni Hamill; The Manitou Springs Heritage Center (March 2012). Garden of the Gods. Arcadia Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-7385-8892-6. Retrieved 3 July 2013. ^ Green, Stewart M. (2019). Scenic Driving Colorado: Exploring the State's Most Spectacular Back Roads. Lanham, Md.: Globe Pequot. ISBN 978-1-4930-3599-1.
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