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After a ridiculously long day in Boulder, we decided to sleep in the next morning and get a late start to the following day. Of course, this probably wasn’t the most strategic thing we could have done, given that the following day was Father’s Day, but we were exhausted and not exactly thinking straight. Oops.

Garden of the Gods

We arrived at Garden of the Gods a little after noon and stopped by the visitors center first thing, wanting to get some tips on what do to in the parks – what trails were the best, etc. – but the ranger at the information desk seemed a little overwhelmed. “We have lots of hikes,” might have been his most memorable quote.

Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs Visitors Center
At least the view from the visitor’s center was pretty lit.

Madison Garden of the Gods Visitors Center

A more helpful source of information? A random guy sitting on top of a jeep. Or as I like to call him: “our guardian angel”. Or: “the devil in disguise”. It kind of depends on how you look at things.

Since it was Father’s Day, the park was packed. We must have driven around for a good twenty minutes tryin to find a parking spot. Finally, we ended up in the very last spot in a lot on the far end of the park. Anyone sensing a pattern here?

We had pretty much zero idea where we were or how to get to where we wanted to go (not that we actually had anywhere specific in mind.) We looked at a map and saw that there should have been a small trail leading to a trailhead which would lead to yet another trailhead for the Siamese Twins, which we vaguely remembered the guy and the information desk saying were cool. But of course, that small trail was nowhere to be found.

That’s when our guardian angel/the devil in disguise came into play.

Because we were two young girls wandering around a parking lot looking lost, we obviously attracted some attention. Particularly from this random guy sitting on top of a jeep.

“Do you want a long hike or a short one?” He asked us.

And of course, being the overachievers that we are, we answered “a long one.” I can tell you now, that was really stupid.

There is no shade in the Garden of the Gods. We were not up for a long hike.

All the same, the man on top of the jeep pointed us in the direction of that little trail we were looking for and off we went.

Hiking the Scotsman/Buckskin Charlie Trails

Scotsman Buckskin Charlie Trail Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs

Even though it was Father’s Day and the park was packed, there was absolutely no one around. “Where in the hell had we ended up?” we wondered to ourselves. We had no clue.

I’m not gonna lie, I have no idea where one trail ended and the other started. Or where the next one ended and the next one started. But at some point or another we noticed we were no longer on a tiny trail and actually on a designated, well worn trail. Whether it was the Scotsman or the Buckskin Charlie Trail, we had no idea. But we liked to think it was the Scotsman Trail because, after all, Scotland is our new adopted home.

There were some cool views from the trail, but for the most part it was a lot of red dirt and sun. Oh, and wrong turns. We had a couple of those too.

Scotsman Buckskin Charlie Trail Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs

Finally, after stumbling into an older couple that had just come from the direction that we wanted to be going in (the Siamese Twins, in case you had forgotten. We almost had), we found our way out onto a road and back into civilization. Hallelujah.

The Siamese Twins

After all that craziness, we finally made it to the Siamese Twins – a rock formation that, well, looks a bit like Siamese twins. And yeah, they were pretty cool. Although honestly, not so cool that they warranted a trek through the dessert. If you can, don’t come on Father’s Day. And find a better parking spot. Preferably closer to the sights that you want to see.

Siamese Twins Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs

Addie Siamese Twins Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs

After recovering from our hike through the desert, we turned back from the Siamese twins and made our way back to the car. This time was a lot faster, since we actually knew where we were going. Thank god.

From there, it was back to the Visitor’s Center to fill up our water bottles. Then, it was time for the Grand Finale.

Perkins Central Garden Trail

So, we probably should have done this portion of the day first. The Perkins Central Garden Trail encompasses the main attraction of the Garden of the Gods. The big ones.

Instead of making the same mistake that we did the first time around, we decided to stay parked in the visitor’s center parking lot and walk the quarter mile to the trail.

Once there, we reapplied our sunscreen (because, necessary) and wandered around the paved trail for a bit. Compared to our earlier adventures, this was definitely a lot more chill — and we appreciated every minute of it.

The rocks were crazy, and it was no wonder why the place had been named Garden of the Gods. Especially when you looked up to see tiny figures climbing towards the top.

Perkins Central Garden Trail Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs

Perkins Central Garden Trail Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs

Perkins Central Garden Trail Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs

Perkins Central Garden Trail Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs

If You Go

If you ever find yourself visiting Garden of the Gods, I highly suggest parking at the visitor’s center and then walking to the park. Especially if you’re visiting on a particularly busy day.

Be sure to take a walk along the Perkins Central Garden Trail to get up close and personal with the biggest rocks in the park. Then, make your way to some of the other interesting formations, such at the Siamese Twins. Unless you’re looking to die of dehydration and not actually see much, I wouldn’t exactly hike the Scotsman/Buckskin Charlie Trail – at least not the part that we did.

Be sure to stop by the Visitor’s Center to see a cool exhibit on the rock formations and their history – and to get a great view!

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It's no wonder how the Garden of the Gods got its name. Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this natural wonder/red rock formation is a definite must see and a great day trip from Denver.


Addie Gray is a recent college grad and a passionate solo female traveler. Having traveled to more than 20 countries, she now shares her knowledge on budget travel, solo female travel, and travel photography.


  1. Quite a beautiful hike, but yea you have to go prepared or you might just die in PEAK HEAT. Happy you got some sights, some proper directions, and some lovely pictures. Adventuring is sometimes unpredictable. Cheers!

  2. The group of friends I travel with often are always the first to say “Eh, let’s do the harder route”, and it’s gotten us lost or to a different destination than we’d planned multiple times, haha. So can totally relate. Always say I’m going to get out to the West Coast at some point; will definitely add this to the list.

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