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Garden of the Gods

I visited Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs recently for the first time. Garden of the Gods is a free public park (park map http://www.springsgov.com/units/parksrec/maps/pdfmaps/gogs-pg1.pdf)that was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971. I was limited on time and arrived promptly about 25 minutes before sunrise. Being unfamiliar with the area, I decided not to hunt for a sunrise location and planted myself along the wide gravel shoulder along N 30th St just north of the turn into Garden of the Gods. Luckily, right when I arrived, the moon was setting over the mountains. With snowcapped Pike’s Peak, Garden of the Gods and the moon set, I was in luck for a great photo! I stayed at this location until about 15 minutes after sunrise. There were hardly any clouds off to the west so there wasn’t much color for a sunrise. Most of the clouds were off to the south but didn’t get any color.

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The moon setting over Pike’s Peak at Garden of the Gods

I drove into the park and began following the Juniper Way Loop. The loop is mostly a one-way road through the park with multiple parking areas for trail access and pull-offs for photos. I stopped at the first parking lot and wandered down the paved trail in between Tower of Babel, White Rock and Signature Rock.  The rocks were steep! Birds were flying around the rocks. I imagine many had nests in some of the pockets in the sandstone. One guy ran by me and said a goose was nesting up there. I never spotted it though. Several joggers were out on the paths in the park. What a great place for a run! The morning light on the red, sandstone formations is really quite amazing!

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South Gateway Rock

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South Gateway Rock

I continued following the loop around the park and stopped at a few more pull-offs. I saw a guy taking a timelapse from behind North Gateway Rock with some great side lighting. I was immediately envious, if only I had more time!

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Backside of North Gateway Rock looking toward South Gateway Rock and other formations

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Cool rock formation just off of one of the parking areas

The High Point Overlook offers a great vantage point for many of the rock formations in Garden of the Gods. Several panoramic shots could be taken from this lookout. You can see several of the named rock formations from here. I had fun messing around with a few black and white edits of some of the formations.

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Looking north toward Sleeping Giant and Gray Rock

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Pike’s Peak from the High Point Overlook

I got lucky again and was able to head out to try sunset on the same day. It was pretty cloudy, but I was hoping for some great lighting to hit the clouds. Unfortunately, the sun didn’t light up the clouds as much as I had hoped, but I took a few images and then…I took a time lapse! It’s nothing spectacular, but interesting to watch the cloud evolution over the mountains.

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A cloudy evening over Pike’s Peak, not much color for this one unfortunately

Watch in HD!

Although my Garden of the Gods visit was short, there were many things to take pictures of. I still have a lot of the park left to explore, including hiking trails! I’ll have plenty of return visits to the area in the future as my sister is moving out here :-)

 

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