You’ve hiked the trails. You’ve admired the formations. Are you ready to explore some of the remnants of the past and points that most people miss?
A) Hidden Inn – Built into the formations on the west side of the Kissing Camels, you only find the parking lot now used as the handicap accessible parking lot on the west base of the Kissing Camels formation. From the informational signage near parking 4, look north to see two vertical rocks and stairstep terrain where this historic building once was.
F) High Point Camera Obscura – A large rotating lens projected an image onto a concave screen in the middle of the room. The lens rotated 360 degrees with a descriptive narration as tourists stood in a dark room looking down onto the screen. Removed in 1993, just the parking lot is left, but the 360 degree view remains! It is located at the top of Ridge Road in Garden of the Gods. A sign now has the less glamorous name of “High Point – Parking Lot 9”. From West Colorado Avenue, turn north on 35th Street. Using this photo in your explorations, find the rocks that these people are standing on. You can also find a wall of the building’s foundation holding up the parking lot’s edge.
D) Pleasant Valley Reservoir #1 The dam is still intact on the south end. A nice trail follows along the hogback formation between the reservoir and the ranch. This trail is rarely used and a good place to explore.
William Palmer’s underground water supply line from Glen Erie to the White House Ranch. You can still find the manhole-like accesses built with native stone. They almost look like shallow wells. This runs parallel to the north-south foot and bicycle trail below the visitor’s center. An old cement holding pond is near Glen Erie along this route.
Indian Cave with inscriptions and artifacts – OK, this is just a teaser. It exists, but it has been sealed up by the parks department for protection. You can’t really explore this, but it’s a fun piece of history! Hint: The entrance is not far from the Hidden Inn’s location.
B) Early pioneer’s names and dates etched into the sandstone near the Perkins plaque. Even older dates on White Rock, nearby.
C) Chuckwagon dinner and show Did you know that the Flying W Ranch had competition back in the 50s? The JC’s Chuckwagon Dinner and show was arguably more popular than Flying W back in the day. The location is right at the entrance to Garden of the Gods. Nothing there now but a circular area between the North Gateway Rock and White Rock. You pass through this area when walking between the Parking Lot 2 and the central garden area.
B) The original road, between the sandstone formations. The entrance road originally ran between the main formations straight to the Hidden Inn. A footpath follows this route somewhat. The T intersection at the entrance originally went straight ahead with the Perkins plaque next to the road.
E) Seal Making Love to a Nun The promoters of Colorado Springs (Not William Palmer) came up with the name of this formation, getting the attention that they were seeking. The locals were shocked! (This term meant wooing, or courting, back then.) A piece of this formation has fallen off due to natural erosion of the soft sandstone, but it is still accessible if you know where to look. It was later called the Seal and Bear formation but you won’t find either of the names in the park’s information. The seal is now gone but the bear (or nun) is still looking longingly at where the seal was once perched.
Conspiracy theory: Did erosion or the puritans cause the fall of the seal? Actually, it fell during a heavy rain in the 1940’s.
Can you find this formation in your explorations? This view is looking east. The nun/bear is still sitting patiently on top of her rock.