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Garden of the Gods & Glen Eyrie Adventure in Colorado Springs

Updated: Mar 12

Colorado Springs is a favorite travel destination for all the right reasons.

In this Garden of the Gods & Glen Eyrie Adventure I will help plan your time accordingly. And just because there's so much to do here, I will add in a third fun day for your enjoyment.

Itinerary fun: How to spend 3 Days in Colorado Springs and feel like royalty!


the Glen Eyrie gardens for exploring
Zen out in a beautiful place for deep breathing

Have you ever wanted to wake up in a castle and look out the windows taking in the sweeping views while stretching your arms over head for that first morning breath? If so, this trip is for you!


~Underlined bolded text will link to the accompanying website for your convenience~


Be the King or Queen of the Castle then walk among the Garden of the Gods, and be lifted in spirit by the beauty and elevation of these magnificent places. Unique views you will not see anywhere else exist here and wait to be discovered. Colorado Springs sits one mile above sea level. Read that again and let me translate: if you’re not used to the elevation, there may be some adjustment time needed for this to be enjoyable. The best remedy for altitude sickness is hydration. Please drink more water than you think you’ll need. This oasis in the sky feels closer to heaven and the air will feel lighter.


The Glen Eyrie Estate in Colorado Springs
The Glen Eyrie Castle, which was built in 1871

Colorado Springs is located on the eastern edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains; the terrain here is unlike that of any other you will see. The weather of this region is often sunny, and experiences all four seasons, with December or January being the coldest months.  July is the warmest month.  Pike’s Peak and the Rocky Mountains have always attracted tourists for their striking views. In short: Beautiful weather makes this even more alluring. There is a lot to do here, if you’d like to expand your vacation time and dig deeper into the rich culture and sites. Many of the people who live here now, came to visit and couldn't get enough.


Colorado Springs on the map
Map of US Colorado Springs

Getting here: For the most economic flight options, we flew into Denver airport, which was over an hour drive from Colorado Springs. We Ubered to the Glen Eyrie which was our 5-day home. I’ll admit, if you are planning on branching out, it is easier to have a vehicle. For our purposes, we didn’t need the additional expense and found Ubering a few times to be an overall budget saver!


Driving into The Glen Eyrie is breath taking. So many of the drives here will be, so prepare to be lifting your jaw off the ground often! The road trips are a part of the journey, scenic and breathtaking.


The Glen Eyrie Castle Estate & Conference Center hosts guests for number of reasons. They have both castle rooms for booking, or several lodge options. As a Yoga & Art retreat, we stayed in the Big Horn Lodge which we found to be perfect for our needs. In the planning stages, we were assigned a contact who was very responsive and accommodating to our many questions and requests. Working out the details was the fun part 🥰



While you do not have to stay on site to visit the grounds, reservations do need to be made for your tour, tea, castle access, or hiking. Staying on site was like a dream, waking up in our castle room, with a stunning bathroom feeling like a throwback to another era in time. While showering, the stained-glass sky light overhead made me feel extra fancy. Yet modern cooling and electricity gave the comforts of modern life. This is something different. Waking up already there we were ready to take advantage of enjoying the estate grounds.


Food: You'll eat well here. The Glen Eyrie does serve breakfast daily and this can be available to anyone who reserves. But what I want to tell you is as a guest on the retreat we were able to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner here which was incredible. Their chefs prepare fresh meals for each serving, and all food is served buffet style. The options are impressive. They can accommodate special diet needs as well, but I have to stress how delicious the food was. Great eating!


ladies looking at the castle
Admiring the view, treating ourselves well!

The beautiful stone walled castle against magnificent red rock spires paint this adventure as a scenic delight. This entire estate feels like a movie scene, too good to be true. Beautifully kept grounds and manicured spaces invite you to wander, explore, and enjoy each breath. The magnificent landscape is the perfect backdrop for mental reset, and spiritual attunement.

 

Angelique of Whole Image Wellness and I hosted this Yoga & Art retreat here in June of 2023. We chose this location because of the unique setting, all-inclusive environment, and also, the remoteness. We searched for the perfect place to bring 17 people who wanted a place to dig deeper and reset for increasing peace, creativity and purpose. Our reviews reflected we succeeded.


Retreat leaders at the Glen Eyrie Estate
We've arrived! We are ready for some fun!

Recommendation: Spend at least one night in the historic castle.

Why this is cool: Yes, there is history, you’ll need at least one full day to get the full experience. With Garden of the Gods as the neighboring property, you’ll be amazed by the rocks, wildlife, and of course the castle grounds. We saw deer, big horn sheep, turkeys, and one of our friends saw a mountain lion on a morning walk! Built in 1871, and many times since renovated, this 800-acre estate can’t be missed! There are two dining rooms, a café, bookstore, rose garden, reflection pond, and some stunning spaces created for quiet time.


Day 1: Enjoy the castle!

The grounds of the Glen Eyrie have 16 trails (some leading right to the Garden of the Gods – save this for tomorrow) and much to be seen. Hike, wander, sit in the gardens, this property is built for serenity. There are hammocks for lounging and benches appropriately placed for journaling with a view. We walked, and sat, and walked and sat some more. Be sure your day includes each of the bolded suggestions but call ahead to reserve as times do book in advance!

Teatime – don’t miss this event! Hosted in the castle music room the ambiance itself is worth the visit. Reserve ahead of time to ensure participation.

$36.00/ per person, teatime lasts from 11a – 3pm. As a woman on a budget this price sounds steep for tea, however this is NOT just tea. You’ll be served soup, salad, sandwiches and provided with a three tired delightful of canapes and sweets from their seasonal menu. Work your way up the tiers where everything is edible, including the garnishes. Each guest gets an individual pot of tea of their choosing, cubed sugar, and the food is delicious and filling. We had a 12:00 tea, the 2:00 tour and were still full at dinner time!

Castle Tour – Limited times to choose from, reserve your time in advance of your stay. 90 minutes long. Begins with a short video.

Mon – Sat 12:00 pm, Mon – Sun – 2:00, $12 per person



The tour... is the only way to experience all of the castle’s magnificence, as there is no exploring on your own. Many castle areas are roped off to the visitor, and the tour allows the story to be told with appreciation of the items on hand, architecture, and design. Gain insight into the Palmer family. William Jackson Palmer who was a General in the Union Army during the Civil War, president of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and founder of Colorado Springs! He built the estate because of it’s elevation and having a daughter who suffered from lung problems, he built a porch/ sunroom for her healing. Take in what their lifestyle was like, as an intercom system and other luxuries were built in ahead of their time. Even the effort taken to prevent or manage fires is intriguing. This man built a home he was proud of. Interesting to hear about the political and religious significance of the area. Colorado history, family history and connection to the Navigators, who presently own and manage the estate. The carriage house, tunnel and second floor are all brought to life on the tour.


Glen Eyrie Castle from the second floor view point
View from the second floor of the court yard

Hikes – Being on the northern border of the Garden of the Gods, this is a continuation of the majestic deeply colored rock formations made of striking sandstone. The 16 trails are all over the estate, for which a more map is given at the Carriage House visitor desk. Hikes vary in elevation, length and difficulty. Beautiful views and nature surround you, and this is an incredible opportunity to explore. Some of our group caught the sunrise from the Grave trail. They took some amazing photos and shared with the group.



Map detailing some of the sights of Glen Eyrie
Glen Eyrie Estate map

Ropes Course – Challenge Accepted! All I can say here is WOW! We did the ropes team building activity and found this transformational. Climb the wall and develop inner strength and mindset. This was a 2-hour guided activity with incredible coaches who tied this activity in with faith and made it fun. Don't mistake that as meaning it is so easy to do, but being able to push through the challenge and reach the top was invigorating! How appropriate too, as this is a region many people travel just to climb rocks and mountains.



Gardens – The Rose Garden and Echo Rock are two specific places where guest can take in the beauty. These are both relatively small, but gems offered for individual discovery and appreciation of all God’s glory in creation. Manicured spaces in the middle of the wilderness feel extra vibrant. I truly felt blessed to experience so much of the diversity of creation while I was here. I could see the artwork of heaven.


Down time included amenities such as hammocks, corn hole, and boardgames.


Recommendation: Plan a morning visit here. Hike and explore the amazing grounds. Arrive early for the best chance to see wildlife and less crowds. Bring a cooler, water and snacks. There is a gift shop and café, however I felt that both of these were extremely overpriced to make up for the free entry and shuttle. This could easily become a full day if you plan for the elements properly. There is not much shade, and the bright sunshine will make it’s presence known on a sunny day. Bring sunscreen, or a sun hat! See the Indoor Museum, visitor’s center, free shuttle and walk through the trails and loops that connect you up-close and personal with these beautiful sandstone structures.

Why this is cool: Kept free forever to the public by an agreement between the children of Charles Perkins who donated the 480 acres to the city of Colorado Springs. However, plenty of touring options are available if you do want to send some money here. See the grounds by jeep, horseback or even a personal tour. This is the second most visited park in the country for a reason, people want to see this natural wonder. If as a child you ever wanted a rock garden, this will blow your mind. The rock scape garden consists of 300-foot-tall sandstone structures that make the most interesting shapes. This rocky park of many formations can be climbed, seen and felt, the backdrop is Pikes Peak which looks just 10 miles in the distance. Its snowcapped mountain tops are visible from much of the park. While erosion is credited for the work taking millions of years to explain the magnificence, God's art to me is much more obvious an explanation.


Glen Eyrie teatime, so great to go there
Teatime in the Music Room! Such a great experience

Day 2: Garden of the Gods - Stunning geological wonder

Free Entry, parking and shuttle. Opens at 5 am daily, closed at 9pm (Nov. 1 – Apr. 30) or 10 pm (May 1 – Oct. 31).

Visitor Center and shuttles are 9 – 5 (Nov. 1 – Apr. 30) and 9 – 6 (May 1 – Oct. 31).

Visitors hike, bike or horseback ride here. Most commonly you will be able to enter and explore, taking in massive rocks!


Woman in the rocks at the Garden of Gods
Feeling triumphant in Garden of the Gods

First – enter the Visitor and Nature Center to get your free map. Take some time to check out the interactive exhibits. The map was helpful as much of the park is not well labeled.

Shuttles run during the summer through the 3rd week in August from 9 – 5:30. These are 14 passenger vans that loop through the following 4 stops continuously: 1. GOTG Visitor & Nature Center. 2. Central Garden 3. Overflow parking lot 4. Historic Rock Ledge and Ranch Entrance.

Out shuttle drivers had great suggestions and shared park history which made the ride even better.


Garden of the Gods locals, big horn sheep
Big Horn Sheep greeting us as we arrived

Hikes:

With 21 miles of trails that could work for any level of adventure, you’ll be glad you came!

There are 4 Main options I’ll emphasize here, many are connected by common paths.

** Perkins Central Garden Trail: The main trail through the heart of the garden, a 1.5 looping trail that is easy to navigate. We hiked here on the paved trail and found ourselves at the base level of several rock formations we were able to climb into. Advertised as taking 25 minutes, we took our time and took about an hour with our photo shoots and having fun in the rocks themselves.

** Ridge Trail: This path has more elevation (only 100 feet but feels like more) and makes a ½ mile loop through some of the steep rocks. Some rocky, uneven terrain with stairs along the way.

**Siamese Twins Trail: Classified as an easy hike, this 1-mile round trip gravel pathway has over 100 feet of rising, and a unique view of Pikes Peak through the natural window of the Siamese Twins. Some trail stairs, and narrow areas.

** Garden of the God’s Outer Loop: is a 6-mile easy path with hills and some paved and unpaved sections. This is great for walking or biking.

From the parking lot overflow you could also follow the paved foothills to the paved gateway trail. This pathway leads to crossing the road and then begins at the Central Garden Trail. This is an easy low 2.5-mile hike.


** None of the pictures do this land justice. They cannot capture the magnificence of the size and color of the rock, or the energy you feel by being among them. I can only stress how good it felt being here. The ability to explore this landscape is in my top memories. And being there with other people as excited as I was to wander, take photos, and have fun made my heart overflow!


While there is a hike directly from Glen Eyrie to the Garden of the Gods for walking, this may consume more energy that you wish to spend getting there. We walked about 3 miles total inside of the Garden of the God's park, even using the shuttle. Considering how spread out this park is, I would recommend an Uber or Lyft if you do not have a vehicle. It is a scenic walk of just over a mile if you do want to take the trail.


On the drive between Garden of the Gods and Glen Eyrie we ended up missing our turn and on the most scenic road to be found. High Point Overlook should be on everyone's bucket list, as the rocks are seen from yet another perspective, yet you find yourself engulfed by their presence.


Fun in the rocks! Garden of the Gods
Retreat Guests are enjoying the Garden of the Gods

A word about taking a retreat....

A break from your typical circle and scenery, retreats offer fresh ideas and perspectives. Combining both intentional activities for mindset or personal growth with adventure or relaxation finding a group of like-minded individuals to take a short journey with can be transformative!


Day 3: There are some AMAZING options here.

Manitou Springs: We opted for visiting and walking through Manitou Springs. This was a fun way to explore the local village and work in in some fun food, souvenirs, and local vibe. We stopped and picked up an adjustable cup, then treasure hunted the seven springs spread throughout the village to drink from the springs.


Hiking up into the clouds
The Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs

There are also hikes in Manitou Springs for those who want the challenge!

Check out the Manitou Incline - Free. Reservations required. This is not for the faint of heart as there are 2.744 stairs. Time to complete varies from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. One of the most popular trails to hike in Colorado as it inclines over 2000 feet! "only" .9 of a mile, but the grade varies between 41% - 68% making this a lot of work! Note this is recommended as a one-way trek - there are places to exit and hike or decline if you chose not to go to the top, but the path is not meant to be walked backwards. Beginning at the base of Barr Trail across from the Cog Railroad, parking instructions can be found on the link above.


Barr Trail - the 12 + mile hike which ultimately meets Pike's Peak summit. 23 miles there and back with lots of camping and backpacking along the way. Should only be planned by those who are experienced as this is considered a challenging route! (This is more than a 1-day event while visiting)


Gold Belt Scenic Byway - Drive alongside the former railroad and stagecoach routes that serviced the mining towns of the old days. A walk/ drive through time with a beautiful view.


Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings - Ancient Pueblan people lived here 700 years ago, and their cultural displays impact this entire area. Diver deeper by visiting the dwelling places, and two museums worth of information and relics. Prices range from $8.00 (children) to $12.75 (adults) and those under 4 enter free.


Cave of Winds Mountain Park - An Amusement Park for explorers, this excavated cave from 1881, was the original visitor attraction of Colorado Springs. A variety of tours take you to the edge of the canyon, or inside of it! There is a roller coaster, challenge course and panning for gems. Prices vary and can be costly! Click the link for specific details.


Taking pictures in Colorado Springs
Hopping out of the car along the scenic byway!

This 3 Day Itinerary in Colorado Springs:

Secure the Glen Eyrie estate for your lodging.

Day 1: Spend touring the castle, dressing up for teatime, and hiking some of the coolest trails.

Day 2: Venture into Garden of the Gods for amazing hiking and geological information.

Day 3: Visit Manitou Springs for any of the adventures which suit your needs, budget, and physical ability!


The Glen Eyrie also offers retreats on a regular basis, and you should check their offerings HERE.

Whole Image Wellness also offers amazing retreats, check their offerings HERE.


When our time together came to a sad end, we all agreed to keep in touch.

During our Create Your Zen yoga & Art retreat we enjoyed 2 yoga classes daily, 1 art class (all materials provided), all meals included, and evenings were spent at the firepit having some amazing discussions. Part of a good retreat is a well-made itinerary, ours is posted for an example of what you can expect.


Yoga and Art retreat itinerary
Our Create Your Zen itinerary

Our yoga & art classes were designed for participants of all skill levels! Individualization and personal help are a priority for this event.


Art: Have you ever painted landscapes on site? Art is not about the product, but the process. With a variety of skill levels, everyone was able to experience the colors and environment in a creative way. We started each class with some art therapy and visualization exercises. This was a real-life goal met for me, as I've always envisioned painting striking landscapes far from home. The cool part of it, is each person took home a souvenir they made from their own viewpoint.


Having fun paining the view on our Yoga and Art retreat
Art collage of our Create Your Zen Retreat, all materials included

Yoga with Angelique is a gift to your body and mind. In the lodge we practiced Restorative Yoga which consists of long deep stretches, and guided meditation. Outside, our 7 AM classes gave us a great way to greet the sun as it came up over the canyon. Deer and Big Horn Sheep came to watch us! Deep breaths, long stretches and the motivation of Angelique to get past mental blockages and reach new goals. I have to emphasize yoga extended beyond our class times and we all took photos of each other doing big poses in all of the scenic places we visited! I love how she adds positive affirmations throughout her classes and helps encourage her class to accept and love yourself as you are!


This was a special trip for Angelique, as she was gaining her Master's of Science degree in Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine while we were on this retreat. She was double booked and chose Colorado Springs over the graduation ceremony! So, we took our own photos.


Yoga at the Glen Eyrie and Garden of the Gods
On our Create Your Zen Yoga & Art Retreat, Yoga!

Once the retreat ended, most of the participants headed home, while a few of us ventured on to Moab, which was a 6-hour scenic route away. This extension opportunity was something I personally felt called to do as I'd visited Arizona and Utah a few years prior and didn't have the time on that trip to make Moab happen. This is not a quick trip. These amazing parks need a few days of their own and I couldn't be 6 hours away and NOT take advantage. Plus, I love a good road trip! For more about Moab, click HERE.


On our next retreat, Majestically Montana we will be staying in a lodge in scenic Noxon on the Bull River, then offering the extension of Glacier National Park to all participants. Check out this affordable retreat opportunity HERE.


Tips:

*Drink more water than you think you need!

*BYOW - Bring Your Own Water! Many places do not sell water or have it available on demand.

*Footwear counts - Wear shoes supportive for lots of walking/ hiking, you'll wish you did!

*ChapStick is important - Or lip balm of your choice, the dry climate will make your lips feel sandy!!

*Dress in layers - We were told by many how we hit the perfect weather, which was chilly in the morning, hot in the afternoon, and cooled quickly in the evenings. This was June! Have clothes you can comfortably add to or subtract to stay comfortable.

The Glen Eyrie time to breathe on lawn
Deep breathing on the castle lawn

*Take a break from screen time/ turn off the TV!! If you're staying at the Glen Eyrie there are no televisions in the rooms. Enjoy the nature and quit of this serene environment.

*Bring your empty journal - the inspiration here is clarifying and may lead to many thoughts you want to expand on later.

*Pack a cooler for day trips - You'll want some drinks and snacks as the climate can sneak up on you! Stay hydrated and keep something salty/ sweet depending on your needs. When hiking, you may be farther than you'd like to get to convenience items.

*Take more photos - Wow. The views here are unbelievable. I often take photos and when I returned home, I was disappointed with my photo collection! I wanted more.

*I take trips to celebrate and reinforce my own milestones. I connect myself with nature and culture more as my reward. This helps me to stay focused and on track in my work and personal goals. This trip was VERY rewarding as the beauty, nature, art, and culture all proved very powerful.


Big Horn Sheep herd on a plateau
The natives of Colorado Springs

Travel Reminders....

~Wherever your travels take you, be sure to keep your presence in the moment.

~Nature is healing, grounding and living. Tune in.

~Enjoy where you are at. Be a little flexible with people and their navigation of time.

~Let go of things you can't control.

~Remember to put your people above things, and cherish the memories.

~Do things that will make you proud of yourself when you remember the scenario.

~Live more, in abundance and walk in your own footsteps.

~Breathe fresh air, feel the flow of water, and find your own level.


Mz. Savvy


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I specialize in helping families spend more time enjoying their quality time together and less time having to figure it all out. My four children have been my test subjects of how to plan a great family adventure for many years and now that my youngest is 19, many of my travels are work related, or grandma related! As time has changed, I've evolved but I still LOVE TO TRAVEL, explore, wander, visit, discover, learn and love. I gravitate towards nature and there I find my happy place. I use the term single not to emphasize my status but to signify that if I can manage some family fun on a limited teacher's salary with four children, anyone can do it. I am very intentional in how I spend my time and earnings. I am a believer in prayer and quality time! I typically seek out budget friendly ways to enjoy my time, but will occasionally splurge for the right reasons :-)


A note from the editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning your trip.

I appreciate you stopping by today, please subscribe and share so we can stay connected.

My goal is to make traveling easier for families and cut down on the planning process. 💜


Maybe you need some self-care or a trip dedicated to inner peace, creativity and finding your Zen? Then this retreat is for you: Art. Yoga. Soul. Join us!! This adventure will focus on the beauty with in and the beauty surrounding us. Affordably priced to fit your budget. Glacier National Park addition for all who join now.

Yoga. Art. Soul. Retreat. Majestically Montana
Majestically Montana Retreat, July 2024












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