New overlook, improved bathrooms open at Garden of the Gods

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Panoramic view from top of new lookout

Panoramic view from the new overlook

Visitors to Garden of the Gods Park can now enjoy a new view of the park’s massive red rock formations from a brand new overlook. The overlook also serves as the roof of new and more accessible restrooms. The architecture and aesthetics of the new building complement and blend into the natural environment.  

The overlook and restrooms are located at the main parking lot on the north side of the park. That is lot 2 if you are looking at a map of the park.

Millions of people visit the park every year, and the old restroom facilities were run down and too small to accommodate all the visitors. The new building has expanded from just four restrooms to one family/unisex restroom, five men’s and seven women’s. 

Since the park needed a new restroom facility, the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department took the opportunity to incorporate additional features that enhance visitor experience. This includes the new roof deck overlook, an improved gathering plaza, improved accessibility, improved park information stations, and a new drinking water and water bottle filling station. 

“For many visitors this is now their first stop. They park in the main parking lot and come up here to take in this amazing view before continuing on their adventure through the park.” Says Garden of the Gods Park manager John Stark.

Public Process and Funding

Public participation played a crucial role in the project from the start. Input from community meetings and feedback about the site, concept plan, and design was used to develop and implement the final plan.

The project cost $1.2 million. It was funded by The Garden of the Gods Foundation, Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS), and Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax (LART).

Other Projects In and Near the Park

Improvements are taking place all around Garden of the Gods Park. Some of them will impact people coming to visit the park. Here’s what you need to know.

Second Restroom Project

The next restroom facility to be constructed in Garden of the Gods Park will be at Parking Lot 7.  That lot is right after you turn left at the fork in the road on the west side of the park. This location will serve as a great resting point for those visitors enjoying the Central Garden.  Construction is anticipated to begin in 2020.

Improvements to 30th Street 

The planned widening of 30th Street between Mesa Road and Fontanero Street, along with a roundabout at Gateway Road (the main entrance to Garden of the Gods Park) are currently in the design phase. Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2020 and be completed by fall 2021. Colorado Springs Utilities is already doing some utility work along that stretch. 

The project will also include new water quality ponds and trail connections including an underpass at Gateway Road for the Foothills Trail.

There will be traffic delays getting into the park during the construction, and detour signs and flaggers will be present to direct traffic. We thank you in advance for your patience while these improvements are constructed. 

Garden of the Gods Flood Mitigation Facility

As you approach the main Garden of the Gods Park entrance from the north, you may notice construction work taking place on the far northeastern end (away from the main rock formations) of the park. Water Resources Engineering is building a detention and sediment collection basin that will help protect the Park, Rock Ledge Ranch, and about 110 homes along 31st Street from flooding.

Preserving the park’s iconic view while protecting it and downstream communities from flooding is a key goal. When completed, the project will blend into the natural environment. Nearly all of the dam will be covered with soil and planted with native grasses and shrubs similar to the existing vegetation on the site. 

General Palmer Exhibit

During the preparation for the detention pond, Anna Cordova, Lead Archeologist for the City of Colorado Springs, made a once-in-a-lifetime discovery when she found artifacts from Colorado Springs founder General William Palmer. Work on the detention pond was postponed while archeologists from across the country excavated the site. They unearthed tens of thousands of artifacts connected to General Palmer and his residence at the nearby Glen Eyrie Castle. They give insight into personal details and his everyday life. The artifacts are now on display at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.

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