|Garden of the Gods|
Located in the foothills on the west side of Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods is renowned for its spectacular red sandstone formations.
|Description: The lake lies in a narrow canyon along Cottonwood Creek as a side trip on the route from Buena Vista over Cottonwood Pass. The south side of the canyon is steep and heavily forested, with spruce fir and aspen right down to the water. The inlet on the west is filled with thick willows and bulrushes. The north side along the road is a strip of wild rose, grasses, and forbs at the foot of steep cliffs.|
Wildlife to Watch: Mountain goats can be seen on the cliffs that start at the junction of the Cottonwood Pass road and the Cottonwood Lake Road, and taper out just past the lake. Viewers should pull off the road and view from the pullouts on the way to the lake. Check the interpretive sign at the lake’s West End for information about goats in general. From the exhibit watch for goats by looking northeast at the cliffs. Golden-mantled ground squirrels and chipmunks are common on dry, rocky slopes. Watch for deer and elk at the west side of the lake and check out the beaver ponds. Abundant beaver activity below the lake. Watch for waterfowl like blue-winged teal and mallards on the water. Surrounding forests are home to mountain birds such as gray and Steller’s jays, yellow-rumped warlbers, dark-eyed juncos, pine siskins.
Special Tips: Restaurant nearby.
Other Activities: Continue over Cottonwood Pass at 12,126 feet for good high elevation forest and alpine viewing.
Ownership: U.S.D.A. Forest Service
Size: 4,500 acres
Closest Town: Buena Vista
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: