Insider tips

Nov. 22, 2017

Scenic Areas

Botanical Gardens (Montrose)




What: Montrose Botanical Gardens

Where: Montrose
When: Daylight hours (just open the gate if it’s closed — the gardens are never open to deer)

Lovely flowers, intriguing cacti and succulents, rare and native plants, lovely trees and shrubs, winding paths, and dramatic views of the San Juan mountains — Montrose Botanical Gardens has it all. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, you’ll find peace and natural beauty as you stroll around this small, but spectacular, garden located just south of the Montrose Pavilion / Events Center.

Be sure to spend some time in Gretchen’s Garden, created in memory of Gretchen Van Reyper, a local botanist who was known for her expertise in rare and native plants of western Colorado and eastern Utah. Relax on the flagstone patio surrounded by native flowers and shrubs and enjoy some of the best views of Mt. Sneffels and surrounding peaks you’ll hope to find.

Montrose Botanic Gardens
1800 Pavilion Dr
Montrose, CO 81401

(970) 249-2539

Additional directions:
From US 550 (Townsend), turn East on Niagara Road and continue 0.8 miles to Pavilion Drive. Turn right and park in the Pavilion parking lot. The entry gate to the Gardens faces north (toward the Pavilion building). 

Snow Goose Festival (Lamar)



What: High Plains Snow Goose Festival

Where: Lamar
When: 3 days in mid- to late-February

Snow Goose: Considered to be the most abundant goose in the world. This this is a prime opportunity to view these beautiful white geese by the thousands as they make their travel plans to return to the Arctic from their winter nesting areas.

There is a fee to participate in many of the events of this festival, but there are a number of outstanding activities and presentations which are free. Some of these require that you pre-register, so see the contact information at the bottom of this page. We’ll list a few of the free activities of the 2007 festival — check the website for a current listing.

Jackson’s Pond Tour (Eads) – Hear how the community has planned to save their natural area and wetland. Pre-register by calling (719) 438-2200.


Wildlife tour at John Martin Reservoir State Park – Keep your eyes peeled for raptors including Ferruginous Hawks, Northern Harriers, Red-tailed Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks and Kestrels. With luck, you may also spot Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles and Great Horned Owls.

Wildlife Watch Class – Enhance your outdoors experience by learning how to have more luck in spotting and watching wildlife. This class is being offered by the Division of Wildlife.

Kid Zone – Here’s a fun atmosphere for kids to learn about snow geese and other birds.


For more information, contact:
Lamar Chamber of Commerce
(719) 336-4379



Special thanks to photographer Alan L. Bauer for giving us permission to use his images of Snow Geese. Please visit for even more samples of his outstanding photography.


Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs)

What: Garden of the Gods Park, Visitor Center, Trading Post 

Where: Colorado Springs
Park hours:
 Summer 5:00 AM – 11:00 PM; Winter 5:00 AM – 9:00 PM
    Visitor Center hours: Summer 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM; Winter 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM;
closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Days
    Trading Post hours: Summer 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM; Winter 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM; open all year

Drive, hike, mountain bike, or horseback ride among spectacular red rock formations and all-around, jaw-dropping natural beauty. Technical rock climbers, who must first register at the Visitor Center to obtain a permit to climb, scale the towering cliffs of sandstone. Garden of the Gods Park is home to rock formations with intriguing names such as Giant Footprints, Kissing Camels, Siamese Twins, Three Graces, and Tower of Babel.

Legend has it that two surveyors came upon this natural wonder. One commented that it would be a “capital place for a beer garden.” His partner, Rufus Cable, having a greater appreciation for the uniqueness of the landscape, was taken aback. “Beer garden? Why, it is a place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods!”


The Visitor & Nature Center is worth a stop, with interesting exhibits, complimentary park maps, and even a free sample of fudge. The cafeteria offers a wonderful view of the region, with majestic Pikes Peak as a backdrop. Ask for a schedule of the free Nature Talks held on the terrace of the building, and free guided Nature Walks.

If all this free stuff has you itching to buy something, or if you just like to browse, be sure to head over to Garden of the Gods Trading Post toward the southwest end of the park. This adobe-style building has been expanded numerous times, and now houses the largest Trading Post in Colorado.

The range of merchandise boggles the mind. You’ll find the odd little five-and-dime sort of trinkets that the kids always seem to crave, as well as t-shirts galore. However, you’ll also discover a wonderful collection of Navajo rugs, sand painting, Pueblo pottery, gorgeous southwestern-style jewelry, and other beautiful items in the Art Gallery.

On the other hand, perhaps you’d be interested in a mounted jackalope trophy? Ask for another free taste of fudge at the Trading Post’s café before you head off into the park again for a picnic.

Check out both websites for coupons offering discounts on food and merchandise, as well as discounts for a 12-minute movie offered at the Visitor Center.

For more information, contact:
Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center
30th Street & Gateway Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
(719) 634-6666

Garden of the Gods Trading Post
324 Beckers Lane
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
(800) 874-4515 or (719) 685-9045

Additional directions:
Drive to Colorado Springs on I-25

If you are heading south, take Exit 146 (Garden of the Gods Road)
Drive West 2.3 miles on to 30th Street
Turn left onto 30th Street, and follow it 1.3 miles to the Visitor Center, which will be on your left.

If you are heading north on I-25, take Exit 141 (US 24 / Cimarron) toward Manitou Springs and Pikes Peak

Drive West 2.5 miles on US 24 to 31st Street
Turn right at 31st Street, and follow it 0.6 miles to Fontanero, where you will turn right
Follow Fontanero 1 block to 30th Street, and turn left on 30th Street
Continue north on 30th Street 1.2 miles to the Visitor Center, which will be on your right.

Aug. 22, 2017
May. 28, 2017


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We are interested in welcoming and sharing the bounty of Colorado! There is more than enough and with proper conservation and perservation of the existing treasure. We are confident that we can all live here in the quality of life and relaxed lifestyle that we have come to expect.

May. 24, 2017

An autumn and Thanksgiving to be grateful for! Light jacket, sweater and for sure, shorts are definitely part of my mix but I keep my warmer layers close...just in case 🙂


Pepsi Center is rocking tonite with the Av's playing and the night life in Denver tonite is great!


May. 5, 2017

Local to Denver, Day Hikes, Easy Access, God's Gift to this planet!