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Garden of the Gods earns another honor with Colorado Springs trail enthusiasts

January 22, 2015 Updated: January 22, 2015 at 12:52 pm
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photo - Members of the Falcon Wanderers Volksmarch Club hike under the Siamese Twins May 16, 2013, in Garden of the Gods.   (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Members of the Falcon Wanderers Volksmarch Club hike under the Siamese Twins May 16, 2013, in Garden of the Gods. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)  

And the winner is . Garden of the Gods. Again.

A new ranking of the Top 25 trails in the Pikes Peak region settled on one of the area's more popular and more lauded tourist attractions for its No. 1 spot.

It's little wonder. The list was compiled by the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau based in part on feedback from tourists, said Chelsy Offutt, the group's spokeswoman.

Rounding out the top five are Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Palmer Park and Austin Bluffs Open Space. Also making the cut are Barr Trail (No. 9), the Manitou Incline (No. 12), Catamount Trail (No. 16) and Mt. Herman Trail (No. 18).

It's all part of a campaign to show some love for the region's trails while knocking out the idea that Colorado's winters are reserved for skiing, Offutt said.

In an area packed with memorable hikes, finding variety was the easy part.

"We definitely wanted a nice mix of easy hikes the whole family could enjoy and things like the Incline, which outdoor enthusiasts enjoy," Offutt said.

Released late last week, the list already has generated excitement on Facebook, in what Offutt called an encouraging sign for the city's appeal.

A new map marking the locations of the hikes, with an assigned difficulty level, is available for $3 at the group's visitors center, 515 S. Cascade Ave.

The local list marks just the latest round of laurels for Garden of the Gods and its red rock spires.

In June, the travel website Trip-
Advisor selected the city park as its No. 1 park in the U.S. and the No. 2 park in the world, edging out New York's Central Park (No. 2) and Chicago's Millennium Park (No. 3). (Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada, was selected as the top park in the world by TripAdvisor.)

Garden of the Gods draws an estimated 2 million visitors per year - what city parks officials call a "guesstimate" based on the 750,000 visitors who stop by the visitors center.

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