The plans were, as always, loose and easily changeable. We woke up decently early to head from South Fork towards Creede and take the Bachelors Loop Tour before heading on over to Lake City. By the way, the only reason we planned to go to Lake City is because the bf had mentioned this as a place I should visit more than a dozen times since our last visit and it was my goal to once and for all just make it out there, damn any and all impediments…of course that steely eyed determination and my own hubris would end up being my downfall but, more on that later.
I had actually previously visited Creede and the beginnings of the Bachelor loop but last time we had been driving a sedan and hadn’t been able to make it more than partially up the loop. This time, we were better prepared BUT unfortunately we didn’t take the weather into consideration and ended up having to stop even before we started, as the part of the loop that starts right past the mining museum was closed off with cinder blocks. And so that was disappointing but, I still got a chance to see the familiar structures from before and had fun driving through the sleepy town of Creede (it would be the first of many times we passed through it) before we headed back to our cabin to regroup for the day.
We had counted on using the next day to drive out to the Great Sand Dunes NP but after the bf looked up the weather forecast and saw a projected thunderstorm heading into that area, we headed back to South Fork to chill for a couple of hours before making the decision to finish out the day there. That part of the day at least, turned out to be perfectly planned.
I first heard of this park from the bf about 4 years ago, during our my first ever roadtrip. We were driving up from Santa Fe to Loveland, CO where his parents lived and on the way up we passed Colorado Springs and I remember his wistful expression as we passed by, the night well and truly upon us and no chance to stop by. We made our way back to Colorado the next year, for a long weekend spent in the San Juan Mountains and again we couldn’t make time to visit. This time though, once and for all, we got our chance to stop on by.
It wasn’t the best timing, since we squeezed it in the drive from Denver to South Fork and we didn’t arrive until almost noon (never go anywhere semi-popular at noon, even if it’s a weekday) but we made the most of it. I’ve been to some beautiful parks and seen more than my fair share of wonderful rock formations but Garden of the Gods was definetly worth a visit and I actually really regretted not arriving earlier to get a chance to explore the park more. There’s plenty of trails to choose from, and I think pretty much all of them link or loop into each other, so I would say it’s a park I would allot a couple of hours to if you have them to spare. We didn’t though, and after a short hike through one or two of the trails (don’t laugh but I honestly couldn’t tell you which one we started at and where we ended up going after it branched off twice) we made it back to the parking lot to find it overflowing with cars and pink faced adults applying sunscreen. The bf had his own pink cheeks to contend with and so we headed out, stopping by the trading post to buy some fudge and souvenirs (of course), ending our time in Colorado Springs with some tacos from Qdoba before heading back onto the road towards the San Juan Mountains.