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Stephen Thompson captures a picture of 14,115-foot Pikes Peak and the red rocks of Garden of the God Park in February while hiking the Ridge Trail loop in the Colorado Springs park. 021522-news-valentines-hike.jpg (copy)

A new audio tour offers another way to experience Garden of the Gods.

The city of Colorado Springs recently announced the creation through TravelStorysGPS, a Wyoming-based company that, by its own description, “develops highly accessible, trusted technology for presenting place-based, authentic content to orient, inform and inspire people in real time as they travel.”

The company lists more than 200 narrations compiled at parks and historic sites around the country. Now one is available for Garden of the Gods, offering insight on the preserve’s natural and cultural history. People can listen to it remotely online or by downloading the free TravelStorysGPS app on their phone for their drive into the Garden.

“Being able to hear directly from Garden of the Gods experts as you drive through the park makes this renowned experience even more special,” Bret Tennis, a park administrator, said in a news release, adding he hopes listeners leave “feeling both inspired and that they learned something new.”

Speakers include the city archaeologist, rangers and other staff. Topics span the park’s rock intrigues, including Tower of Babel, Siamese Twins and Balanced Rock, along with other parts of the scenery: Cheyenne Mountain’s “secret military base” and a marker for the historic Ute Trail, a reminder of the forced removal of Indigenous people here.

Anna Cordova, the city archaeologist, speaks to Utes’ past and present relationship with the land. “Recent archaeological studies inside the park have explored hearths almost 4,000 years old,” she says. “A hearth can be formed from campfires or family cooking pits that were used for many years.”

The audio tour includes mention of people like Charles Strausenback, who started the Trading Post in 1929. There’s also talk of a much older resident, the Theiophytalia kerri dinosaur discovered here.

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