COLORADO SPRINGS — Visitation at Garden of the Gods Park is booming. "We're up about 370-thousand visitors in 2021 compared to 2020," said Park Manger, John Stark. The jump is year to date. It is a large margin for just six months.
You also have to consider it is a comparison to months at the height of the pandemic. Contrasting to numbers before the pandemic in 2019, still show a significant increase. "Pre pandemic and visitation's up in the park as well, up around 180 thousand,” said Stark.
The increase is largely tourists who are again traveling. The higher numbers will help off-set revenue shortfalls during the height of the pandemic a year ago.
The sure also shows with traffic congestion. "Come to the park bright and early, come before nine. Come in the afternoon as well, come around four or so in the afternoon." Stark’s advice is to avoid mid-day crowds. Midday and weekends vehicles get backed up on park roads and parking lots, including the overflow parking lot, overflow. There are days when drivers end up parking along 30th Street near the park entrance.For now, park managers do not have major concerns about the crowding. "I think COVID is an unknown,” said Stark, “I think we're seeing the effects of people being excited to get out and travel and people can come to Garden of the Gods Park and recreate safely outside." Time will tell if this is a post pandemic spike or a new normal.