Practically begging you to take its picture minutes from both Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs, this 35-foot, 1.4-million-pound red rock is free to visit, photograph, and appreciate. Located near the southern entrance of the Garden of the Gods, Balanced Rock is an enormous, roadside sandstone boulder, which is frankly a natural piece of art.
With one look at the formation, it is very easy to see why this tourist attraction has been deemed “Balanced” Rock. The 700-ton spectacle juts out from a small base area and appears to be balancing above its surroundings. Faintly layered with different reddish hues, Balanced Rock is made up of hematite, coarse sand, silica, and gravel.
History and Cultural Significance
Like the other striking features within Garden of the Gods, Balanced Rock was formed by the uplift of the Rocky Mountains combined with erosion over millions and millions of years. Balanced Rock is located across the road from the additionally picturesque Steamboat Rock, with the pair of features sharing two, often crowded parking areas.
Due to the precariousness, many visitors wonder whether or not Balanced Rock will topple to the ground. While some concrete has been added to its base to prevent damage from tourists, most people believe that Balanced Rock is “rock solid” and would likely only fall down in the event of a large earthquake or another catastrophic event.
As one of the most popular attractions in Colorado Springs, visitors are encouraged to be respectful both of each other and of the natural wonder that is Balanced Rock. Before your visit, please note that drones are not permitted in the Garden of the Gods, and parking is only allowed in designated spaces
Millions of years in the making, Balanced Rock became a paid tourist attraction in the 1890s when a family bought the land, put up a fence, and began charging 25 cents to see the iconic formation. Joining the rest of the Garden of the Gods as a free attraction decades later, charged entry for Balanced Rock ceased in 1932 when the land was sold to the City of Colorado Springs.
Since the advent of the camera, Balanced Rock has been the subject of countless tourist photographs with popular poses like “holding up” or “pushing” the sandstone feature captured by visitors every day. Balanced Rock has also made its way into media many times over the last century, both in artwork and business.
For example, Balanced Rock was a central feature in this above-featured commercial for Resse’s Puffs Cereal in the 1990s.
How to Get to Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods
Beginning at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center, Balanced Rock is located approximately 3 miles into the park. Heading west towards the Central Gardens, take a right onto the Juniper Way Loop, circle the rock features, and eventually bear a right onto Garden Drive. Follow Garden Drive for about 1 mile and Balanced Rock will be on the right side of the road.
Alternatively, it is very easy to get to Balanced Rock via the park’s southern entrance, located near US 24 in Manitou Springs. From Manitou Ave (Business Route 24), cross over Fountain Creek on Beckers Ln, take a left on El Paso Blvd, and a right on Garden Drive. Once you’re in the park, Balanced Rock is just ahead, less than half of a mile on the left.
Address: Balanced Rock, Garden Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
County: El Paso County
Coordinates: 38.864766, -104.897439
Access: Paved roads
Hours: 5:00 am to 9:00 pm (10:00 pm in the summer)