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Gate Rock aka "North Gateway Rock"
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Gate Rock aka "North Gateway Rock"

Gate Rock <i>aka "North Gateway Rock"</i>

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.87990°N / 104.8809°W

Object Title: Gate Rock aka "North Gateway Rock"

County: El Paso

Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Toprope, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 6740 ft / 2054 m


Page By: Sarah Simon

Created/Edited: Jan 1, 2011 / Jan 1, 2011

Object ID: 688764

Hits: 4136 

Page Score: 87.76%  - 25 Votes 

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Kissing Camels Close-Up
Kissing Camels Close-Up

Visitors to Garden of the Gods who park in the main trailhead lot are greeted by a huge, red sandstone beast of an outcropping to their west. This is Gate Rock, often called “North Gateway Rock.” Gate Rock is also home to the locally famous “Kissing Camels” formation, which sits below and to the south of the summit. Gate Rock, or interchangeably North Gateway Rock, also harbors the infamous “Tourists Gulley,” thus named because many a scrambler has made their way up this YDS 5.0 gulley only to be unable to descend without assistance.

There are numerous climbing routes on North Gateway Rock, though many people use the Tourists Gulley or some variation to reach the actual summit. To the south is a place where climbers top out, complete with bolted anchors. To the north is the true summit, accessible via an exposed scramble (YDS 3+ to 4). In between sits “The Virgin,” an odd sandstone carving created “who knows when, by who knows who”, facing east between the two highpoints.

That this is a great sandstone feature to climb is notable enough, but the fact that Gate Rock sits within a city park, minutes away from much of the population of the city of Colorado Springs, makes this outcrop all the more amazing.

Rank: Unranked
Prominence: 200 feet
USGS Quad: Cascade
YDS Class by Easiest Route: 5.0

Rank & Prominence Source: Lists of John

Profile photo courtesy of Ed F.

Getting There

Pikes Peak
Gate Rock is on the right in this photo by notracks

Camerons Cone and Pikes Peak
Camerons Cone and Pikes Peak
Gate Rock
Gate Rock from the south

To reach Garden of the Gods from I-25
• Take Exit #146 (Garden of the Gods Road)
• Go west for 2.5 miles
• Turn Left onto 30th Street
• The Visitor & Nature Center will be on the left (a little over a mile)

The main parking area is in the far northern end of the park. Follow the park road west from the Visitors Center. When it becomes one-way, stay right. The main parking area is the first parking area encountered on your left.

Red Tape

Gate Rock, midway up Gulley
Gate Rock, midway up Tourists Gulley
High above the Garden
High above the Garden

Toward Queens Canyon
Toward Queens Canyon
Looking down upon the Garden
Looking down upon the Garden

Garden of the Gods is free to the public. Park hours are as follows:

May 1 - Oct 31 5am - 11pm
Nov 1 - Apr 30 5am - 9pm

Dogs are welcome on a leash 6 feet long or shorter and must be picked up after by their owners.

Garden of the Gods strictly manages climbing activity. In particular:

1. Scrambling is not allowed. You may walk and admire the formations, or use technical rock climbing gear to ascend them, but you may not scramble.
2. Do not climb in Garden of the Gods when the rock is wet. Climbing wet sandstone damages the formations and is dangerous to the climber.
3. All climbers must check in with the visitors center to fill out a free registration form.

4. Very importantly, climbing is prohibited on the north and east faces of Gate Rock, essentially those aspects facing the parking lot.

Click here for a full set of rules governing climbing in Garden of the Gods (PDF).


 The Virgin  on Gate Rock
"The Virgin" on Gate Rock
Climbing up Tourists Gulley
Climbing up Tourists Gulley

There is no camping in Garden of the Gods park.

Rustic car camping and backcountry camping can be found in the adjacent Pike National Forest. Be forewarned that the proximity of this area to the urban I-25 corridor means that crowding can be an issue, especially in the summer, and that unsavory characters are known to frequent this area. Be prepared for heavy ATV use, large crowds, drunkenness and casual firearms usage.

The nearest semi-developed US Forest Service campsites would be in the Rampart Reservoir area.

Meadow Ridge CampgroundThunder Ridge Campground
• 19 campsites
• 9,200 feet elevation
• Season: Generally early May through September
• $15 per night, per site
• Amenities include tables, fire grates, drinking water, latrines, and trash collection
• 21 campsites
• 9,200 feet elevation
• Season: Generally early May through September
• $15 per night, per site
• Amenities include tables, fire grates, drinking water, latrines, and trash collection


Manitou Springs
Nearby Manitou Springs lies at the foot of Ute Pass. This colorful, eclectic town offers a wide range of lodging options including old-style motor cottages and cabins, retro family-run motels, charming B&Bs and modern chain hotels. Shopping and dining are within walking distance of most Manitou lodging.

Colorado Springs
The hotel options in Colorado Springs are virtually limitless. If you are the 5-star luxury type, be sure to check out The Broadmoor.

Weather & Seasons

Eastward across suburban Colorado Springs
Eastward across suburban Colorado Springs
Northern summit and parking lot
Northern summit and parking lot

Due to relatively low altitude, Gate Rock is a reasonable year-round summit objective, weather permitting. Remember not to climb the sandstone following rain or snow. The heat and crowds of the high summer season may make this a less than pleasant place to visit on a weekend from June through August. Winter can be hit or miss here. One weekend brings high winds, frigid temperatures and scouring, driven snow while the next weekend may bring mild temperatures and sunshine.

Zone Forecast for Colorado Springs, CO


Pikes PeakThis photo shows North...Looking down upon the GardenGate RockKissing Camels Close-UpHigh above the GardenGate Rock from the south
Camerons Cone and Pikes PeakClimbing up Tourists GulleyGate Rock, midway up GulleyNorthern summit and parking lot"The Virgin" on Gate RockToward Queens CanyonEastward across suburban Colorado Springs
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