Colorado Springs, CO On our drive from Denver to Colorado Springs this morning, we stopped for a visit to the Garden of the Gods, designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971. Picture a giant 1,300-acre rock garden, composed of towering red sandstone formations sculpted by rain and wind over millions of years, against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak. The area now known as Garden of the Gods was first called Red Rock Corral by the Europeans. Then,in August 1859, two surveyors explored the site. One of the surveyors suggested that it would be a "capital place for a beer garden". His companion, the young Rufus Cable, awestruck by the impressive rock formations, exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods." It has been called so ever since. After lunch, it was all aboard the world’s highest cogwheel train for a ride up to the 14,115-ft. summit of Pikes Peak, the most visited mountain in North America and the 2nd most visited mountain in the world behind Japan's Mount Fuji. The views from Pikes Peak were said to be the inspiration for “America the Beautiful.” Pikes Peak is the 31st highest peak out of 54 Colorado peaks. It is the farthest east of the big peaks, which contributed to its early fame among explorers, pioneers and immigrants and made it the symbol of the 1859 Gold Rush to Colorado with the slogan, "Pikes Peak or Bust". The mountain is named in honor of American explorer Zebulon Pike, who was unable to reach the summit. Although the top was socked in with clouds so we had no view, we spotted 3 deer near the tracks and a herd of Big Horn sheep were actually on the tracks so it was a great trip up the mountain.