Steamboat Rock and Balanced Rock are well-known tourist attractions in the heart of the Garden of the Gods. These iconic rocks were once privately owned, but today they are part of Colorado Springs’ famous city park.
Steamboat Rock once had steps carved into the rock that went to its top. Tourists eagerly climbed up to the observatory to view the beautiful geological wonders. Balanced Rock, the 700-ton attraction has—for millions years—withstood the inexorable forces of nature, including wind, cycles of freezing and thawing, earthquakes, and relentless erosion. Both scenic rocks are eroded sections of the Fountain Formation, a sandstone composed of unsorted sand and pebbles of many sizes that were washed down from the Ancestral Rocky Mountains.
A number of the Garden of the God’s landmarks, including Steamboat Rock and Balanced Rock, were shaped by erosion. Erosion continues today.
About the author: Steven Veatch is a writer and geoscientist. His family came to the Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mining District in the early 1890s where they mined for almost more than three decades. The other side of his family mined in the Caribou District in Boulder County, Colorado. Veatch lives next to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.