at Garden of the Gods
Check back for 2024 details
The Starlight Spectacular is back!! Join us for a unique nighttime experience in Garden of the Gods. This event is open to cyclists, including e-bikes, runners and walkers. The runners/walkers have a special 5k route following Juniper Way through the Garden of the Gods on a closed course. The bikes have a course that is 7 miles and includes riding through the Garden of the Gods and through the nearby historic neighborhood (open course). This is a truly spectacular event under the stars, where participants put on their favorite glow in the dark gear, light up their bikes, and ride or run into the beautiful Colorado night in the Garden of the Gods. This year’s theme is Space Fantasy! Along the way you’ll find “rest stops”, and other random entertainment. A truly one-of-a-kind experience!
Schedule of Events:
Registration / Packet Pick up: 7:00 – 11:00 PM
Pre-event Festivities: 7:30 PM
Best Glow Contest for Runners/Walkers: 8:30 PM
Runners/Walkers start: 9:00 PM
Course closed to Runners/Walkers: 10:30 PM
Pre-event Festivities: 10:00 PM
Best Glow Contest for Bike Riders: 10:30 PM
Bikes start: 11:00 PM
Course closed to Bikes: 12:30 AM
Event Ends: 12:45 AM
PANCAKES 9:30PM – 12:30AM
Best light display Contest
Live music + Festival Zone
The Starlight Spectacular is partnering with Galvanize Recycling to collect your gently used running and hiking shoes, cycling gear, and Cycling clothing. Bring your items to the Festival Zone and the event and drop it off at the Galvanize truck. They will then distribute items where needed or submit for recycling. (Note: you must be able to manually transport them to the Festival Zone, there will be no vehicle access)
Decorate yourself, your bike or your stroller in festive lights and get ready to experience the Garden in a whole new way. 2023 Starlight Spectacular shirts may be purchased on the TOSC Bonfire shop page. (click here)
- Before the fun starts, visit the festival zone for live music! Festival Zone opens at 7:30pm.
- Run/Walk – Start at 9:00pm. Run/Walk the Juniper Loop at night after the park closes!
- Bike Ride – Starts at 11:00pm. This fun ride goes through the Garden of the Gods and follows an open road course through historic neighborhoods of the west side of Colorado Springs back to the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center.
- Combo Club – Feeling ambitious? Join the walkers/runners at 9:00pm AND the bikers at 11:00pm. This exclusive club will be limited to 100 participants.
- The 5k fun run/walk route starts on Juniper Way, in front of the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center, and follows the road around the central Garden of the Gods. Along the way, there will be two amazing rest stops to visit.
- The bike ride will follow a 7 mile route through the Garden of the Gods and will pass through historic west side neighborhoods including Pleasant Valley. This route will be on a closed course through the park but will be an open route through neighborhoods.
- Finish the night with celebratory pancakes, cooked and served by area Boy Scouts, in the parking lot of the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center.
- Packet Pickup will start at 7:00 PM the August 5th at the Check-in/Registration area in the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center.
Costume Contest! Best decorated male and female will each win a bike from Ted’s Bicycles valued at $530! Runner/Walker male, female, and kid winners will win a prize package with goodies from Fjallraven, Colorado Running Company, and Cave of the Winds!! 8:30pm – Contest for best decorated runners/walkers. 10:30pm – Contest for best decorated bikes. The contest and judging will take place near the lower entrance at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center.
Safety Information: Every runner/walker needs a flashlight or light on their person. Every bike rider needs a helmet and light on their bike.
Please leave pets at home!
We love dogs; but for safety reasons, dogs cannot be allowed at this event.
Parking: The first dirt parking lot, known as the overflow parking lot or Rock Ledge Ranch lot, is the event parking. Please arrive early to beat the rush! When possible, please carpool.
Thanks to PikeRide for partnering with TOSC by making ebikes available for Starlight Participants to rent.
All bikes have been reserved for the 2023 event.
Online Registration ends 8/4/23 at NOON (you can still register the night of the event starting at 7:00 PM)
Early Bird Pricing
Adult Bike Ticket (16+) – $40 ($50 night of)
Kids Bike Ticket (age 3-16) – $15 ($25 night of)
Military Bike – $35 ($45 night of)
Early Bird Pricing
Adult Walk/Run (16+) – $40 ($50 night of)
Kids Walk/Run (3-16) – $15 ($25 night of)
Under 3 Years Old Walk/Run – FREE
Military Walk/Run $35 ($45 night of)
Early Bird Pricing
Combo Club Adult (16+) – $55 ($65 night of)
Combo Club Kid (3-16) – $30 ($40 night of)
You will need to sign the event waiver when you check in the evening of the event.
If you want to by tickets at the event please plan to arrive by 7:30 PM for run/walk or arrive by 9:15 PM for bike ride.
Please note event t-shirts are no longer available.
Frequently Asked Questions
YES!! All runners/walkers MUST have a flashlight or headlamp and all cyclists MUST have either a bike light or headlamp! We encourage everyone to add lights and get creative! Limited light sales will be available at the event. If you do not have proper light equipment, you will NOT be allowed to participate.
All participants are encouraged to wear costumes and decorate their bikes! This year’s theme is Space Fantasy. There will be a costume and glow contest for the runners/walkers and for the bicycles. Two grand prizes from Ted’s Bicycle Shop will be awarded.
Yes, all cyclists are REQUIRED to wear a helmet.
PikeRide is partnering with the Trails and Open Space Coalition to make it even easier for you to participate in the Starlight Spectacular in Garden of the Gods! You can now reserve a PikeRide for the Starlight Spectacular by clicking here. The cost will be $10 for the evening. PikeRide will make sure a bike is ready and waiting for you at the park on the evening of the ride!
Yes! You are encouraged to bring your e-bike if you have one. We are also partnering with Pike Ride to reserve an ebike for the evening. More details soon!
Event packets may be picked up at the Check-in/Registration tables in the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center starting at 7:00 PM the night of the event.
We will have your packet at Night of Registration, upstairs in the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center. Please come early to get your stuff.
Yes! There several rest stops along the course that will have snacks available. Also – we will have pancakes starting at 10:00pm until midnight. All free to participants to enjoy!
Some of you may be wondering why Starlight is now confined to Garden of the Gods instead of all around downtown Colorado Springs.
The cost of closing the roads and having a large police presents to ensure the safety of riders made it impossible to continue using streets. We also wanted our event to be more mission focused; this event offers a unique opportunity to experience Garden of the Gods Park after hours, without motor vehicles. It also allowed us to invite runners/walkers to join in the fun!
This is Colorado, and weather happens. If the rain is sporadic and isn’t a constant downpour, the event will go on!
If there is a threat of lightning, hail, or other impending doom, we will delay or cancel the event. That decision will
be made as soon as possible that afternoon or evening.
To keep all participants and pets safe, we ask that you leave your animal friends at home.
We thought you’d never ask ☺. Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC) works cooperatively with local and regional governments, community organizations, businesses, families and individuals who share the vision of an interconnected network of trails, greenways and open space. We advocate, educate, build connections with other groups, fund projects, and create and support volunteer projects.
Great question. It’s one we get often. We too loved aspects of the old course…. The great rest stop at Bancroft Park, flying down Garden of the Gods Rd. Here’s why we made the decision to change it:
- Insurance – it’s nearly impossible to get any company to shoulder the liability of bicycle event held on open roadways at night. They see it as too risky. We always held our collective breaths as patrons were leaving the bars on Colorado Ave. and our SS cyclists were riding that stretch of the course.
- Cost of Police support – has gone up astronomically. And we get it. They are working on their days/hours off and deserve to be compensated. But we couldn’t afford the cost of the number of officers required to make the course safe and still make this a fundraiser for TOSC.
- Overall safety – bike accidents involving cars are increasing across Colorado. For many of our participants this is one of a few times they get on their bike each year. Riding a bike at night with traffic, potholes, and lots of other riders is challenging. We want our Starlight Spectacular to be memorable for all the right reasons!
Garden of the Gods at night is Amazing! And in the past, most of our cyclists chose not to take advantage of a ride through the Garden. Now all our walkers, runners and cyclists get to experience the Garden at night. We think this puts the “spectacular” back into the community’s largest and longest-running nighttime cycling (and now walking/running!) event.
Just keep an eye out for the deer!
This event is a fundraiser for the Trails and Open Space Coalition and we are unable to give refunds for registrations if you are unable to attend.
A tribute to Mary Kay Carlson
We know people love the Starlight Spectacular because they tell us! They proudly show off old t-shirts and share their stories of past rides and costumes. Remember the old movies shown at Bancroft Park, a favorite rest stop managed by Colorado Springs Cycling Club?
A few years ago Erica Riley contacted us to tell us how much her mom, Mary Kay Carlson, loved the Starlight Spectacular. She rode in the event between 2000 to 2005 but spoke of it often in the years to follow. An avid cyclist who loved nature, Mary Kay usually rode in the event with a friend but her daughter (Erica) and her grandson tagged along a couple of times and loved it too. After her Mom passed Erica decided to honor her Mom in a unique way that reflected her Mom’s favorite memories and would also give back to the community. She contacted TOSC and told us she wanted to support the event by donating $1000 in her Mom’s name. She wanted the dollars used to give others a “spectacular experience.” Her generous donation will allow 5 families and 10 individuals who might not have the means to participate a free entry into the Starlight Spectacular. That way all those cyclists, walkers and runners will have the opportunity to experience the magic of the event just like Mary Kay did years ago.
Erica says that would have greatly pleased her Mom who loved this community. Thank you Erica for honoring Mary Kay in such a unique way and supporting the Starlight Spectacular – now in its 27th year!
Events like this do not happen without AMAZING Volunteers!
Thank you to everyone that worked so hard to make this spectacular event possible!! We love our trail community.