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“An absolute hidden GEM of a park!”

The Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Calhan
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Hours: Dawn To Dusk NO PETS Admission is Free! Located in the northeast section of the County near Calhan with approximately 750 acres. The paint mines have evidence of human life as far back as 9,000 years ago. The colorful clays were used by Native Americans. The park features fantastic geological formations including spires and hoodoos that were formed through erosive action that created incised gullies and exposed layers of seienite clay and jasper. The park includes a restroom facility, four miles of trails, interpretive signage, and many natural wonders.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

I've lived in Colorado for 33 years and have to say that visiting this incredibly beautiful location was like discovering a 'secret paradise'! I'd vaguely recalled hearing the name "Paint Mines", but really had NO clue about what's there until researching it online. It would seem that far fewer people in Colorado are aware of this location than those who are at least 'aware of' the Great Sand Dunes, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, and even the Wheeler Geologic Area. It's only an hour and a half drive from south Denver, and I was stunned by the AMAZING COLORS there! But i'd caution visitors not to travel there in the middle of the day as colors will appear to be muted. I arrived obsessively before sunrise and made the 20 minute walk to the formations in plenty of time. I imagine that being there around sunset (bring a headlamp or flashlight) would be equally spectacular. I HIGHLY recommend this beautiful place to all curious adventurers and photographers!!

Thank Jim G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"rock formations"
in 20 reviews
"beautiful colors"
in 5 reviews
"easy hike"
in 8 reviews
"high plains"
in 3 reviews
"worth the minute drive"
in 3 reviews
"geological features"
in 3 reviews
"wear sunglasses"
in 2 reviews
"south denver"
in 2 reviews
"eastern plains"
in 2 reviews
"trail markings"
in 2 reviews
"mile hike"
in 6 reviews
"bring water"
in 8 reviews
"bryce canyon"
in 3 reviews
"future generations"
in 2 reviews
"porta potty"
in 2 reviews
"less than an hour"
in 3 reviews
"great hike"
in 4 reviews
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8 - 12 of 138 reviews

Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Stop by to see this, whether you’re passing through Colorado Springs or staying here, it’s not far. It’s gorgeous and so different from other natural formations.

Thank N9473QXSarah_S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

I wont redo what others have said. Just, go do this and bring a better camera than your cellphone. Tripadvisor says I should say more. The thing I wish I read was, there are two lots, one close to the formations and one about .75 mile away. The closer lot is NOT where the GPS will take you. You need to go about .5 mile down the road.

3  Thank Joe S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2018

I love coming to the Paint Mines. I always park at the first lot and walk the short distance to the rock formations. I love viewing the valley beforehand because you have no idea how big these formations are until you get closer. There are a few trails that are among the rocks and a larger loop. I would say this park is not as maintained as others so do be careful when walking around as the trails are unpaved and uneven. There are signs saying to stay off the formations, which I understand since the rocks are fragile. The coloration of the formations are beautiful. The rocks vary in shades of white, yellow, pink, etc. most the time you get a picturesque blue sky in the background, makes for magnificent photos. I always end up seeing wildlife here as well. I think this is an underrated park, but Calhan is kind of out there.

Thank BZimm08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 May 2018

We visted CO Springs to see some friends and they suggested we stop at the Painted Mines on our way back to Kansas. It was on our route home, and from route 24 we only had to go out of our way maybe 2 miles tops. It was SO worth it!

We hit the place around 9am and it already had visitors in both of the parking lots, but they were mostly mature trailblazers out for their morning walk. Our friend had explained to us beforehand to stop at the second parking lot, unless we wanted to spend quality time on the trail. So for those of you who are on a timed route and passing through, skip the first parking lot. The second lot takes you straight to the colorful bits with a 1-5 minute walk down. The walk down is fairly easy for someone who is agile and wearing sneakers, though if you have handicaps, there is a paved path from the car park that leads to an overlook, but no pavement down into the formations.

Though I wish we had more time, it was worth stopping. We spent maybe 20 minutes exploring the formations, but could've spent much longer. It would be a neat place to have an afternoon picnic and trail walk if we lived in the area. From Colorado Springs, it was about 25 miles, not too far in my opinion. However, the road (route 24) has many up and down speed limits and if you get stuck behind a semi truck, passing is a pain.

*There is a restroom here at the first parking lot. No restroom at the second lot.

2  Thank TNoslen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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