Colorado Springs and the surrounding area has so many stunning parks, views, and hikes. Almost all of these places are close to Pikes Peak or the mountains in some way. However, there is a little hidden gem hiding just out east….Paint Mines Interpretive Park.
This unique open space is located in the middle of the prairies just outside of Calhan.
It seems like nothing but grassland until suddenly you see it.
There are several trails throughout the open space that will lead you close to the formations. These formations are fragile so no climbing!
The layers of clay seem to shift colors in the light.
Such a unique find in an unexpected place.
Tips for your trip:
There are multiple parking lots throughout the open space. The main parking lot is the first you will approach when following GPS directions. It has a restroom. However, I would suggest parking at the Overlook Parking lot, which is just a little farther down the road.
From the Overlook parking lot, you can do the short overlook trail and then also follow the trail down to the Geology Interpretive Site, which gets you up close to the formations.
The trails are very well maintained gravel/dirt. They are not stroller friendly but are easy difficulty with only minimal grades. There are interpretive signs throughout. Another important thing to note is that NO PETS are allowed on the trails. Horses, bikes, and drones are also banned. Some areas are marked off as closed and again the formations are very fragile so no climbing.
As mentioned above, this open space is located in the very open space of the prairies lands. Winds can be very strong here and you’ll notice the wind farm close by taking advantage of that very feature. It can also be extremely hot here in the summer. There are no shaded areas and no water available. So just check the weather before making the drive out and pack accordingly.
There are guided hikes available on certain Saturdays June – October. You must register ahead of time and there is a $3 per person fee. You can register for that here.
This is such a fun family-friendly hike and I hope you take advantage of seeing this unique spot on your next trip to the Colorado Springs area. Happy Travels!
Paint Mines Interpretive Park
29950 Paint Mines Road
Calhan, CO 80808