Striking Colors Close to Home


Castle-like formations tattooed with bright colors tower above as you walk along the trail. Stepping through the maze of bizarre rock structures, you peer in awe at layers of sparkling white, canary yellow, shiny orange, and striking pink clay. This is the Paint Mines Interpretive Park.

Surprisingly, few people know about this natural wonder located on Highway 24 by the town of Calhan, approximately 30 miles east from Colorado Springs. The park is free, open year around, and has plenty of parking.

When you get there, do not be discouraged by the empty panorama of plains around you. You will quickly find out that, hiding behind a hill, lays a spectacular sight.

The Paint Mines is a geological marvel where you can see clay deposits that are more than 55 million years old. This park also contains evidence of human life dating from as far back as 9000 years. American Indians used the colorful clays for making pottery and ceremonial paint. Later, settlers mined the clay to make bricks.

To add to the picturesque scenery, unique geology, and rich history, the Paint Mines is a place where you will see a large variety of prairie plants and animals.

Before you go on the trail, grab plenty of water, hiking boots, a hiking stick, and some unwanted clothes because in some places you may get dirty. The Paint Mines can be explored year around, but do not to go there in the rain or snow because the clay on the trails will become very slick and sticky.

The trails in the park are relatively easy and accessible for all ages. No matter which trail you go on, they will all intersect in the center of the Paint Mines. Unfortunately, your fuzzy companions are not allowed in the park.

So, if you want to see something unique without spending time on a long drive, the spectacular Paint Mines is the place where you will enjoy every minute of your visit!