An Explosion of Colorado Color: Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan

If you’re passionate about hiking, then Colorado‘s East Paso county is the perfect place for you. Paint Mines Interpretive Park is located just a mile south of the town of Calhan and 30 miles east of Colorado Springs. It offers four miles of trails rising to elevations of 500ft.

Paint Mines

The Paint Mines are named for their colorful clays that were collected by American Indians to make paint. Brightly colored bands, caused by oxidized iron compounds, are found in varying amounts throughout the many different layers of clay.

However, what sets these trails apart from so many others isn’t their challenging peaks, but their extraordinary geological formations.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park was being used as long as 9,000 years ago by, Native Americans. They collected the many colors of clay: from reds, oranges and pinks to yellows. They used in pottery and for ceremonial purposes.

This array of different colored clays and sandstones make the area a technicolor marvel for anyone, who visits.

Interpretive Park , El Paso County, Colorado

The incredible stone shapes dotted through the 750 acres of this park are result of exposure to wind, water, and erosion. However, while these strange shapes with their explosions of colors have been formed over many years, they are fragile, too.

Because of this, hikers are asked to stick to the trails. It’s not permitted to bring along domestic animals. Also, camping is not allowed, since motorized vehicles are strictly off-limits.

As well as drawing hikers, Paint Mines Interpretive Park is also popular with just about everyone lucky enough to visit, from birdwatchers to those interested in geology generally.

Milky Way over the Paint Mines

Entrance to the park is free. The best times to visit are either dawn or dusk in either fall or spring. These provide the best opportunities to see the many colors and shapes of the rocks, as they appear to shift with light changes.

One thing’s for sure: whenever you choose to spend your time here, and for whatever reason, you’ll be doing it among some of the most colorful, unusual, and extraordinary formations nature has to offer.

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