The Paint Mines of Calhan
I first saw pictures of the Paint Mines on Instagram and as a photography lover does, I had to research it and then drive to see it. Colorado keeps surprising me with little known places, and many people don’t realize that the Colorado topography is actually pretty flat to the East of Denver. By flat, I mean Kansas flat. Pasture land as far as the eyes can see, so unless you want to look at cattle and horses, it’s not much of a landscape. But for the Paint Mines, I made an exception and drove Southeast.
The Paint Mines are located in El Paso County in the town of Calhan. You will need good directions because opposite to the mountains the Paint Mines are actually under ground level. Years of erosion in clay soil formed the geological spires and hoodoos (yes, scientific term). There is evidence of life that dates 9,000 years ago. But, geological interest aside, what I found more appealing were the colors. Shades of pink, orange, yellow and chalky white everywhere. The sunset is pretty good too!
In terms of hiking, we just followed the trail from the parking lot to the Interpretive Site and freestyled from there. Total we hiked about 4 miles, but it was at a casual walking pace. There is no elevation gain.
Coyotes are known to frequent the area and as the last light of the day fell we could hear their howling in the distance. If you like bunnies, as I do, you will have many awww! moments. There is literally hundreds of them here. No wonder the coyotes like this place.
The drive back had us driving in unpaved country roads where we saw cattle standing on the side of the road outside their fence. If you are driving there by yourself or are scared of the dark, I would recommend you visit it early in the day or stick with the paved main highways as there may not be anyone for miles and those country roads can be quite spooky.
If you would like more information on the Paint Mines, click here.