The Colorado Paint Mines Interpretive Park is an area I have been thinking of exploring for a couple of years now. I had never heard of it until I saw photos of the park on Instagram. In May 2021 I decided to check the area out for myself and I am glad I did. All of my pictures were taken with my I-Phone and I used no filters so the colors are true to nature. I visited late morning but I have heard the rock colors are even more spectacular in the morning and evening.
Located about 45 minutes NE of Colorado Springs. I drove from near Boulder and it took me about 2 hours on back roads. It took me 3 hours on the way back as I headed to Colorado Springs and took the jammed packed interstate! Bad choice!
What are the Colorado Paint Mines?
The Colorado Paint Mines Interpretive area is an open space park East of Colorado Springs. This area consists of various hoodoos, spires, rocks and colorful sandstone surrounded by prairie grasses. Named for the Native Americans who once mined the colorful rocks and used as dyes for pottery and ceremonial paints. You can not see the Paint Mines from afar as they are almost hidden in a valley or ravine type area. As a matter of fact, driving here I thought for sure my GPS had to be taking me on a wild goose chase. I drove for several miles on dirt roads up and down rolling hills, past cows and horses without barely seeing another car. Suddenly I was here!
The Trail to the Paint Mines
There is a 3.4 mile well packed dirt trail leading to the Paint Mines. Just a very short way from the parking lot trailhead the trail divides right or straight. Right will take you just a short ways to the colorful rocks. If you go straight you will wind around through the prairie and come to the rock formations last. I choose to go straight as I wanted to experience the entire area and get some steps in. The trail continued to be well packed and easy to walk on. There was a bit of elevation but not much at all.
Throughout the walk you came across different rock formations which added anticipation to seeing the Paint Mines at the end.
There are also a few interpretive signs along the way that explain geology and history of this area.
Seeing the Paint Mines from a distance was pretty cool and it was a good direction to have chosen. Plus there were very few people who choose this way. Most people just went to the Paint Mines.
The Paint Mines
I really enjoyed the hoodoos, rocks and colors of the Paint Mines. Even more fun, I enjoyed walking through them. Remember though to not climb the rocks and keep off where marked. The part that was so much fun was while following a trail, it suddenly stopped due to large rocks and you would have to turn around and find another way. All in all, it reminded me of a maze. This would be so much fun for kids. Wait, who am I kidding, I’m 55 and I had a blast!!!
I really loved the Colorado Paint Mines Interpretive Park and would definitely recommend it. It is about 45 minutes from Colorado Springs but in my opinion worth the drive.