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Earlier this year, during the kids’ Spring Break, we decided to get out of the house and go see something local. After looking at my bucket list and seeing what wasn’t too far and also do-able on such short notice, I contacted my friend and asked if she and her kids wanted to go see the Painted Mines with us.
While the Painted Mines are in Calhan, Colorado, it was only about a 40-minute drive from Colorado Springs. And other than the long, dusty, dirt road to get there, it was pretty easy to find.
- 29950 Paint Mines Road, Calhan, CO 80808
It’s steep, but an easy walk from the parking lot to the Painted Mines. At the top, before you walk down, you can see the beautiful, white windmills that make you feel like you can see straight to Kansas!
Hiking the Painted Mines
When you first enter the Paint Mines, it’s hard to see all the colors and hues the beautiful clay gives off, but as you start to hike around more and go deeper into the mines, you can see the many different layers of colors.
The Paint Mines is a geological structure unlike any other in Colorado, their name coming from the colorful clays that were collected by Native Americans to make paint. Brightly colored bands in golden yellow, rose pink, snowy white, and mauve, caused by oxidized iron compounds, are found in varying amounts throughout the many different layers of clay in the park.”– https://www.visitcos.com
While we knew we would be hiking, we were not prepared for how muddy the trails were. Since it was early Spring, the snow had melted and mixed with the clay to make quite a thick mix of mud. The clay does stain and it took forever to clean my shoes off. I may have to visit a different time of the year to see if it’s a bit drier.
Even with snow on the ground, it was hot while we were hiking. I was grateful we had brought sunscreen as there was little shade until the sun started going down. Other things we brought with us were sunglasses, plenty of water, a small backpack with snacks, and a camera.
For the most part, the trails were easy to follow. My son who was 8 at the time, had so much fun hiking and climbing the trails. We even saw a few moms with strollers pushing down parts of the trail. The only thing was avoiding the mud so their strollers didn’t get stuck!
Remember to remind kids to go to the bathroom before they go down to the mines. It’s a long hike back to the parking lot with only one porta potty for everyone.
After hiking for hours, we were all hot and exhausted. But after the fun we had all afternoon, we all agreed that we’d be back again. It was a lot of fun checking off another Colorado attraction off my bucket list!
What about you? Have you ever been to the Painted Mines? What did YOU think?