Painted Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan, Colorado

Visiting the Painted Mines in Colorado

Visiting the Painted Mines in Colorado was originally published in November 2022

With small rolling hills and a bank of windmills on the horizon, we were a little confused about where these colorful hoodoos we had heard about were actually going to be and then we arrived at the main parking lot for the Painted Mines Interpretive Park. Down in a depression, we could see down into where colorful rocks lie exposed in what might be Colorado’s most rainbowy destination.

Painted Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan, Colorado

Practical Info About Colorado’s Painted Mines

  • Entry to Painted Mines Interpretive Park: Free
  • Opening hours: Sunrise to sunset (but there are no official hours)
  • Location: 29950 Paint Mines Road, Calhan, El Paso County, Colorado 80808. There are three parking lots, with the North Parking Lot being the main one with restroom facilities. There are also the South Parking Lot and West Parking Lot
  • Restroom facilities: Located in the main parking lot
  • Prohibited: Bikes, dogs/pets, horses, drones, camping, climbing/scrambling on the rock formations, or removing any rocks, plants, or historical items
Painted Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan, Colorado

Where are the Painted Mines Located?

The Painted Mines are relatively easy to get to, located near the town of Calhan, Colorado. The park lies about 45 minutes east of Colorado Springs and about two hours southeast of Denver by car. 

Painted Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan, Colorado

How Did the Painted Mines Form?

The Painted Mines are in a somewhat unexpected location in the Eastern Prairies of Colorado. They’re set in a ravine that was formed by erosion over thousands of years that eventually exposed colorful layers of rock and sediments and carved the funky hoodoos and spires that litter the landscape of the Painted Mines today. 

The name given to this area derives from the colorful clays that were collected here by Native Americans who called this part of Colorado home and ground into powders to create different colors of paint. Evidence suggests that human activity in the Painted Mines area dates back to at least 7000 BC.

Painted Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan, Colorado

Hiking Around Painted Mines Park

Roughly 4 miles of trails navigate around the 750 acres of land that comprise the Painted Mines. All the paths are easy walks that are mostly flat aside from the gentle downhill that brings you down from the parking lot(s). There are four main paths to explore around the Painted Mines.

Painted Mines Trail

3.4 miles | 300 feet elevation gain

The main Painted Mines Trail creates a loop around the entire park, beginning from the North Parking Lot.

Painted Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan, Colorado

Painted Mines Interpretive Loop Trail

2.2 miles | 200 feet elevation gain

The Interpretive Loop Trail begins from the North Parking Lot as well but takes a turn to the right to explore the southwest of Painted Mines Park, taking in some of the most colorful scenes in the area.

Green Trail

1.2 miles | 0 elevation gain

Starting from the South Parking Lot, the Green Trail connects the southern reaches of Painted Mines Park with the Painted Mines Trail and the Painted Mines Interpretive Loop Trail. 

Painted Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan, Colorado

Painted Mines Overlook

900 feet | 0 elevation gain

Not a hike per se, but if you don’t want to or just can’t do one of the previously mentioned walks or hikes, the Painted Mines Overlook will give you sweeping views of the colorful hoodoos of the park from the West Parking Lot.

Painted Mines Interpretive Park, Calhan, Colorado

Have any questions about visiting Colorado’s Painted Mines?

Ask in the comments section below.

Need Travel Insurance?

Start shopping plans over at battleface, my go-to travel insurance choice, or over at World Nomads.

More posts from Colorado

2 thoughts on “Visiting the Painted Mines in Colorado”

  1. Carl Pietrantonio

    Nice post and something I might just do one of these days. Travel has become a bit limited due to recent health issues, at least for a while, but this sounds do-able. Thanks so much for posting this, Nicole!

    1. Oh no! I hope your health is improving now. Painted Mines were a pretty chill site. I moved down to Colorado at the end of September so hopefully will have some more Lower 48 posts coming up (when I get back from this current trip in Azerbaijan and Iran… you know can’t sit still for too long!)

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