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The Chalk Cliffs, located eight miles southwest of Buena Vista, Colo., are made of a clay mineral known as kaolinite, created by hot springs percolating through cracks in the mountain, at the base of Mt. Princeton. The peak was named Chalk Mountain by George M. Wheeler during his surveying and mapping expedition of the Colorado Territory in 1871. (Chancey Bush/ The Gazette)

The 14,197-foot summit of Mount Princeton is the perfect backdrop for the breathtakingly beautiful Chalk Cliffs in the Sawatch Range and Collegiate Range of Colorado.

Strikingly white, the Chalk Cliffs are among Colorado's most unique natural wonders. Not actually chalk at all, a soft clay mineral called kaolinite is formed by deposits from the surrounding hot springs. The naturally heated mineral waters that come tumbling down from mountain, seep into the cracks of granite forming the chalky cliffs. This offers another fascinating look into Mother Nature's sculpturing skills.

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Photo Credit: Chancey Bush, The Gazette

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Photo Credit: Chancey Bush, The Gazette. 

Visitors exploring the Chalk Cliffs often bag the 6.5-mile challenging trek that leads to the 14,197-foot summit of Mount Princeton, a popular Colorado fourteener.

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Photo Credit: Chancey Bush, The Gazette

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Photo Credit: Chancey Bush, The Gazette

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Photo Credit: Chancey Bush, The Gazette

The Chalk Cliffs are located at the base of Chalk Creek Canyon, on the southeastern side of Mount Princeton. One of the best views is at an overlook off Highway 285 between the mountain towns of Nathrop and Poncha Springs.

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Big David Burtness, rides his mule Radar, on County Road 390 with the Chalk Cliffs in the background southwest of Buena Vista, Colo., on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Legend has it around the 17th century Spaniards hid their gold in the cliffs while fleeing from hostile Indians, says Burtness. (Chancey Bush/ The Gazette)

The peak was originally named Chalk Mountain by George M. Wheeler during his surveying and mapping expedition of the Colorado Territory in 1871.

Breanna Sneeringer writes about news, adventure, and more for OutThere Colorado as a Digital Content Producer. She is an avid adventure seeker and wildflower enthusiast. Breanna joined OutThere Colorado in September 2018.

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