If you haven’t been to the Paint Mines Interpretive Park yet, you’re missing out. You’ll literally feel like you’re walking through a scene of a science fiction novel. This often ignored attraction, located a mile south of Calhan in El Paso County, is home to some of the most unique rock formations in the state. The park is filled with sandstone-capped spires and narrow paths that cut around the various features, perfect for hiking year round.

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The terrain at the Paint Mines Interpretive Park spans four miles of trails across 750 acres and is diverse with an ecological makeup that combines wetlands, badlands, and prairies in a relatively small space. Due to its unique landscape, the space attracts a variety of wildlife, including horned toads, mule deer, and coyotes, along with a huge number of birds.

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While the land is currently protected, evidence of human inhabitants can be found dating back 9,000 years in the form of arrowheads made of selenite clay. It’s thought that early Native Americans used the rock channels in the park to herd buffalo, making them easier to hunt with primitive weapons.

Next time it’s a sunny day and you’re looking for something to do, the Paint Mines Interpretive Park is the perfect Colorado gem. It’s close enough to reach from Colorado Springs in less than an hour and Denver in less than two—a visit here will be something you’ll never forget.

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