The desolate prairie of eastern El Paso County holds a remarkable secret in Paint Mines Interpretive Park. The park spans 750 acres with a trail that makes a “figure 8” through the park. The main attraction is the collection of rocky spires, eroded gullies and magnificent hoodoos. The erosive forces of nature are on full display here. Spend some time wandering the gullies and marveling at how such a place can exist in the windswept prairie. Visit with the knowledge that you’re not the first to come here, as experts say humans have been visiting the area for its clay for 9,000 years. The park is located on Paint Mines Road a few miles southeast of Calhan.

Pro Tips

  • The trail surface is clay and can be very muddy after rain or snow.
  • The trail is open to foot traffic only and dogs are prohibited.
  • Try visiting the Paint Mines after a snowstorm. It’s a whole different experience.
  • Recommended season(s): Year-round.

    —R. Scott Rappold

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