Paint Mines Interpretive Space Loop Calhan, Colorado
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Trail Info: Interpretive Paint Mines Space Loop
Skill Level: Beginner
Trail Type: Loop
Distance: 4 Miles
Elevation Gain: 200 Feet
Closest Town: Calhan, Colorado
The Interpretive Paint Mines Space Loop in Calhan, Colorado
I Love hidden gems. The areas that not too many people know about or have explored too much of. The spots were you can go and not have to share the trails with too many people and can get some amazing pictures with no one in them but, who you want. The paint mines are exactly that place!
Last weekend my best friend, my husband, and I went to the Paint Mines Interpretive Space Loop outside of Calhan, CO. It was Super Bowl Sunday. Yes, I know, we skipped the Super Bowl … we didn’t mind.
It was cold, windy, and had to deal with some misty fog and rain mix and times that pierced through our bodies and created a chill in our bones but, we didn’t mind.
I was so amazed by this interesting and wild place out in the prairie of eastern Colorado. Something so bizarre in the middle of nowhere; who would have thought it.
What are the Paint Mines?
The Paint Mines Interpretive Space Loop are colorful and unique geological formations that have evidence of human occupation in the area for the last 9,000 years!
This area is so interesting that it transitions from wetlands to short-grass prairie to badland topographies. It’s a trip!
If your lucky enough you can spot mule deer, coyotes, falcons, hawks, and even the occasional mountain lion has been spotted in the area. We didn’t see any wildlife and I was pretty sad. They were probably taking cover from the weather somewhere; smart.
What’s very interesting about this place is the beauty of the clay colors in the formations. An archeological investigation that has been funded by the State Historical Fund has found evidence of prehistoric and historic American Indian occupation.
This evidence comes in the form of; dart tips, arrowheads, as well as petrified wood. Apparently the clay had been mined for ceremonial paint as well as pottery making.
I’ve read that there is a homestead that sits within the border of the park confirming Euro-American settlers around the 1800’s occupied the area as well. I didn’t get a chance to find this homestead while we were there as the weather sent us home early.
I plan to find it the next time I’m there.
The park, from my understanding, is under the protection of the El Paso County Parks Department. I certainly hope that the department will be able to come up with plans to preserve the area.
There are signs asking people to stay on marked trails, not to climb on formations, and not to vandalize; however, we seen some graffiti on some of the formations. It was very disappointing to see. Hopefully there will be some way to regulate this type of behavior so more people will be able to enjoy the park.
Have you ever been to the Paint Mines? What was your experience and how did you enjoy it?
I didn’t research nor see any camping information within or very close to the park as this was a day trip. However, when I make plans to go back I’ll look more into that information.
Happy Trails –