Located near the town of Calhan, about a half hour outside of Colorado Springs, is very interesting park, called the Paint Mines Interpretive Park, with trails that wrap through colorful rock formations. We visited the park while there was still snow on the ground, which made for some difficult hiking at times. Generally speaking, eastern Colorado is pretty much just open prairie land with farms and ranches, however, the Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a geological site that is very interesting and worth the visit.
The formations in the park were created by geological forces over millions of years. Oxidized iron deposits created fascinating clay formations with dramatic colors. Over 9,000 years ago, the first inhabitants of Northern America, the Paleoindians, were thought to have made pottery out of the colorful clay. The hoodoos (also called tent rocks or chimney rocks) that raise out of the ground are truly spectacular. The 4 miles of trails that loop through the park allow you to get close to these unique formations and see how spectacular the geology of the earth can be.
We will definitely go back to the Paint Mines Interpretive Park during the spring or summer when the ground isn’t covered in snow. The trails were actually streams at certain points due to all of the melting snow making it hard to get to certain formations. Where there wasn’t running water or snow, the clay ground was a muddy mess and we ended up with our shoes layered in colorful mud. Even though we couldn’t get to all areas of the park due to the condition of the trails, we had a wonderful time hiking through the formations. It is amazing to find such a wonderful geological and archeological site located in a place where you would never expect it.