Calhan Paint Mines Offers Wonderful Formations

There is a rich diversity of life out on the Colorado prairie that is rarely seen by visitors, as the mountains are the biggest draw.

The Calhan Paint Mines is an archeological district on the plains of Colorado that has a very diverse ecological system that includes prairie, wetlands and badlands filled with fantastic formations.

The park covers 750 acres and has 4 miles of trails that go down hills, then can rise over 500 feet in elevation on various sections of the trail.

Prairie & Formations in Colorado Paint Mines

The geological formations are formed by multi-colored clay and white sandstone-capped spires.

The site is protected by law because of its very fragile environment.

Fragile & Colorful in Calhan Paint Mines

 The formations crumble at the slightest touch, yet have survived through thousands of years and visitors.

Distant Black Forest & Formations in Colorado Paint Mines

When on the highest trails, you can see all the way to the Black Forest in many places (the black line in the background) and even get some glimpses of Pikes Peak on the highest trails.

One gets a sense of just how majestic and big the mountain range that Pikes Peak rises above when seen from a distance. What an awesome sight it must have been for the first pioneers to see it as they crossed the prairie in covered wagons.

Pikes Peak above Formations in Colorado Paint Mines

 The prairie had a stark winter beauty that enchanted us both.

These formations are beginning to get more interesting and colorful. And we got to walk among some on the trail so we could see the colors and the uniqueness of each section.

The Yuccas soon played an artistic part in our views. Clinging by just a their roots, the tenacity to survive in a hostile and ever changing environment was inspiring.

Interesting Formation in Paint Mines in Colorado

And the sun was beginning to come out more, so when in the valleys and protected areas we were not as chilled, but the wind swept across the open areas to remind us that it was still a bit wintery on these prairie trails.

Trail to Formations in Paint Mines Park

We saw this side trail and were curious where it lead.

After following just a short distance it opened up to a view of these spectacularly colorful formations.

Looked like legs with large toes at the bottom. Or whatever your imagination wants to see.

We could see that the trail we were on would take us above them for a different view, but wished there was a trail that took us closer at this level, but no. So we turned back and got back on the main trail and climbed up to the top of this formation with glimpses of it from many different angles on the way to the top.

Close up & Ground Rocks in Calhan's Paint MinesI became fascinated by this rock formation that we were close to.

As I walked around him, I just kept seeing more faces and creatures emerging from this one formation.

He had a surprised face from one direction. Another looked like he has a butterfly on his hand.

And then when we looked down, there were the most colorful rocks on the very neutral ground.

The deep magenta rocks kept showing up all around the park in the most unexpected places. They made interesting contrasts to their surroundings and made us curious where they came from, and why they were scattered around the park, rather than in just one area.

And from here on the formations and colors made it easy to understand why this area was called the Paint Mines.

2 Responses to “Calhan Paint Mines Offers Wonderful Formations”

  1. […] I want to add another post about my hike in the Paint Mines Park to my Spirit Renewing Hiking blog. This time I get to add some of images of the most colorful formations we walked above and […]

  2. […] Fixed myself a nice dinner using the cooked chicken I bought at Costco. Then wrote a bit on my Spirit Renewing Hiking blog about the Calhan Paint Mines to end the day on a positive note.   Still just too much on my […]

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