Calhan Paint Mines

Day 01 – Wednesday, September 18, 2019 – Continue to Explore The Paint Mines Archeological District – PART 2

Once we arrived at the Paint Mines, an archeological district, we parked at the far upper parking area. The tall grasses and rolling hills were once home to Native Peoples and herds of American Bison.

Archeological finds of human habitation date back 9,000 years. The Native Americans used this clay and the colored muds for pottery and war paint. The strong colors of reds, violets, yellows, oranges, and whites are exposed layers of selenite clay and jasper.

We trekked through the dry grasses and then down into the gullies where we could see the various layers of the sedimentary rocks. The distinct rock colors were very vibrant under the clear blue skies.

As we walked along the paths we were able to see fantastic geological configurations including spires and hoodoos. These soft and fragile rock formations were shaped through water erosion and winds.

There were a few other hikers today and we talked to a family with a home schooler who was learning more about geology and erosion. This site is a perfect example of how powerful Mother Nature can be carving out this unique landscape.

After exploring the Paint Mines and hiking along another pathway, we had our picnic lunch and watched as others arrived and departed. Evidently, a television station in Denver produced a short documentary on the area a few weeks ago so many visitors knew of this gem in our own backyard.

Retracing our route, we arrived back home at 3:00 having enjoyed a day trip on the High Plains Grasslands of El Paso County. Our next adventure will be at the end of October as we venture to the Himalayas.


As many times I have been to Colo. on vacation, Never have I heard of this place. I would love to see this in person. God's beauty is staggering!!!! Thanks for letting me tag long on this road trip with y'all. Oh, YES, I am getting ready for the Himalayas the latter part of next month!!!! I have seen so much of this world since I met you in Panama. That was 9 years ago - how time flies when you're having fun!!!!

Pat   September 22, 2019 - 3:07pm

This set of pictures had no people nor ice cream. I know, day trips are not like multiple days in cities and gelato establishments. Pictures were beautiful and colorful.

Diane L   September 20, 2019 - 6:12pm

Your pictures remind me a bit of Bryce canyon where I am now. I’m going to tell my friend from Lafayette Colorado about this place. Tomorrow we are going to the north rim of the Grand Canyon for a couple days.

Carol Larson   September 20, 2019 - 5:14pm

very nice ! The last photo reminds me of Pamukkale. I have explored many unique areas of the US, but was never there. Thanks for going and telling its story.

Colleen Hamilton   September 20, 2019 - 3:35pm

These photos really show the beauty of the Paint Mines. Thank you for the information and explanations - all your material is presented so well. It is impressive that the area was developed by a county government. Sure wish our state would do this to our parks.

Bob Johnson   September 20, 2019 - 1:16pm
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Paint Mines

Paint Mines

Paint Mines

Paint Mines

Paint Mines

Paint Mines

Paint Mines

Paint Mines

Paint Mines

Paint Mines

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