Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
120.00 ft (36.58 m)
Trail type
1.50 mi (2.41 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Paint Mines Trail is a 1.5 mile long out-and-back hike that leads visitors to the colorful landscape of the Paint Mines. The Paint Mines are unique geological formations of many colors created by centuries of erosion. The spires, hoodoos, and gullies at the Paint Mines Interpretive Park display layers of selenite clay and jasper. The various colors seen in Paint Mines are caused by oxidized iron compounds, and are found in varying amounts in many layers of clay. The Paint Mines are named for their colorful clays that were collected by Native Americans to make paint. There is evidence of human activity in the area as far back as 9,000 years ago.

The Paint Mines Interpretive Park is located about an hour east of Colorado Springs south of the town of Calhan on Paint Mines Road. For this hike head to the West Overlook Parking Lot which is 0.4 miles south of the main parking lot. The park is open from dawn to dusk and is open year-round. There are no fees to use the park. Horses, bikes and dogs are not allowed in the park. Use of drones is also prohibited.

Begin this hike by heading east from the parking lot to the overlook fencing. Take a left and follow the trail for 0.2 miles. Take a right at the intersection and shortly thereafter take another right onto the trail that leads to the formations. The main formations begin another 0.2 miles down the trail. Once reaching the formations, explore the many gullies to take in the colorful landscape. Please observe the signs that indicate certain areas are closed. Do not climb up onto the Paint Mines formations. Once you are finished exploring the Paint Mines head back the way to come or hike some of the other trails in the park that lead through prairie habitat.

The Paint Mines can also be reached from the main parking lot at 29950 Paint Mine Road; it is a little bit longer to get to the formations from this lot. There is a vault toilet at the main lot.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Colorful layered formations.


Dogs are not allowed in the park.

Trailhead Elevation

6,752.00 ft (2,058.01 m)

Highest point

6,753.00 ft (2,058.31 m)


Vault toilet
Family friendly
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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