Happy 4th of July Weekend, everyone! My husband and I have been hearing about Paint Mines Interpretive Park for a while now and decided it was finally time to check it out.
Let me start by saying that I am NOT a hiker. I loathe hiking. I’ve been trying to pin down the reasons for my hatred of hiking and I’ve narrowed it down to three things: 1. bugs 2. dirt 3. lack of bathroom facilities. However, this weekend my husband convinced me to step out of my comfort zone and get my workout in by doing something different.
So, without further ado, here are a couple of hiking tips from a non-hiker. Take it with a grain of salt.
1. Go Early in the Day
Paint Mines is about 3 hours southeast of Denver in Calhan, Colorado (population 797). We arrived around 10 a.m. and easily found parking. We left around 1 p.m. and the parking lot was totally full and it was beginning to rain. Go early, but not too early, because sleeping in is rad.
2. Pay Close Attention to the Map
We didn’t and we got lost. We hiked a mile and ended up in a random parking lot. The trail is literally a loop so I’m not sure how that happened….Anyways, in my opinion the trail isn’t well marked.
3. Bring Plenty of Water
There is no shade on this trail and we went on the 3rd of July in the middle of the day. IT WAS HOT. My husband and I went through 2 liters of water during our 2+ hour hike and we could’ve drank more.
4. Explore In-Between and Underneath the Paint Mines
The rules strictly say that you cannot climb ON the Paint Mines (oops), but you are allowed to go underneath them. Explore as many nooks and crannies as you can. We found a lot of hidden caves this way.
5. Bring Your Best Camera
This is an easy to moderate hike so don’t be afraid to bring your good equipment. I saw lots of people walking with tripods. There are so many spots with gorgeous lighting!
As a non-hiker, I give this trail a 8/10. It lost a few points for its lack of shade and trail markings. Basically I was totally hot and confused.
However, I’d still recommend this to any out of town guest because the hike is fairly easy, very unique and fun to photograph. Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE!?