5 tips for Hiking the Paint Mines in Southeastern Colorado

Paint Mines Interpretive ParkHappy 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.

Paint Mines Park

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.

Paint Mines Map

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.

PaintMines16

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.

Paint Mines Hiking

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!

Cool hiking in ColoradoColorado CavesColorado Hiking Paint Mines

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!?

Happy exploring,

Emma

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Paint Mines Interpretive Park in Calhan, Colorado