Paint Mines Interpretive Park is Colorado’s BEST KEPT SECRET. Logan and I had the perfect weekend in Colorado Springs, driving around and exploring the unique area. Just under an hour drive east if Colorado Springs will take you to Colorado’s most unique open space. The Paint Mines are given their name for their beautiful, bright colorful clays. The clay was once collected by American Indians to make paint in various colors.
Paint Mines Interpretive Park in Colorado
Where do the paint mine colors come from?
The bright rainbow colored bands at the paint mines get their colors from oxidized iron compounds. The park contains evidence of human life dating as far back as 9,000 years ago! The parks geological formationsare called spires and hoodoos, formed through various erosive actions. Creating gullies and layers of colored clay you see along the hike.
Where are thePaint Mines located?
29950 Paint Mines Road Calhan, CO 80808
The park features beautiful wildflowers, colorful formations and is good for all skill levels. Paint Mines Trail is a 3.4-mile interpretive loop trail, that will take you through rainbow-colored spires and hoodoos. The best time to use the trail is from March until October. We visited in January; and enjoyed our visit very much.
How to get to the Painted Mines Park
Located in Calhan, Colorado the park is a little off the grid so to speak. You will want to plan for a day trip to visit the park. The Calhan Inn is the only hotel in the immediate area so I would recommend staying in Colorado Springs so you have more restaurant and activity selections to choose from. You will need your own vehicle to visit the park. There is no public transportation that will get you there. My recommendation is to pick up a rental car at Denver Airport for the weekend, so you can explore the area to the fullest.
Know Before You Go
There is a restroom located at the main entrance of the park which is open year-round.
The park is free to enter, and open dawn to dusk; a permit is available for those that want to take photographs at night.
The people I captured in these next few pictures are breaking the above rules; by entering the paint mine formations and climbing/scrambling them.
You will still get beautiful pictures of the formations by following the leave no trace principles and park rules. Logan & I walked the trail through the formations, and then up to the top of the trailhead for a different perspective. There are so many ways you can get creative, and capture that perfect shot without damaging the formations.
There are trails like the one in the picture above and below that will take you throughout the rock formations. It can be very narrow at times, but with plenty of room to step to the side for fellow hikers. Witness a geological wonder within The Paint Mines Interpretive Park. When you visit, protect the park & please be considerate of the fragile formations. DO NOT stray from the trail.
Activities In The Area
For more activities in the Colorado Springs area, check out the options below. With so much to do in the area, I recommend stretching out your weekend with more days if you can. It will be worth it!
Top 10 Pet Friendly Cabins Near Boulder Colorado. Book your pet friendly accommodation today! These whimsical cabins have all your favorite amenities such as wood burning fireplaces, hot tub, grill, trails, ski resorts and more. Your perfect weekend getaway to the mountains is just a click away.
Top 10 Pet Friendly Cabins Near Boulder Colorado
Nederland Cabin With Fireplace, Mountain Divide ViewsNear Boulder
This cute cabin borders the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests providing panoramic mountain views from the multi level deck. Located just outside the mountain town of Nederland, this cabin offers the privacy you want without being too far away from the town. Book this pet friendly 2-bedroom, 1-bath cabin for your adventure getaway in the Rocky Mountains!
This secluded mountain cabin makes for a great getaway for honeymoons, families and friends. The private log cabin comes with all the modern amenities including a stocked pantry. The Rocky Mountain log cabin overlooks the Boulder canyon with views of night lights from the city. You’ll be surrounded by360° breathtaking views of the mountains, with a chance to spot wildlife, and enjoy the nearby trails for hiking, biking, or cross-country skiing/snowshoe. Pour a glass of wine and enjoy the mountain wilderness on the wrap around deck.
Winter views on the cabin deck overlooking the tops of the clouds. Beautifully decorated with pine floors, saltillo tiles and updated stainless steel appliances.. This beautiful, unique cabin is located near open space and hiking trails near Boulder. Enjoy the mountain views over Sunshine Canyon & Denver from the sprawling deck.
Colorado Springs is located just over an hour south of Denver. This beautiful area offers sunny skies and crisp mountain air year round. The activities surrounding the area makes for a perfect weekend in Colorado Springs, filled with outdoor adventures.
Mountain View Chalet Cabin – Amazing Divide Views and Privacy
This mountain view chalet is the perfect cabin for a laid back peaceful stay in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. The cabin is located outside the town of Rollinsville with about a 45 minute drive west to Boulder. Enjoy hiking, biking and skiing on the numerous trails in the area or take a drive to James Peak and Indian Peaks Wilderness Areas. The areas are known for hiking, alpine tundra, glacier fed lakes, and beautiful waterfalls. If you visit in winter, there is cross-country skiing and snowshoeing right from the door with Eldora Ski Resort just 15 minutes away where you can enjoy downhill skiing, Nordic skiing and snowboarding .
About This Rental
500 sq. ft loft
2 beds 1 bathroom Sleeps 2-4
Loft dbl bed + futon bed
Tiny House – Living Room – Dining Room
9,000 ft Elevation
4WD or AWD REQUIRED mid-October to end of April/early May
This magical mountain getaway cabin is a quick scenic drive to Boulder, and just two miles from the colorful mountain town of Nederland. The cabin is in the riparian valley, surrounded by Boulder County Open Space and the beautiful Roosevelt National Forest.
Built in the early 1900’s, and remodeled in the late 1990’s to include modern amenities. The owners left as much of the original historic cabin as possible, keeping the original hardwood floor, and recycling some of the old materials back into the cabin remodel. The furnishings and artistic blends that decorate the cabin are from local and global artists. For the history buff, the valley is full of mining history including the cabin itself! You’ll be staying at the gateway house that folks would enter to get to the New Cardinal historic mill. Which was one of the largest gold mines in the area.
This historic 100 year old cabin has been newly renovated to provide a rustic luxury stay. Located in the small alpine town of Eldora, the historic mining community welcomes you with open arms. You’ll be at the southern gateway into the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, making this a perfect base camp for all your adventures.
The cabin is 3 miles from the quirky town of Nederland, and the Eldora Mountain Resort is just minutes away. Back country skiing, hiking, snow shoeing, down hill skiing, snowboarding, and fly fishing – makes this a perfect all season destination. The Magnolia mountain bike trails are a few miles away, and the top of Boulder Canyon is a 10-15 minute drive where you can try rock climbing or fishing.
Cozy St. Mary’s Escape w/ Hot Tub & Mountain Views
This pet friendly cabin in Idaho Springs Colorado is warm and welcoming. The rustic interior is beautifully designed and includes an updated kitchen, fireplace, smart TV, and a deck with a hot tub and gas grill. The cabin is just 1.8 miles from the St Mary’s Glacier Trailhead, Loch Lomond Trail (2.4 miles), Rock House Kingston Peak Trail (3.0 miles), Georgetown Lake (18.1 miles), Saddleback Mountain Trail (21.9 miles), Grays And Torreys Trailhead (28.5 miles).
More attractions include:
SKI RESORTS: Echo Mountain (31.0 miles), Loveland Ski Area (31.1 miles), Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (38.4 miles), Winter Park Resort (40.4 miles), Eldora Mountain (46.5 miles), Keystone Resort (49.4 miles)
LOCAL ATTRACTIONS: Idaho Springs (11.0 miles), Capital Prize Gold Mine Tours (19.5 miles), Georgetown (19.6 miles), Georgetown Loop Railroad (20.2 miles), Central City/Blackhawk (23.0 miles)
About This Rental
1064 sq. ft
2 beds + sleeper sofa 1 bathroom Sleeps 4-5
Smart TV – Deck/Patio – Dining Room
4WD or AWD REQUIRED October to end of April/early May
Enjoy this classic A-frame cabin with stunning mountain views near Wild Basin entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Enjoy 1.5 acres in this perfect family friendly cabin. Just 100 yards down the hill is the property Ponderosa Lodge, great for families traveling together.
Surrounded by Roosevelt National Forest your chances of seeing wildlife such as moose, elk, bobcats, hawks, and owls are great. The first floor has an open floor plan which includes a kitchen, living room, dining room and two bedrooms and bath. Upstairs is a large A-frame loft overlooking the lower floor with gorgeous mountain views from the master.
Wraparound deck. Outdoor grill. Recreational basement with pool table. All the perfect amenities for a weekend to disconnect from electronics and enjoy the cozy wood-burning fireplace. Take a scenic 20 minute drive to Estes Park Village or explore trails such as Wild Basin, Longs Peak, Lily Mountain/Lake, and Twin Sisters. This A-frame cabin has easy access to skiing, snowboarding, hiking boating, and tons of outdoor adventures.
Visiting Boulder Colorado during the holiday season? Make sure to leave an ornament on the tree to commemorate your visit and keep the tradition going. If you’re visiting during the summer, keep an eye out for the 40+ hummingbirds that frequent the feeder on the porch surrounded by wildflowers.
The cabin is family friendly and includes a kids treehouse loft with its own TV. Take a morning stroll along the secret private 4.5 mile Yoga Rock Trail that starts at the cabin or play a round of corn hole! Admire a “mini cabin” dollhouse like replica of the cabin, it’s adorable! The great room has 20-foot vaulted ceilings with beautiful warm lighting for a cozy stay. On the porch you can hang out in the hammock, grill your food and enjoy a night by the campfire.
If you follow the waterfall from the porch down to the river you can enjoy your morning coffee or evening wine riverside. Metal detectors are provided to find (and keep!) coins throughout the property. This includes silver! Did I mention the 2 treasure hunts the owners put together? There’s just SO. MUCH. TO DO. You may not even want to leave the property.
Located just over an hour south of Denver is Colorado Springs. This beautiful area offers sunny skies and crisp mountain air all year round. Filled with outdoor activities, beautiful landscapes, and adventure this area is perfect for a weekend trip. In January Logan and I visited Colorado Springs for a weekend and celebrated our anniversary.
Here are some of the highlights and must see spots we found during our Perfect Weekend in Colorado Springs
Best Time to Visit Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs experiences all 4 seasons, with lots of sunshine, low humidity and brilliant blue skies. Throughout the year, temperatures will vary from 20°F to 84°F and is rarely below 4°F or above 92°F.
Spring in Colorado Springs
season begins at the end of March. However, winter often lasts through April due to the climate. The end of April – May is the perfect time of year to see all of Colorado come to life. You’ll find fields of wildflowers, animals coming out from hibernation, birds chirping, and more.
Summer in Colorado Springs
Summers are warm, and inviting with comfortable temperatures. The summer season is 3.3 months long from June to September with an average temperature of 76°F – 84°F the hottest day typically falls on the first week of July. Making summer the best time to visit for white water rafting, hot air balloon rides, and hiking.
Fall in Colorado Springs
The fall season in Colorado Springs is typically between September and early October above 8,500 feet in elevation in the mountains and late September to early November below 8,500 feet. The brilliant colors of red, yellow, & orange pop up all across the state, and make for beautiful photos. It’s also a great time to go hiking.
Winter in Colorado Springs
Winter in Colorado Springs can be very cold and dry. Typically partly cloudy for most of the season. The snowy period of winter lasts for a whopping 6.5 months, from October 16 to May 1. If you are visiting Colorado Springs during the winter, the most snow falls during the 31 days centered around March 29, making this a great time to hit the ski slopes in the mountains.
Downtown Colorado Springs: Downtown is buzzing with boutiques, parks, eateries, and a lively nightlife scene. Drink at the local breweries, and wine bars, then dance the night away at a club or concert! The area is a designated creative district. Walk around the city and you’ll find sculptures dotting its streets.
West Colorado Springs: This residential area is quiet and laid back. You’ll be close to nature to enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking and rock climbing. West Colorado Springs is also home to both the Garden of the Gods and the Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
Manitou Springs: A great resort area to stay for the perfect weekend in Colorado Springs. Just outside of the city limits, the town is known for its incredible panoramic views of Pikes Peak. You’ll find The Manitou Cliff Dwellings, a group of reassembled ancient cliff structures and the entrance to Pike Peaks Highway here. Hike up a steep slope on the Manitou Incline Trail or shop on Manitou Avenue, home to art galleries and specialty boutiques.
Camping: Spend some quality time in the great outdoors at one of the many Colorado Springs campgrounds. You’ll find rustic walk on sites, fully equipped RV sites, and even cabins!
A new summit complex area began being built in late 2019. Construction of the summit will continue into 2020, with an estimated completion by later this year. Please be aware of your surroundings when you reach the top, as it is considered an active construction site. There are more details about the construction status here. Opening is scheduled for fall 2020.
There are four main ways to explore Pikes Peak and reach the summit:
Drive Your Car
Experience the beauty of the mountain as you ascend up the scenic Pikes Peak Highway. There is a $15 per person entry fee to access the road that winds its way up the mountain. More information fromvisitcoloradosprings.com
Location: The Pikes Peak Highway Gateway is located in Cascade, Colorado, just west of Colorado Springs. To get there from Colorado Springs, go west on Highway US-24 and turn left onto Fountain Ave. You will see signs for the Pikes Peak Highway.
Time: The round-trip journey takes about 2-3 hours, not including stops for photos, time spent at the summit and other activities.
Fuel: There are no gas stations along the highway. Be sure that you have at least 1/2 tank of gas before you start your scenic drive.
Elevation gain: The highway’s entrance begins at 7,400 feet and climbs all the way up to 14,115 feet to the summit of the mountain.
If you’re short on time and want to make the most out of your weekend in Colorado Springs you can find private and group toursHEREthat will take you to the summit of Pikes Peak as well.
For The Really Adventurous
For the really adventurous visitors, try biking or hiking to the peak. There are tour companies that will drive you to the top and provide a guided bike tour down the mountain.
Go hiking on one of the many trails in the Pikes Peak area. If you plan on hiking your way to the top – Barr Trail is the most popular route to reach the summit. No matter which method you choose you will not be disappointed with Pikes Peak – “America’s Mountain” is stunning.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a 1,474-acre city park in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Here, exposed layers of sedimentary rock have been turned upward at the base of Pikes Peak. Deep canyons filled with gorgeous colored rocks in gold, salmon and other colors. The Red Rock Canyon Open Space Park was privately owned until 2003, when it was bought by the City of Colorado Springs as open space. The land was divided into five separate tracts, and each track has specific restrictions as to how it can be utilized.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space is located along Highway 24.
3550 W High St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
This striking park in Colorado Springs is DRONE and DOG FRIENDLY!! Other activities in the park include a campground,hiking trails, horse trails, a bike park, mountain bike trails, a large fenced in dog park, and more!
Paint Mines Interpretive Park is Colorado’s BEST KEPT SECRET. Just under an hour drive east of Colorado Springs will take you to Colorado’s most unique open space. The Paint Mines are given their name for their beautiful, bright colorful clays. The clay was once collected by American Indians to make paint in various colors.
The bright rainbow colored bands get their colors from oxidized iron compounds. The Paint Mines Interpretive Park contains evidence of human life from as far back as 9,000 years ago! The parks geological formations are spires and hoodoos, formed through various erosive actions. Creating gullies and layers of colored clay you see along the hike.
Garden of the Gods Park is a registered National Landmark of 1,300 acres of stunning red sandstone formations. The park is free to enter, making this a budget friendly activity! Make sure to bring your camera, you’re going to want pictures for this stunner of a park.
You won’t want to miss this gem during your perfect weekend adventure in Colorado Springs. There are 15 miles of hiking trails spread throughout the Garden of the Gods Park. The park is family friendly with difficulty levels that vary from easy, paved paths to scrambling. There are trails for all everybody. Stop at the Visitor Center and pick up a free trail map. While you’re there you can ask a volunteer what trails they suggest for your skill level.
Length: ½ mile – 4 miles depending on trail
Duration: 20 minutes – 4 hours depending on trail
Trail Difficulty: easy to moderate depending on trail
Scenery: gorgeous views of the unique rock formations found in Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain