Paint Mines Interpretive Loop

Naturally Colored
Spires and Hoodoos

Featured Route
in Paint Mines Interpretive Park, CO
  • Total Length
    3.8mi
  • Ascent
    386ft
  • Difficulty
    Easy

Seemingly out of place in the eastern prairies, spires and hoodoos brilliantly colored by layers of oxidized clays tell converging stories of geologic and human history.  As its name implies, the park offers an interpretive experience across both trail loops that weave in and out of the formations. 

Evidence of humans using this site dates back 9,000 years. For at least part of that history, the colorful clays found here were an integral part of Native American culture as paints and other dyes.  

To ensure future generations can enjoy this fragile environment, hiking is strictly restricted to designated trails with no dogs or bikes allowed. 

Overview from El Paso County Parks

Get Here
  • Hiking
  • Loop
  • Geology
  • History
  • Kid-Friendly
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Elevation Profile
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Timeline
1
Interpretive Trail

You’ll find restrooms but no other services or facilities here – this is a remote park for peaceful contemplation. 

Start Hiking
For 0.8mi
Continue Hiking
For 1.1mi
Take the spur south to venture into the heart of the colorful formations. The trail is defined, so please stay on it. The clay that makes this site special is extremely fragile and will be damaged if you touch. 
2
Observation Point

The eastern side of the southern loop offers several interpretive stops, including this one that offers a look back at the entire site. 

Continue Hiking
For 1.9mi
Returning via the northern loop provides more insight into the history and ecology of the region.