Photograph Colorado's Paint Mines

Green Trail, Calhan, Colorado, United States

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    0.25 Miles

Adult Beverages
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Groups
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers

Paint Mines showcase colored hoodoo formations on a short roughly 0.25 mile hike.

About an hour from Colorado's busy Garden of the Gods is a multi-colored hoodoo valley called, The Paint Mines. Similar in appearance to Utah's popular Goblin Valley, The Paint Mines offer colorful hoodoo formations making your photography here even more awe inspiring.

Getting to the park is easy, from Denver take I-24 South toward Colorado Springs, then take I-24 east toward Calhan, turn south on Yoder Rd at the gas station, go past the school, and turn east on to the dirt Paint Mine Road. If you get lost, the area shows up with good directions on Google Maps.

The hike in is short, about a quarter mile. Follow the maintained trails around the area and be creative! There's little slot canyons, hoodoos, small caves, and lots of color. You won't be bored spending time here with a camera.

The actual park is in a small valley so shooting sunset and sunrise can be tricky. Be sure to get to the area early enough to know how the sun patterns will be. Night photography in the park is great. There's some light pollution when looking toward Colorado Springs but the area is located in a small town so you get dark beautiful night skies.

The area is relatively empty and basically just visited by locals who are small town friendly. There's two parking lots and lots of parking for vehicles. Don't bring your dogs, bikes, or horses as these are all not allowed. There's no camping but I car camped in the parking lot without any issues.

Go take some great photos and have fun!

Pack List

  • Mountainsmith camera bag
  • Camera
  • Water/Snacks
  • Clothing for season. (Elevation, 6,535 feet)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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The Paint Mines is great in the daytime, but at night it is otherworldly! My wife and I tried our hands at night photography for the first time here, and we came away with some amazing images looking like we were on Mars or the Moon. The rocks reflect light really well at night, plus there is some glow from the city in the Western sky, so I'd recommend going during a new moon. Although if you go during a fuller moon, you can hike without a headlamp and enjoy the solitude.

3 months ago
3 months ago

Whether in the morning or at night this spot is worth getting or staying up for when the sun is just right.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I had no idea this was out here, it looks totally out of place! Loved exploring around the rock formations with my camera. I got some really cool shots!!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

I was completely amazed we have this hidden gem on the eastern plains! Very easy hike, tons to explore, very family friendly! Probably best to do when the sun is at it's peak, some of the shaded areas get pretty cool from the clay ground. Love this place!

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

The Paint Mines are such a unique landscape hidden on the plains...you won't feel like you're in Colorado!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Beautiful fragile formations that make for amazing night photography foregrounds. Recent windmill installations have added more light pollution though.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

The Paint Mines are perfect place to visit for the shutter bug. The geologic formations and the rainbow of colors make for some great pictures. The park is also great for families as the trails are all fairly easy the the kids will love running around and exploring.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Rad place to photograph, and a great place for your little ones to explore!

almost 3 years ago
almost 3 years ago

Derrick Lytle Explorer

- trail running - time lapse photography - filmmaking - adventure -

 @derricklytle derricklytle.tumblr.com

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