Distance: Approx. 4 miles round trip
Elevation: No elevation gain
Bathroom at Trailhead: Yes
Trail open to: Hikers Only
Date hiked: April 30, 2011
Overview: Easy hike through a badlands-type area in the Colorado prairie with gullies, spires, hoodoos, and sculpted walls carved out of brightly colored clay deposits.
The Hike: Chad and I headed down to Colorado Springs for a day of hiking and micro-brews.
We hiked the Paint Mines trail east of Colorado Springs. This is a badlands-type area in the Colorado prairie with gullies, spires, hoodoos, and sculpted walls carved out of brightly colored clay deposits. The colorful clays — layers of snowy white, golden yellow, rose pink and purplish mauve — are what give the park its name. Native Americans used the deposits for paints and pottery, and settlers later mined the clay to make bricks.This was definitely a well-kept secret, as we had the entire 4 mile trail and park to ourselves.
Afterwards we headed out for a much deserved dinner with local brewed beer!
The start of the trail. Hard to believe there would be anything of interest in the dry prairie that surrounded us.
First impressions are of a diminutive landscape
The scale of the park is perplexing. It's not as grand and imposing as the views you might see in Southern Utah, but when you get "up close and personal" it's really quite large.
There is a wide path making its way through the center of the formations.
As you make your way through the park, the colors change. At the beginning they are a vibrant white, then change to mauves, pinks, reds and purples.
You can get a sense of the fragile landscape here and the delicate layers of earth.
The rosy pinks are starting to have hints of gold
I love the different textures
Now onto a different section with sandstone
Hoodoos on the western rim
The main corridor approaching the end of the park
The hoodoos tower over you like battlements on a castle
At the end of the park is where the colors get truly rich and vibrant. The gold tones just pop!
The hike is complete, now back the way we came. Time for a Colorado Craft Brew!
This trail recap features the Paint Mines Soap. Who says natural colors have to be boring? This amazing soap solely uses clay for the colors! My tribute to the vibrant clay formations found in South Eastern Colorado is a perfectly balanced bar that is long lasting, cleansing, and contains tons of lather! This colorful soap can be purchased below.
And be sure to check out the store here for more commemorative summit soaps
Can't get enough of the Summit Soapstress? Below are more of her adventure blogs!