Paint Mines

Paint Mines
Paint Mines, CO

Paint Mines, CO


My good friend, Jim Harris, a professional photographer, asked me to accompany him to the Paint Mines Interpretive Park by Calhan, Colorado. I jumped at the chance. I had not been to the Paint Mines since I was in high school. That was many, many years ago.

I got home from church, changed into some jeans and drove to pick up Jim. At his home he lent me a tripod and then we were off. A short 30 minutes later found us at the south parking lot on Paint Mines Road.

Driving east from Colorado Springs, the terrain consists of gentle, rolling hills with very few trees. As one reaches Calhan, turns toward the Paint Mines and scans the horizon; one sees…nothing. It is not until the hike in from the parking lot that one begins to see anything of the Paint Mines. After about a half-mile and a couple of switchbacks, there is an overlook.

It is from this first overlook that one begins to get an overall picture of the beauty of the Paint Mines. The Paint Mines are different colors of sediment that have been exposed by the forces of erosion. Local lore has it that the Indians had used it for war paint. The colors range from whites to reds to yellows.

The erosion has formed small canyons in the rolling hills. The deepest points in the canyons were 30 to 40 feet. So they are not huge, but they are wonderfully unique to explore.

The white formations appear to be a coarse sandstone. The reds and yellows are more of a fine silt. Much of those colors have cracks in them like one would see in the desert. The erosion has created some interesting formations.

Jim was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to give me a little one-on-one instruction in photography. He taught me how to shoot in the RAW format, something quite different from the JPEG format I have become so used to using. I like the RAW format. It allows so much more flexibility in processing after the photograph has been taken.

After about 130 photographs we tackled the uphill trail to the parking lot and returned to Colorado Springs.


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