Hi travelers! Welcome to our article on Paint Mines Interpretive Park in Colorado. We are Jen and Ryan – two professionals that operate our own businesses and find time to travel on breaks from work. We often decide to take road trips on a whim if it looks like our weekend schedule will allow it.
Jen is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and Ryan is originally from Spearfish, South Dakota. We both had gone through a divorce and met each other online. We skipped all the forced interactions and started talking on the phone until 2am every night for a week before we went out on a date!
By this time we knew we liked each other and it was just up to our chemistry to confirm the relationship, which happened naturally. Since we met, we have loved taking trips together. Most of the time our trips were to beach destinations, but then we fell into several chances to visit Europe.
Basing Ourselves in Colorado
Today we are based in Colorado and find this state to be so diverse. You definitely get four seasons in a year and you certainly get to experience everything from the mountains to the plains, sand dunes, skiing, hiking, biking, rivers, fishing, big city vibe, small towns and everything in between.
For us, the location of Denver allows us to access so many diverse areas of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Wyoming. We can also fly anywhere directly which is super handy. Colorado is unique because you can literally go from the flatirons/red rocks of the front range to mountain range and into the mesa/desert area all within four hours.
Our Experience at Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Funnily enough, we saw photos of Paint Mines Interpretive Park while we were exploring the hoodoos of southern Utah. And we instantly added this destination to our bucket list! We then decided while we were in Colorado Springs that we would take the trip out to explore the Paint Mines.
On our adventures, we usually get up early or car camp the night before (right next to our destination) in order to get the best sunlight. But on this particular day, we used the sunrise for taking shots at Garden of the Gods. We used camera angles and manipulation to avoid climbing over the rocks.
The location of the Paint Mines is in a remote area of the eastern plains, about 90 minutes from Colorado Springs. Pulling up, you have two options for parking. We chose the first parking lot. Although, the second one seemed like it was a shorter hike. Either way, the hike is around 30 minutes.
We ended up spending two hours at the Paint Mines including the hiking time. Like we mentioned, we are usually the first ones on the trail and have the place to ourselves. Since we arrived later in the day, there were several other visitors – making it a little tricky to get the photos we desired.
Our favorite part of hiking is when we see photos in real life. It always blows our minds! Paint Mines was no exception. How can something so crazy be out in the middle of eastern Colorado where all you see is farmland and wind turbines?! The colorful structures were amazing to photograph, even in the mid-morning light. There is nothing else quite like it on earth!
Seeing the beautiful pink colors come out in the post-editing of the photos was incredible. We tried hard to underexpose the images in order to get the best contrast and we were happy with the results. It’s always a great moment to get back home and relive the experience through our lens.
Staying at Colorado Springs near Paint Mines Interpretive Park
If you are going to visit Paint Mines Interpretive Park, we recommend staying in Colorado Springs and getting out there early for sunrise. Then you can head back to the Springs to see Garden of the Gods for sunset. Just a short drive west is Eleven Mile State Park too which was a lovely surprise.
While there is land to camp out near the Paint Mines, there isn’t much else to do around that area to warrant staying nearby. We stayed at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs because they had amazing rates for mid-January and the weather was really nice. Normally, we would stay in an Airbnb or car camp but this hotel was a real treat. Highly recommended!
Need to Know Before you Go
Pack water and snacks as there isn’t much in between Colorado Springs and the Paint Mines. The most important thing we can reiterate about the Paint Mines is how fragile this area is and how we all need to take better care of it. This isn’t an amusement park or playground to climb over.
Stay on the trails and get to high ground to take in the site. There are signs, but they aren’t prominent enough to keep visitors from potentially doing damage. We are all about exploring, however there is a time and place for it and this is not that type of place. If visitors don’t do a better job of conserving this area then it will be destroyed due to the rising popularity.
For this reason, we have decided to just list the state we take our photos at and not provide the exact location. We hope you get a chance to enjoy Paint Mines Interpretive Park. You will love the landscapes and colors here!