Return to Calhan and the Paint Mines with Zeb the Duck

A nice sunny day and I, Zeb the Duck, returned to Calhan, Colorado.    I really enjoyed my prior visit to the Paint Mines, but that was over a year ago.   So I came back.

Paint Mines

Calhan and the Paint Mines are just off US 24, southeast of Denver and northeast of Colorado Springs.   This is prairie and agriculture land, so the paint mines are a surprise.

Prairie and agricultural use of land

You can the clouds coming in by mid afternoon.   Only walking is allowed:  no bikes, no motorized vehicles and no pets are permitted.   Walking up a moderate slope, we finally see our first mine.

Paint mine. White with gold

The clay here is mostly white, with some gold.   Scientists believe this area has been inhabitated for 9,000 years.   Scientists also believe these geological features were being formed about 55 million years.   Walking further, we loved this formation, or hoodoo.

Sculptures formed by nature

Amazing, and all carved by nature.   Wind, snow and rain have shaped the land.   This sign tells more.

An explanation

Often it is preferable for me to show you the sign, rather than have mom paraphrase the information.   In this area we are seeing more red.

Seeing red and some black here

Notice the reds and the black rocks.   It is believed that the native people of the United States used this clay to make pottery in colors, and also used the colored clay for face paint.   This is probably my favorite hoodoo.

Great hoodoo or formation

If I were a young human, this would be one of my favorite places to get away from everyone.   Can’t you imagine sitting up here, enjoying the silence and staring at the stark landscape?  Here is another good spot.

Shelter for small human or animal

This is a much smaller space, but I imagine humans taking shelter in here for thousands of years.   A place for protection from wind, snow, rain or just too much sun and heat.   Today this place is beautiful with pleasant weather, but that is not always true.  And more colors.

Path through colors of clay

This is beautiful.   You can see that some paths are really rocky and quite narrow.   Here is another path in white clay areas.

Narrow path

This narrow path was probably formed by rushing water, from either rain or snow.  I hope you visit the Paint Mines.   They are nice to see.   This is a great family place for hiking and enjoying fresh, clean air.    You get exercise, have fun, learn things and it is all free.   And the best part…it is not crowded.   We read a lot of tourist information and we never see these Paint Mines mentioned.   Don’t wait too long before you visit.   As a reminder, the prairie and grasslands of Colorado do have a lot of wind.

Wind turbines

These huge wind turbines are a constant reminder of how the weather can change here.   Visit Calhan and the Paint Mines on a nice day and you will enjoy your time here.   I, Zeb the Duck, came here last fall, with mom and her human friend.   We were not out exploring during the stay at home orders.   This is a great place to visit in spring and fall.   We hope you visit on a sunny, cool day.   Exploring, hiking and just looking in wonder at the colors is fun for us.   Perhaps you would enjoy it as much as we do.


Paint Mines at Calhan, Colorado with Zeb the Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, got to go with the humans to Paint Mines in Calhan.   Calhan, Colorado, is southeast of Denver and northeast of Colorado Springs.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Here we are.   Mmmm, this doesn’t look to exciting yet.

Cactus? What is here?

Mom, I’m sitting by cactus and I don’t see anything different.   Walking on wide paths, suitable for strollers and wheel chairs, up the hill we go.   Nice.   A bench to rest.   Look at that.    Down the hill I see white formations.

Bench and a surprise ahead

Now I’m getting excited.

I like this white clay

These white formations look interesting and were unexpected for me.   And more.

White and gold. Great

Now I see lots of white and gold clay.   One of the signs at the entrance said the colored clay was used by naive American Indians to make colorful pottery.

Were these carved?

These formations were all naturally formed.   Sun, rain, snow, sleet, wind and all elements made fascinating shapes.   Walking further, this area looks different.

Seeing some red

In addition to the brilliant white, I am seeing some red clay.   Continuing along, we take another side path.   These paths are more difficult, but look what we saw.

Lots of colored clay

Red, white and gold.   Isn’t this great?  Further along, we now have some red layers in the white clay.

Red layers in the white clay

This is a wonderful place.   And I wasn’t sure we should walk back here?   So glad the humans insisted.   This cave is a natural shelter.

Natural shelter

Humans are believed to have lived here thousands of years ago and I bet they used this shelter.   Oh wow!

Looks like red velvet cupcake with white frosting.

Don’t these look like giant cupcakes?   OK, now you know, we have been eating cupcakes this week.   And ours also had white frosting.   But this is beautiful.


We hope this panorama shows you the colors and intensity of these paint mines.   Humans say it is really hot here, and we have been wandering around for more than two hours.   Time to leave.   We have only seen about half of the area.   I bet we will come back here again.

This sign tells much

This sign tells a little about this land.   We liked the sign and hope  you will enjoy it also.   This is definitely a good place to come and explore, learn, and just have your senses filled with the wonders of nature.