Colorado Paint Mines

We took a quick trip to the front range and here are 5 tips for visiting the Colorado Paint Mines. We weren’t sure what to expect for several reasons.

First, the location of the Paint Mines is a bit remote. There are three main parking areas, but the primary parking lot is the one that is also farthest to the north. (The Colorado Paint Mines’ address for your GPS is 29950 Paint Mine Rd, Calhan, CO 80808.)

We are used to sight-seeing in the mountains, not on the front range. The mountainous areas have the beautiful Colorado scenery you expect. Places like the Royal Gorge are truly a sight to see.

Second, we visit a lot of places based on referrals from family and friends. Nobody in our social circles has talked about this place. In fact, I don’t even know how Christy heard about it.

It was a long drive, and I typically avoid traveling that far without a strong recommendation for our destination. Desperate times led us to take a chance on a new adventure.

The drive from Colorado Springs to the paint mines was about 50 minutes. Someone driving from Denver to the Colorado Paint Mines should expect to arrive in roughly 2 hours.

colorado paint mines
Colorado Paint Mines – Calhan, CO

RV Travel Through Colorado Paint Mines

The paint mines get a “highly recommended” rating from me, and they are a must stop on your RV travels through Colorado. There may not be a full hook ups campground or RV park nearby, but there is plenty of BLM land.

Boondocking on BLM land, then hiking around the paint mines sounds like a good time. Its a free way to spend time looking at neat rock formations. They are loaded with color like you have never seen coming out of the ground before.

That being said, there is one “negative” to the Colorado Paint Mines. I hate to even point it out, because even with this ‘issue’ the Paint Mines are still worth the experience.

Once you are immersed in the beauty, you won’t even notice this blemish. That being said, when you are sitting in the parking lot it will stand out, and may be a bit of a turn off for a lot of people.

Unique Travel Stops in Colorado

Blinking red lights are everywhere when its dark out. When the sun hits, you can see hundreds of windmills.

All the wind farms in the area feel a bit out of place. In fact, you can’t find a view without a windmill in the background.

When the windmills blink red at night, stargazing from the parking lot is difficult. Its definitely more bothersome when its dark.

If you are visiting during the winter you will want to come early. It gets dark at 5:30 so a quick stop after work won’t be an option, unless you want to deal with the synchronized red lights blinking.

For those early sunsets during winter I recommend heading further west. The Dillon Ice Castles is an amazing Colorado experience. Whether you are a resident, or traveling through, the Dillon Ice Castles are a must-stop.

If you plan on making the paint mines a day trip only then here are a few tips we picked up during our visit.

Tips for visiting Colorado Paint Mines

  • Come prepared knowing the rules. There are no dog signs, but there were a couple people that brought dogs with them. The debate on whether or not dogs belong can be made another time. Respect the rules and leave your pups at home.
  • Wear a good set of hiking shoes. You can’t climb on any of the formations, and the trails are all relatively smooth and flat, but there is a lot of walking. You may not need to bust out the high top boots, but a good pair of hiking shoes with proper support is recommended.
  • Dress accordingly! We were surprised how much cooler it was walking the trails that lead to and from the parking lots to the main attractions. Once you are down in the mines, if its sunny out you should be fine, but it is very windy and considerably cooler on the trails leading up to the mines.
  • Don’t forget your camera! This is a big one because around every corner is a new amazing photograph waiting to be taken. I don’t know anything about photography, and I don’t do much with the IG account for @morefamfun but even I couldn’t help taking lots of pictures. The formations and colors are really neat.
  • Bring WATER! Whether you are visiting on a cool fall day, or in the middle of one of our dry-heat summers in Colorado, you want to bring plenty of water to the paint mines. It is high desert climate, so its very dry. Combine that dryness with all the walking and hiking and it could result in dehydration. Bring a back pack with some water bottles, or pick up a camel-pack, but whatever you do make sure you have plenty of fluids.


Hopefully you enjoyed these Colorado RV travel tips, specifically the five tips for visiting the Colorado Paint Mines. It’s probably not a place we will visit annually, but it is definitely a place I would love to go back to. Maybe once I get better with the camera.

One final thought is to bring plenty of food. Calhan is not one of Colorado’s many booming areas. It has more of a charming farm town vibe, and the paint mines are not even ‘in town.’

There weren’t many restaurant options nearby. In fact, you would likely need to drive to Falcon or Peyton before finding a recognizable dining option.

If you are looking for additional recommended travel stops in Colorado, those of you that are ambitious should consider hiking the Manitou Incline. Its in the middle of Colorado, but it is only an hour from the paint mines.

If you are looking for options that are a little less intense, I highly recommend the Air and Space Museum. This is another awesome experience, even for those who aren’t easily excited by aviation.

Thanks for following our adventure.

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