Calhan Paint Mines - Calhan, CO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
N 39° 00.885 W 104° 16.150
13S E 563271 N 4318667
Quick Description: This location features natural colored clays the American Indian natives used to color their pottery and make paints. The hiking trails follow the ancient footpaths used by our ancestors.
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 5/27/2013 8:14:22 AM
Waymark Code: WMH5RE
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 0

Long Description:
This area has been preserved as a NRHD and National Landmark. The hiking trails use the original trails created by the American Indian natives. The geologic features are very fragile - please stay on the trails. While the trails are well constructed, they are poorly marked. (visit link) to download a map and waypoints (wish I had!) before visiting. This is also a high plains location with abundant wildlife that can include rattlesnakes and coyotes as well as sudden thunderstorms or extreme heat. I repeat, take a map to better find the beautiful clays and hoodoos. The above coordinates are for the south entrance to the park. There is a sealed-vault toilet and picnic table, but no water or other services.

"One mile south of the town of Calhan in northeast El Paso County is the Paint Mines Interpretive Park, a unique blending of geological, archaeological, historical and ecological resources. The landscape has fascinated people for thousands of years, and continues so to this day. Located on the Colorado eastern plain, the area transitions from wetland, to short-grass prairie, to badland topographies. Wildlife seem to enjoy the surroundings as much as humans do – mule deer, coyote, falcons, hawks and an adventuresome mountain lion or two have been spotted there.

Archaeological investigation, funded through a State Historical Fund grant, has substantiated prehistoric and historic American Indian occupation as evidenced by the finding of stone dart tips, arrow heads, and petrified wood used in tool manufacturing. The local clay was mined for use in ceremonial paint as well as pottery making. A homestead site within the boundary confirms the use of the property by Euro-American settlers in the 1800’s. The significance of the site has led to the designation of the Calhan Paint Mines Archaeological District by the National Park Service. Used by hikers, birdwatchers and as an outdoor laboratory by geology students, the site has come under the protection of the El Paso County Parks Department. A recent SHF grant has gone toward funding a master plan to balance the legitimate public uses and to address threats such as “pot hunting” and vandalism.

Altogether the State Historical Fund has awarded $82,000 to the El Paso County Parks Department for archaeological survey and master planning at the Calhan Paint Mines." (from (visit link) )

Other sites with information include: (visit link) ; (visit link) ; (visit link) .
Feature Discription: Geology Interpretive Site (5) - this trail has exquisite views of the brightly colored clays.

Web address for the route: [Web Link]

Secondary Web Address: [Web Link]

Beginning of the road: American Indian trade routes in the American Great Plains and West.

End of the road: This location

Visit Instructions:
We ask that if you visit the site, please include a unique picture with your impressions of the location. If possible, and if you are not too shy, please include yourself and your group in the photo. Extra points will be given for your best buffalo imitation or if you are licking something salty.
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