After a wonderful weekend at The Great Sand Dunes National Park, I made a pit-stop at The Paint Mines Interpretive Park just east of Colorado Springs. I had been seeing pictures of these stunning rocks for months, so I was very excited when some of my friends and a few ladies from the Women Who Hike Colorado group wanted to make the trip with me!
We met early in the morning, and it was a good thing we did. When we left, the parking lot was full and muddy. In fact, the entire trail and hike was very muddy. The trail starts with a quick, half-mile walk to the first formations.
These first formations were just a tease of what was to come. They were great to see first, because they were near the trail and built up our anticipation for all the beautiful and colorful rocks to come, since these were mainly white sandstone. We took pictures, kept walking, and tried to not get held up at what we knew was a lesser stop.
Down the muddy and snowy trail a little further was the epic valley of red and orange striped spires poking out of the ground. When we came over the ridge and saw the entire layout from above, we were in awe, giddy, and stunned all at the same time.
Once we saw other people down in the canyon, we knew we had to go in and see what was hiding below.
By the end of the day, we were all worn out from all of the trudging through slick conditions and climbing beautiful formations. We hiked back out and sat in the parking lot to share our pictures with one another and talk about how much fun the day had been together. We all agreed that the park was much more magical than any of the pictures or reviews had made it out to be!
Usually I am the one to find locations and plan out trips, but when my parents came to town for my little sister’s spring break, I sat back and let them take the reigns. Of course, my mom found a great spot in Colorado Springs at The Broadmoor’s Seven Falls. (You can read about our entire weeklong trip in this separate blog post, here!)
It is a relatively easy hike to the spectacular waterfall with unbelievable views that make the uphill climb worth every tough breath for my non-altitude-acclimated family.
We met around 9:30 a.m. in a parking lot at The Broadmoor to take a shuttle bus toward the paystation and trailhead. It cost us $12 per person to enter the grounds, and once we paid our fees, we were off and ready to go.
To get to the falls you take a nice, wide, paved path that winds around gigantic natural rock structures which shoot out of the ground with bright, orange coloring. We were on the trail at the beginning of March, so much of the surrounding landscape was still frozen. As we continued toward the falls, we started to see more and more icicles on the colorful canyon walls, and the creek alongside us started to be less visible under the ice.
The Seven Falls were created by the South Cheyenne Creek which is one of the main water sources for the city of Colorado Springs. The trail follows alongside it all the way until the waterfall, and there are convenient benches and gazebos along the way for stopping and appreciating the rushing water.
Since the stairs leading to the Eagle’s Nest weren’t iced over, we chose to walk them first. There are 185 steps from the bottom to the top, and they are steep and narrow. We took our time going up and took a rest when we made it to the platform at the top.
Even at the top, there was another little gift shop, but this one had a much better view. Outside on its patio were rocking chairs, benches, and stationary binoculars that looked down onto the entire waterfall from a higher cliff's edge perspective. We caught our breath and took in the 360 degree views before heading back down.
Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!