This post is sponsored by Backcountry and ShopStyle.
Eight years ago I made the decision that I was going to make the outdoors my BFF. I grew up going to camp every year, but somewhere between high school and graduating from college, I lost my love of spending time outside. I am so happy that I’ve recommitted to finding new trails to explore. I have been fortunate to travel and hike all across the country, but I have to admit, there is nothing quite as extraordinary as the hidden gems that exist here in Colorado.
I have a running list of all the places I have yet to hike; The Incline, Zapata Falls and Rocky Mountain National Park to name a few. One of my absolute favorite hidden gems here in this beautiful state are the Paint Mines. They are a short 40-minute drive away from Colorado Springs, and quite honestly one of the most surprising sites to see.
What’s most peculiar is that the Mines are not in the mountains, they are a drive out into the prairie, and as you approach, you see nothing but what appears to be open land. Even after parking, it still looks like a wide-open space, and once you approach the edge of the prairie, you look down to find the most incredible stark white, pink and coral rock formations. The Paint Mines are absolutely breathtaking, and like nothing I have ever seen. The hidden caves, scenic views, and impressive colors are spectacular, and a place you should definitely add to your list of places to explore!
This area is a super-slippery place to hike, and I have to say Backcountry had me well-prepared to have a slip-free hiking experience! I found these incredible HOVR hiking sneakers, and they are by far the most amazing shoe I have hiked in…EVER! They feel like walking on clouds, and every step you take feels firmly rooted into the slippery sediment.
Backcountry has everything you could possibly need to get outside, whether it’s hiking, camping, running, biking, or just getting out the front door. Their plus-size offerings do have room to grow, but I found an incredible Marmot Jacket that is ultra-lightweight, perfect for cold-weather hikes, and sustainable as it’s made with 100% recycled nylon. Prana also has a great selection of hiking pants, and I loved these Summit Pants, too! Right now you can save up to 30% when you shop their Big Brands Sale (full of amazing brands like Patagonia, Prana & Marmot to name a few) happening now through 11/17.
Hiking Outfit Details
jacket: Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket **sustainable pick** – Ultra-lightweight, made with 100% recycled nylon. It’s the perfect hiking jacket, and I will be wearing it for years to come!
top: Free People Movement Believe It Sweat Hoodie – So warm and cozy! I love the drawstring and kangaroo pocket.
sneakers: Under Armour HOVR Summit Fat Tire Sneaker – These sneakers are INCREDIBLE! They feel like walking on clouds and are made with a foam midsole. The Michelin outsole adds grip for better traction on mixed terrain. Seriously out of this world — and I have never felt more comfortable AND safe hiking before!
mittens: Patagonia Better Sweater Gloves – These super-warm gloves are made with Better Sweater Fleece Fabric. The fingerless lining allows for easy touchscreen access, and they clip together!
bag: Fjällräven Vardag Totepack – A sophisticated twist on the traditional Fjällräven bag. It has several pockets inside that are perfect for safely storing your phone and keys.
Shop More Cute Hiking Pieces From Backcountry
Remember that Big Brand Sale I mentioned above?! It’s going on now until 11/17… I rounded up some favorites for you below!
Every time I am able to spend the day exploring new places, I feel more grateful to live in such an incredibly beautiful place. I can’t wait to hike my first 14er next year, and am looking forward to spending more time outside! I’d love to know your favorite places that you have hiked. I am looking forward to your recommendations!
Thanks to ShopStyle & Backcountry for sponsoring this post. This hiking experience was one for the books and I can’t wait to keep exploring more hidden gems soon. And of course, I’m always grateful to you, readers, for coming back time and again and allowing us to do what we do!
Photography by Kendall LaCombe
Hi hi friends! Follow me on Instagram for more of my day-to-day shenanigans (think lots of Colorado hiking, dog stories, food creations, and all the tea on Celebs). And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my YouTube channel The Katrina Nichole, where I share plus-size fashion hauls, body positivity convos and all things inclusive movement. Byeeeeee!