Dinosaur Ridge Trail

Difficulty
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Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1.5-2.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
6.4 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
215 m
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Directions to Trailhead

The Dinosaur Ridge Trail is an exciting adventure that reveals over 15 palaeontological sites. This hike is a great family-friendly excursion past dinosaur tracks, crocodile scratches, and fossils. This stimulating trail not only exhibits cool, historical artifacts, but it also rewards adventurers with views of the mountainous wilderness. The next time you are in the Denver area, make sure to add the Dinosaur Trail to your itinerary.

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Route Description for Dinosaur Ridge Trail

The Dinosaur Ridge Trail is an awesome, immersive experience near Denver, Colorado. Hike the same terrain that has been sculpted by dinosaurs in the Jurassic Area. This cool hike is an awesome day hike near the city, so it is often trafficked, notably on weekends. If you are hoping for a more secluded experience, we recommend an early morning. This trail can be ventured year-round, but we recommend visiting the area before snowfall to be able to see and appreciate all the cool palaeontological fossils and track impressions on the rocks. No matter what season you hike the path, we know you will be just as impressed as we were.

Like we said, this is a popular excursion near the state’s capital, and rightfully so. This short but scenic hike exhibits over 15 sites with fossils and tracks that have descriptive interpretive signs. Hike past fossilized crocodile scratches from when this landscape was covered in water millions of years ago! How cool? Ascend the paved route along interesting dinosaur artifacts, all while enjoying expansive views of the mountainous Colorado wilderness. Once you ascend the Dakota Hogback Mountain, where sits the Dinosaur Ridge Discovery Centre, the summit rewards hikers with views of Denver, Green Mountain, and the encompassing Front Range region.

The Dinosaur Ridge Hike departs from the gate on W Alameda Parkway. From here, ascend the paved route past Rooney Ranch and dinosaur tracks. The grade of the path is gradual; thus, it is manageable by kids and hikers of all skill levels! Eventually, you will pass the park's most popular dinosaur tracks. Explore the overlook and read the interpretive sign explaining the history and discovery of the impressive impressions that dot the immense rock. Continue hiking south past several palaeontological sites before the path curves north and merges onto the Dakota Ridge Trail. This route will guide you up to the dinosaur bones site. Explore the site and notice the giant dinosaur bones etched into the cliffside.

Soon you will encounter another junction, this marks your turnaround point. From here, you will be granted an expansive panorama of the Colorado wilderness and Front Range peaks. Revel in the scenery and when you are through exploring the area, retrace your steps along the path all the way back to the gate, marking the end of your adventure.

Trail Highlights

Dinosaur Ridge

Dinosaur Ridge is a popular tourist destination near Denver, Colorado, spanning from the towns of Morrison to Golden. In 1877, fossils and tracks were discovered on the now named ‘Dinosaur Ridge’. Rich in history, the Dinosaur Ridge is a site to discoveries, including the world’s first known Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus fossils. In 1973, the Dinosaur Ridge was designated the Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service and remains a protected area by the state and federal agencies. Today the ridge continues to be explored, and fossils, tracks, and paleontological artifacts are being discovered. In addition, there is a nature trail for visitors to adventure and view the astounding tracks pressed into the granite. This is a great excursion for families with children and dinosaur buffs as you hike to over 15 sites and past dozens of interpretive signs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to hike the Dinosaur Ridge?

Depending on how much time you spend at each geological and fossil site, the path usually takes around one to two hours to hike.

Is Dinosaur Ridge stroller friendly?

Yes, the Dinosaur Ridge Trail is stroller-friendly, the path is a paved route.

Do you have to pay to adventure Dinosaur Ridge?

No, you do not need to pay to walk the Dinosaur Ridge Trail. If you want to explore the Discovery Centre or you want a guided tour, then you will have to pay!

Insider Hints for Dinosaur Ridge Trail

Getting to the Dinosaur Ridge Trail Trailhead

The Dinosaur Ridge Trail is located in the North Dinosaur Open Space Park off W Alameda Parkway.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    Year-round

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    Extreme

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Dinosaur Ridge Trail Elevation Graph

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