Dinosaur Ridge Denver Daytrip

Allosaurus Sign Visitor Cente

The Allosaurus leads the way to Vistor Center. Allosaurus is the Colorado state fossil. Photo: Friends of Dinosaur Ridge

Bringing kids is not mandatory at Dinosaur Ridge, but they are sure to have a blast. All ages, young and old, will appreciate Colorado’s scientific treaure.

BONES – One of the world’s most famous dinosaur fossil sites, Dinosaur Ridge is near Morrison, Colorado. Dinosaur bones were first discovered in 1877 by Arthur Lakes, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. The 19th century was known as the “Golden Age” of dinosaur exploration.

Some of the most famous discoveries included Apatosaurus and Stegosaurus. Specimens that lived 150 million years ago in the Late Jurassic Period is an era known as the “Age of Giants.”

TRACKS – In 1937, during the construction of West Alameda Parkway, dinosaur tracks of Iguanodon-like, plant-eating dinosaurs and ostrich-sized meat-eating dinosaurs were discovered. Many tracks can be traced from Boulder, Colorado to northern New Mexico on what was called the “Dinosaur Freeway.”

Triceratops Trail in Dinasaur Ridge was opened to the public in 2004. There are more than 15 interpretive sites on the Ridge and 6 interpretive sites along Triceratops Trail. Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail are open from sun-up to sun-down.

Dinosaur Track

Tracks of dinosaurs, mammals, insect and birds are found along the Dinosaur Highway. Photo: Friends of Dinosaur Ridge

ADMISSION – Dinosaur Ridge, Triceratops Trails and the Gift Shop are free. Self-guided tour are free. Groups must reserve a time. Shuttle tours are $4. The program is 40 to 45 minutes round trip. Shuttles leave on the hour (Sep-May) or half hour (Jun-Aug).

The shuttle driver stops at the Dinosaur Bone Site, the Brontosaur Bulges, and the Dinosaur Tracksite. At the stop, listen to a brief talk and see and touch the fossils.

We decided to walk the Dinosaur Ridge Trail back to the Visitor Center from the Dinosaur Bone Site. The walk is a 1.5 mile, mostly downhill, and a good photo opportunity. The driver got us started by pointing out the Dinosaur Bones and Brontosaur Bulges before we struck out on out own.

A note of caution: if you are not used to the thin air and high altitude of Colorado, take your time. If you can not make it all the way, flag down the driver any time for a ride back to the Visitor Center. Bring water or plan to buy it at the Snack bar. The well water at Dinosaur Ridge is not potable.

Parking is free. Dinosaur Ridge has primative outdoor restrooms. There are picnic areas, a gift shop and a snack bar. There are some excellent field guides for sale in the gift shop.

Tracks at Dinosaur ridge

Tracks at Dinosaur ridge discovered during the 19th Century “Golden Age” of dinosaur exploration. Photo:Friends of Dinosaur Ridge.

The Friends of Dinosaur Ridge offers a family-friendly Visitor Center and trail for groups of all ages. The Friends of Dinosaur Ridge is a not for profit 501C3 organization. For more information on becoming a member, a donor, or giving a one-time donation, visit the website.

The details – Friends of Dinosaur Ridge, 16831 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465, Phone: 303-697-3466, Fax: 303-697-8911, Gift Shop Phone: 303-697-3466 x. 100, General E-mail: tours@dinoridge.org

More to do Coors Brewery, 13th & Ford, Golden, CO 80401, Phone:1-800-642-6116. The brewery tour is a 30-minute self-paced tour highlighting the malting, brewing and packaging processes. Afterward, you can sample the beers (for those 21 or older with a valid ID).

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Be sure to see Red Rocks Park while in the area. Photo PBH

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