The Dinosaur Ridge Trail is a 1.1-mile paved section of West Alameda Parkway, which is open to pedestrians, bicyclists, and hikers, and closed to through traffic. The site is world-famous for our dinosaur tracks and bones and unique geologic features. The Trail has more than 15 fossil and geologic sites, each marked by interpretive signage, and can be accessed by foot, bike, or guided bus tour (available at the Main Visitor Center). To hike the Ridge Trail will take between one and two hours and is just over two miles round-trip on the paved road.
Construction of West Alameda Parkway was finished in 1937. The road cut into the Dakota Hogback uncovered new layers filled with fossils. Designated by the National Park Service as a National Natural Landmark and named by the State of Colorado as a Colorado Natural Area, Dinosaur Ridge welcomes approximately 200,000 people per year.
Our World-Famous Dinosaur Track Site
This site is world famous for the number of clear tracks discovered (more than 300), the number of individual animals that left behind unique tracks (three distinct dinosaurs and one crocodilian), and the fact that we are less than a 30-minute drive from downtown Denver.
The Crocodile Creek site is a unique frozen snapshot of a tidal channel habitat from 100 million years ago. The sloping edges of the channel can be seen from the trail, and in the main channel areas, there are many sandstone layers with the scratch impressions of crocodile swim tracks and several duck-billed dinosaur traces (ornithopod tracks).
Hundreds of ripple marks made by wave currents can be seen along the east side of Dinosaur Ridge. 100 million years ago this area was a coastal beach, and these ripples are great evidence of the vastly different climate in this part of Colorado.
Dinosaur Bone Site
Dozens of Jurassic-aged dinosaur bones can be seen as dark, rusty-brown shapes in the tan sandstone layers. This site is famous as the location of the first Stegosaurus discovery, and Dinosaur Ridge itself is known for revealing some of Colorado’s first dinosaurs, including Apatosaurus and Allosaurus.
Several strange downward-facing tracks can be seen uphill from the Dinosaur Bone Site. Due to the tilted angle of the rock, visitors view these long-necked dinosaur tracks from the bottom and side of the impression rather than the top – something like a worm’s-eye view.