Triceratops Trail is a 1.5-mile, gravel hiking trail located one block east of 6th Avenue and 19th Street in Golden, Colorado. The trail winds between large, vertical walls of sandstone and into reclaimed clay pits. The hike should take around an hour round-trip and may involve a few places that are difficult or impossible for elderly and/or handicapped persons to access.
Along the trail are several interpretive stops highlighting clay mining and dinosaur, bird, mammal, insect, and invertebrate tracks and traces. The site is also famous for palm frond and other clear leaf and plant impressions left behind in a delta-like, wet environment.
Triceratops Trail has many viewable dinosaur tracks, but none more impressive than the large three-toed Tyrannosaur track and many four-toed Triceratops tracks. The tracks and traces are very different from what can be seen at Dinosaur Ridge, and the fossils are dated to the end of the Age of Dinosaurs, 68 million years ago.
Near the end of the trail at the edge of Hole #13 of the Fossil Trace Golf Course, the vertical sandstone wall is covered with large palm frond impressions, evidence of the Late Cretaceous climate of Colorado. This wet area was covered with palms, magnolia, and sycamore trees, and even low-lying ferns and herbs.
Note: This Trail has no on-site amenities (Visitor Center, bathrooms, etc.). For a Trail Guide, please visit the Dinosaur Ridge Main Visitor Center or Discovery Center.
There are two options for parking at Triceratops Trail:
1) Turn east onto 19th street heading toward Golden from 6th Avenue, then make an immediate right on Jones. That is a paid parking lot (“Parking Lot A”) operated by Colorado School of Mines. The trailhead is at the southwest corner of the lot. This parking lot (Lot A) is free on the weekends.
2) If “Parking Lot A” in 1) is full or inaccessible, then go to Mines Park, which is off of 19th Street just on the west side of 6th Avenue. There is parking available on Tangent Way just off of 19th Street (RED ARROWS). There is a pedestrian (and bicycle) underpass under 6th Avenue and it’s a short walk to the Triceratops Trail trailhead just off the bike path. (BLUE ARROWS)