Travel & Field Programs
2023 Travel & Adult Field Trips
Paleo Histories of Canon City
April 15, 2023 from 7:30am-5pm
Join Dinosaur Ridge on this one-day adventure to the past. In a land not so far away, we will explore some of the paleontological sites of Canon City, CO. First, we will have a guided tour of the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center where the most recent finds of long neck fossils from the Royal Gorge area are being prepped by the Western Interior Paleontological Society. You may have seen these on the news! After lunch, we will drive up Skyline Drive to take in views of the local geology and the famous dinosaur tracks. In the afternoon we will explore the historical quarries of Cope and Marsh in the Garden Park Fossil Area through self-guided exploration and curated field guide.
Cost $120/person (20% discount for members).
– Transporation in a Dinosaur Ridge air-conditioned 15-passenger bus
– Picnic style sack lunches and snacks provided by Dinosaur Ridge
– Curated Field Guides for Skyline Drive and Garden Park Fossil Area
The bus is wheelchair accessible with a wheelchair ramp and trained driver. The museum and driving tour of skyline drive are wheelchair and other mobility devices accessible. The tour of Garden Park Fossil Area is not wheelchair accessible as the trails are narrow in sections with uneven dirt and ground.
Dinosaurs Elevated at Dinosaur Junction!
Sunday, June 4th, 8am-5:30pm
Go back in time to prehistoric Eagle County, Colorado! – a land where waves once crashed on the shores of an ancient seaway, shifting sands sculpted vast desert dunes, and – also – lands where steamy prehistoric jungles blanketed the landscape. Learn about Colorado’s “high country” fossils!
The Museum Dinosaur Junction, a long-time dream of President and co-founder Billy Doran, opened last year! His passion for learning and adventure has blossomed into a fun, educational, interactive experience in Edwards, Colorado. The museum is dedicated to inspiring, educating, and enriching life in Colorado by deepening the understanding of and appreciation for history and science, through research, preservation, and exhibition of paleontological treasures and discoveries.
We will meet with museum president, Billy Doran, for an engaging tour and talk at the museum, and visit two amazing fossil discovery sites, spanning a comprehensive 200-million-year history of the region. This ancient landscape is where some of the largest animals on Earth once roamed, fought, lived, and died. See some of the largest preserved trackways in the country, as well as fossilized bones, and more!
Cost $150/person (20% discount for members).
Transportation in a Dinosaur Ridge air-conditioned 15-passenger bus
Lunch at BoardRoom Deli and snacks provided by Dinosaur Ridge
Physical Exertion/Accessibility: This tour involves moderate physical exertion. Participants must be able to handle an intermediate hike over uneven, natural terrain at high altitude of 7,500 feet. This trip is not recommended for people with mobility issues or heart concerns.
Dinosaur Dig at the Triceratops Gulch Project
Dates: August 17 -21
If you’re tired of sitting in an armchair reading about the field adventures of others, and are ready to get your hands dirty, the Triceratops Gulch Project might be for you. Morrison Natural History Museum has partnered with the Glenrock Paleon Museum in Glenrock, Wyoming, and they are now partnering with us at Dinosaur Ridge for the experience of a lifetime!
The program operates like an informal field school where participants are introduced to project-based paleontological field work and lectures that support current research projects. In other words, experts don’t shove a brush in your hand without guidance or shoo you off to your finds but aim to enhance your paleo-literacy and make you part of the crew. This philosophy makes the Triceratops Gulch Project a different species of field program.
Work and explore fossil sites of the Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation of Wyoming, an equivalent to our Laramie Formation of Triceratops Trail in Golden, Colorado. You will find fossils! Collection takes place at sites containing dinosaur bones, teeth, and the remains of an extinct ecosystem we are actively reconstructing. Learn basic geological concepts to put fossils into the context of time. Develop the eye for recognizing rock from bone as we teach you how to prospect for fossils. Help document sites and collect specimens that haven’t seen the light of day since they were buried over 66 million years ago. When appropriate, learn mapping and field jacketing techniques for the safe recovery of fossil bones. Through the Triceratops Gulch Project you will make discoveries.
The fossils you recover will be curated in the permanent collection of the Glenrock Paleon Museum. We will bring you to the dig sites, provide you with excavation equipment and a hearty breakfast, lunch, snacks, beverages, and crew dinner in Glenrock American Style Eatery – the Classic.
Instruction and guidance is provided every step of the way, and the rest of the experience is up to you!
$1,000/attendee (no member discount available for this program).
All program activities, lunches and dinners included. Lodging not included. Hotel room block will be reserved with information made available as soon as the block is rented.
Unfortunately, this is not an accessible field trip. With undulating terrain, steep slopes, hard digging and the remoteness of the site, it’s not recommended that anyone with accessibility issues. This is a multi-day field dig.
Registration will open in March 2023.
More information is coming soon! Click HERE to be added to our interest list.
Exploring Local Giants
Dates: September 23 & 24
Morrison & Golden, Colorado
Join local researchers Matthew Mossbrucker and Erin LaCount to explore the local giants of Morrison and Golden! Giants is relative – some of the newer discoveries are actually quite small. This field trip will be across two days with no hotel stay needed! We’ll start at 9am each morning and head out to local fossil areas within the Morrison/Golden Areas National Natural Landmark returning around 3pm each afternoon.
Day one will focus on the Morrison Formation at the Morrison Natural History Museum and the west side of Dinosaur Ridge, the 150 million-year-old Late Jurassic layers of Colorado’s original Jurassic Park. We’ll see specimens from the original Lakes quarries such as YPM 1850, the bones that named Stegosaurus, and YPM 4676, some of the first Apatosaurus bones referenced in Lakes’ first letters from 1876. Also included will be new finds made by the Morrison Natural History Museum through their exploration of Quarry 5 boulders from Dinosaur Ridge road construction. Finds include two new turtles, a lungfish, six different dinosaur track types, and newly described Ceratosaurus and crocodilian!
Day two will focus on the 100 million-year-old Late Cretaceous of Dinosaur Ridge’s east side and then venture into Golden and the latest part of the Cretaceous at Triceratops Trail and the School of Mines Geological Trail. We’ll do a deep dive into the Laramie Formation and the evidence of horned dinosaurs, duck-billed dinosaurs, tyrannosaurs, and more!
Join us on this two-day exploration and experience more in your backyard than you’ve ever seen.
Study Leaders: Morrison Natural History Museum’s Director and Chief Curator Matthew Mossbrucker has been researching the Morrison Quarry material in both Morrison and New Haven in the Yale Peabody Museum collections. Erin LaCount has spent the last 3 years researching the local quarries when they were worked from 1876 to 1879. Since 2021, the pair have been working to connect the fossil materials from the letters to the collections at Yale. For the Late Cretaceous layers in Golden, Matthew Mossbrucker will connect fossils from the Laramie Formation to where the Morrison Museum digs in the Lance Formation of central-eastern Wyoming.
Location & Transportation: The trip will begin at the Morrison Natural History Museum each morning, and then we will load into a 15-passenger van to travel to Dinosaur Ridge sites and Golden sites (Triceratops Trail and the School of Mines Geology Trail).
Physical Exertion Level/Accessibility: This trip is 90% accessible to all levels. We will be using a bus with a wheelchair lift if needed, but the section of Triceratops Trail that we will be accessing is not accessible to wheelchairs but possible with walkers or assistance.
Accommodations: N/A to this trip, though if you are coming into town to join us, we can recommend local hotels that have worked with us before!
Program Fee: $340/attendee (member discount available)
Registration will open in March 2023
Tomb of the Coelophysis: Exploring Ghost Ranch, New Mexico
Dates: October 27-30
Abiquiú, New Mexico
Ghost Ranch is a place of magnificent natural beauty featuring table-topped mesas, multicolored canyons and cliffs, plains, grasslands and streams. The Ranch is located on the far eastern end of the Colorado Plateau. Its colorful sedimentary rock formations escaped the infamous uplift of the Laramide Orogeny and subsequent erosion events.
Its rocks span 230 million years of ancient geological history, representing lakes, floodplains, and deserts. Fossils found here illuminate the beginning of the age of the dinosaur in North America and provide a new paradigm of how they took over terrestrial ecosystems for the next 150 million years. Ghost Ranch’s historic fossil quarry is a National Natural Landmark notable for generating one of the world’s largest collections of dinosaur fossils including and the world’s only complete Coelophysis, which is also New Mexico’s State fossil. Ghost Ranch’s archaeological record predates adobe walls and kivas; its hearths and other sites date back 6,000 BCE, or 8,000 years ago.
Study Leaders: Vertebrate Paleontologist and Geologist Dr. Louis Taylor will be joining us on this trip to help guide our explorations. We will also tap into local experts as we tour the onsite paleontology and anthropology museums, the historical fossil quarry and nearby geological and/or petroglyph sites.
Location & Transportation: Trip begins at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú the evening of Friday, Oct 27th. Participants are responsible for their own transportation. (7-hour drive from Denver or 1½ hours from Santa Fe, NM). Enjoy two full days of activities with departure after breakfast on the Monday, Oct 30th.
Physical Exertion Level/Accessibility: This trip will include walking or hiking 1- 3 miles each day on sand/dirt inclined hiking trails at an elevation of 6,400-7,000 feet. Depending on weather conditions, the walking surfaces may be rocky, sandy, muddy, or wet. While the Ghost Ranch grounds are mostly accessible for those with limited mobility issues, the hiking trails are not.
Accommodations: All lodging and meals will be at Ghost Ranch. A room block with private baths has been reserved for 3 nights in the Upper Mesa Lodges with splendid views of the area. Note: Rooms are rustic with limited amenities. Wifi and cell phone service is limited to several hotpots.
Lodging: $175/room/night (each room has 2 beds and private bath. Configurations vary). ADA Accessible rooms may be available for an additional cost outside of our room block.
Full Meal Plan: $112 per person (3 dinners, 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches)
Program Fee: $500-$550 per person (member discount available). Includes all planned activities, lectures and study guide and snacks.
Registration will open in April 2023.
More information is coming soon! Click HERE to be added to our interest list.