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 in old clay mining pits. The hike takes about an hour round-trip.
Along the trail are several interpretive stops highlighting the geology and clay mining as well as dinosaur, bird, mammal, insect, and invertebrate tracks and traces. The site is also famous for palm frond and other leaf and plant impressions left behind when this was a delta-like, wet environment.
Triceratops Trail has many dinosaur tracks, including an impressive large three-toed Tyrannosaur track and several 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 Fossil Trace Golf Course hole #13, the vertical sandstone wall is covered with large palm frond impressions, evidence of the Late Cretaceous climate in Colorado. This then-wet area was filled with palms, magnolia, sycamore trees, low-lying ferns and herbs.
Note: This trail has no amenities.
There are two options for parking at Triceratops Trail:
- Turn east onto 19th street heading toward Golden from 6th Avenue, then make an immediate right on Jones. That is a paid parking lot (“Jones 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 of charge on the weekends. There are two designated parking spots at the trailhead. Weekday parking requires payment.
- If “Jones Lot A” in 1) is full or inaccessible, look for public street parking or go to Mines Park, which is off of 19th Street just on the west side of 6th Avenue. There may be 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)