T is for Triceratops Trail
Triceratops Trail is a part of Dinosaur Ridge which is a geological and historical landmark at the base of the foothills just west of Denver. They’re both part of the Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway which also includes Buffalo Bill’s Grave. We didn’t make it there on this trip but we’ve planned it for one of our next ventures.
The trail is pretty neat. It’s a little over a mile but it doesn’t seem that long. The only bad thing is the ridiculously bad directions for parking and getting to the start of the trail. The directions say the trail is located a block east of 6th Ave & 19th St in Golden. Getting here is easy. From here it’s not so easy. The website says to park on the street but there is no parking on 19th Ave and the surrounding streets, in fact ALL of Golden’s street’s it seems, are permit parking; either for the city or the Colorado School of Mines. The same goes for every parking lot. There’s also a sign for the trail with an arrow pointing west. So we were very confused about where to go. After driving around for a long time (at one point we ended up halfway to Lookout Mountain Park) we finally found a parking spot that didn’t require a permit butwas nowhere near where we assumed the trail started.
When we finally got to the trail ZuZu had already rolled in a muddy hole. The picture is pretty blurry but I was trying to keep my camera away from her while she was shaking mud off.
The first stop on the trail is the Clay Pit Overlook. You can climb down into the pit to see beetle tracks as well as possible T-rex tracks. The tracks are negative tracks that were tilted by the Rocky Mountains. That’s not a great explanation so to read how it actually happens click here!
I don’t know what the significance of it is other than it was donated to the trail. There’s an overlook to the trail below and also nice views of Golden. There’s also a great view of the golf course that sits directly next to the trail.
Once you’ve examined the entire wall you’re at the end of the trail. Actually you’re at the golf course cart path. We watched a few people golfing before heading back up the hill and out of the trail. At the start of the trail there’s a gravel service road that seemed to be a shorter path than the way we came in so we decided to take it. It led us to a parking lot but we couldn’t determine if it was permit or public parking. Either way they really need to be more specific on the website about how to find the trail and where to park.
Other than the parking fiasco and a little rain we had fun. The trail is short and there’s not a ton to see but it was cool to think that we were standing where dinosaurs once roamed. Fossils have been found at Red Rocks, Coors Field and lots of other places near Denver. There’s an exhibit at the museum that’s fun to walk through and you can stand next to replicas of the dinosaurs. At the very west end of the state, near the Utah border, there’s a lot more dinosaur things to see. One of these days we’ll journey out west to check it out.
For now our little adventure to Dinosaur Ridge will have to do!