DINOSAUR BONES AND TRACKS
The City of Golden offers an extensive and interconnected trail system of 24 miles, providing diversity in both types of trail experience and destinations, and a haven for fossil and dinosaur-lovers. The Triceratops Trail is a 1.5-mile gravel hiking trail that winds between large, vertical walls of sandstone and into reclaimed clay pits. Along the trail are several stops highlighting clay mining as well as invertebrate tracks and traces of dinosaurs, birds, mammals, and insects. There are also several walls full of plant impressions from the tree-lined, delta-like environment.
In 2011, the Triceratops Trail was designated by the Secretary of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark, adding to the already designated Dinosaur Ridge area between Golden and Morrison. Dinosaur Ridge is a world-renowned “outdoor museum” dedicated to the dinosaur discoveries made in the Golden area. Many dinosaur fossils have been extracted from this area, and fossilized footprints are easy to spot. The museum includes a Visitors’ Center and trails filled with interpretive signs.
The footprints at Triceratops Trail differ from those at Dinosaur Ridge. The Dinosaur Ridge tracks are roughly 100 million years old, and you view them from the top – as in where the animal pushed into the sediment, called positive tracks, or innies. The Triceratops Trail features tracks that are around 68 million years old and are called negative tracks, or outies. Visitors can also see gems and other fossils at the Mines Museum of Earth Science, which has an extensive collection of specimens and a simulated uranium mine.
Admission is free year round.
Discovery park on 23rd Street and Illinois Street in Golden is a dinosaur themed playground with dinosaur inspired climbing elements and sand pit filled with dinosaur bones waiting to be discovered. Discovery Park also features a climbing wall, a grass maze, and great views for the whole family to enjoy.