Round Trip Distance: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy on improved trail. Moderate on rest.
Elevation: 4597 - 4727 feet
Cellphone: 4 bars
Usage: Hiking - No Dogs - Picnic
Time: 90 min.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: Dinosaur Hill
View Dinosaur Hill in a larger map
Dinosaur Hill is located just south of Fruita across the highway from Kings View and the Kodels Canyon trailhead. The trail is open from Dawn to Dusk. They are currently making some nice improvement such as adding a shelter and improving the parking area. There have already been some very nice improvements made to most of the trail. A good portion of the trail is probably wheelchair accessible in dry weather. That is just a guess though. I don't know what kind of terrain wheelchairs can handle now days. The trail was smooth, wide enough and appeared to be packed hard enough.
There was some good information at the trailhead kiosk. The box in the middle of the kiosk had some handy trail guides that lent further insight into some of the history and geology along the trail.
To be in step with the trail guide we followed the route in a clockwise direction heading up the hill behind the kiosk.
Just up the hill the trail had a branch that went to the left around to the west side of the hill. This is a short out and back that took us to one of the major highlights of the site. This large boulder had a mold of an upper back leg bone from a dinosaur. The surface had somewhat of an alien look and texture. Any hike that has an attraction like this deserves a 4 or 5 Star rating.
The trail remained very nice all the way to the top of the hill where there was another sheltered bench to sit and enjoy the views of the valley below.
The top of the hill was as far the well maintained trail progressed. The trail going down the other side was very primitive and covered with scree for the most part. We still enjoyed hiking down this way. It just took a little more time and hand holding.
We walked around to the south side of the hill where the quarry site was. The pamphlet said they had to tunnel back 20 feet to get all the dinosaur out. It also explained how they covered the bones with plaster to protect them, hauled them down to the Colorado river and floated them to the other side where they were taken by wagon to the railway. The dinosaur is currently on display in the Field Museum in Chicago.
After leaving the quarry site we were back on the well groomed trail. We followed the trail around the south side of the hill and back to the parking lot where we began our little journey. The trail information said the trail was one mile and would take about 45 minutes. When we finished our GPS was showing 1.47 miles and it had taken us a little over 90 minutes. We must have taken the Family Circus route.
This is a nice little hike for both big and little people alike. If you want to see it for yourself all you have to do is get out and 'Take a hike'.