Round Trip Distance: .5 miles
Elevation: 5906 - 5932 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Usage: Hiking - No Dogs
Time: 30 mins.
Facilities: Flush toilets, gift shop
Trailhead: Canyon Visitor Center
Attractions: Close to road.
View Dinosaur National Monument Cold Desert Trail in a larger map
The Cold Desert trail is located in the Colorado Section of the Dinosaur National Monument. The idea of the trail appears to have been to provide an easy hike where visitors could be introduced to the living desert environment of the monument. At the time of this visit the trail was no longer being maintained and the brochures that server as a guide to the interpretive trail were not available. Visitors are still hiking the trail on a daily basis and have commented to the staff that they like the trail.
The trail begins near the entrance to the Visitor Center where there are flush toilets, a gift shop with various displays and a room with an informative video on the monument. The Visitor Center is closed during the winter months.
There are several plaques at the beginning of the trail next to the Visitor Center that provide useful information about the trail.
Look for the first trail marker across the employee entrance road behind the Visitor Center.
The trail descends into a shallow dry wash. It is at this point that a few minutes of maintenance would go a long way toward caring for the trail by removing a few tumbleweeds that have blown into the wash and pruning a few of the bushes.
The trail comes out of the wash and crosses Harpers Corner Road.
After crossing the road the trail makes a big loop through the flat area between the hillside and the highway. There are numbered trail markers where you can try to guess what the designers of the trail were trying to point out at each of the spots.
A very nice bridge takes you back across the wash. It appears that a lot of work was put into the making of the trail originally. It's too bad they seem to have given up on it.
There are several nice picnic areas near the Visitor Center. The area was busy with people coming and going. This hike is included here because it is still included on the monuments website and because it is still being hiked. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.