Triceratops Trail

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5839 - 5886 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Triceratops Parking Area
Fee: Parking fee except on weekends
Attractions: Dinosaur tracks, fossils




The Triceratops trail is located in Golden, Colorado near 19th Street and 6th Avenue. The trail leads to an area of reclaimed clay mining pits where there are a variety of dinosaur, bird, insect and mammal tracks. Also found at the site are some interesting impressions of some palm leaves.


To get to the trailhead drive west on 6th Avenue to 19th Street and turn right. Take the next right off of 19th Street into the Colorado School of Mines Parking lot. Pay the parking fee upon entering on weekdays. If you park in the back lot on the right and look toward 6th Avenue you will be able to see the Triceratops trail sign in this photo.


The trail begins by following the paved path that parallels 6th Avenue heading east.


As the paved path climbs out of the drainage the Triceratops trail branches off on the left.


At this point the trail is a wide graveled path that makes a gentle uphill climb.


As the trail gets to the top of the first hill it passes between two narrow excavations that were mined for clay beginning in 1877. The clay was used to make ceramics, sewer pipe and the bricks that were used in the construction of the Governor's Mansion, Jefferson County Hall and East and West High Schools.


Down in one of the pits are the impressions of several dinosaur tracks. The view is as if being underneath the creature and looking up as it's weight pressed into the ground making an indentation or bulge above you.


This picture is of the winding path that leads into and out of the pit.


After leaving the pit the trail climbs to an overlook.


From the overlook the trail makes a gradual descent into a shallower but much wider pit.


A couple of highlights in this area are several triceratops tracks.


There are also several impressions left by palm fronds.


At the present day there are several holes of a picturesque golf course that occupy the land adjacent to the trail. The setting is very striking.


Quite a bit of climate change has evidently occurred in the Denver area since dinosaurs roamed and palm trees grew here. The Triceratops trail takes visitors back to that time with the help of their imaginations that are sparked on by the tracks, fossils and illustrated kiosks. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.