Riggs Hill

Round Trip Distance: 0.75 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4714-4846 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Riggs Hill
Fee: none
Attractions: Dinosaur fossil site

Riggs Hill is a short hike that has a lot to offer in the way of geology, paleontology and views of the surrounding valley. Our grand kids had an enjoyable time climbing on the rocks that bordered the trail. The main trail loops around the hill and returns to the parking area for a total distance of .75 miles. If you hike all the way to the top of the hill once you reach the saddle you will end up hiking more than a mile. There is also the opportunity to hike up the hill to the east and almost double the total distance to 2 miles. Most people don't know that the land is owned by the Museum of Western Colorado.

The main trail begins at a kiosk just west of the parking area and circles the hill in a clockwise direction. There are some helpful trail guides in the box next to the kiosk that give a history of the site and point out some of the interesting spots along the route.

We opted to hike the trail in a counter-clockwise direction due to our preference to hike up the steep scree slope north of the parking lot rather than down it. Just up from the parking area the trail passed between a wooden platform and several rows of seats. If I remember right these were all part of some young mans Eagle Scout project.

The short section of trail that followed ascended steeply up the hill. We enjoyed the numerous dark colored boulders that covered the landscape. The very dark color of the patina upon the rocks suggested a higher manganese-rich content. Rocks with a reddish brown color generally indicate more of an iron-rich content to the patina.

It was only a short distance before we reached the saddle between Riggs Hill and the point just to the east. We followed the trail to the west that went on the north side of Riggs Hill.

The trail took us around the hill and past the site of the Holt quarry. The guide mentioned several partial dinosaur skeletons that had been removed from this spot.

In the area of the Riggs quarry site we came upon the cast of some bones that had been partially buried for everyones enjoyment.

The last section of the trail, which if we had gone in the proper direction would have been the first part, passed between South Broadway and the hill. There was a split rail fence that served nicely to keep the kids from wandering into the roadway. The fence was part of another Eagle Scout project that was completed under the auspices of Aaron Scheetz whose father worked for the Museum of Western Colorado at the time.

We arrived back at the parking lot after hiking for about one hour. It's sad to think that this could have been a national treasure site if it hadn't been looted of all the bones but rather developed in situ. That probably would have required a 24 hour guard to protect the location. All that aside the Museum of Western Colorado has managed to develop Riggs Hill to make it an enjoyable hike and place to learn some interesting history and geology. If you would like to experience it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike!'.