Cretaceous Wonders of Colorado - Atlas Obscura

Golden, Colorado

Cretaceous Wonders of Colorado

Head west of Denver for a close-up view of the relics left behind by the dinos that once ruled the foothills.

Head west of Denver for the chance to follow in the (impossibly gargantuan) footsteps of prehistoric giants like the T-Rex and the Triceratops, who once roamed the Colorado Foothills above the shifting tectonic plates before their eventual demise. 

Join Atlas Obscura for a guided tour through the Triceratops Trail to explore remnants of the Cretaceous Period, when dinos ruled the Earth. Expert interpreter and geologist Kermit Shields leads this 1.5-mile walk, where you'll see tracks and traces of the prehistoric creatures that roamed this area just west of Denver about 70 million years ago. You'll learn about several of the mass extinction events on Earth, concluding with the K-Pg extinction that ended the age of the dinosaurs, and see many fossils left behind by animals and plants of those ancient times.

Highlights of this little-known trail include reclaimed clay pits, massive walls of sandstone, tracks from ancient birds and mammals, and particularly impressive tracks from a three-toed Tyrannosaur and many Triceratops tracks. Look closely and you'll even see evidence of tropical palm trees within the rocks surrounding the trail. Kermit, who also hosts educational programs and tours for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, will also point out several hidden footprints and unmarked fossils along the trail.


  • We will meet at the Triceratops Trailhead near the School of Mines parking Lot A on the South Campus, next to the Public Safety Office, 1922 Jones Road, just east of 6th Avenue, just south of 19th Street.  Parking is free in this lot on Sundays.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes early for a prompt 9 a.m. start.
  • This is a mostly gravel trail, 1.5 miles of walking, with some steps to climb. Comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate attire are encouraged. 
  • This trail is not ADA-accessible and not very stroller-friendly.
  • There are no restroom facilities on or near the trail. Please plan accordingly.
  • The guided tour is geared toward ages 10 and up. 
  • Event will run rain or shine. In cases of truly inclement weather, notification of cancellation will be sent, and refunds will be issued. 


Email Alyce Olson at

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