Dinos and Dunes in the Colorado Desert - Atlas Obscura Trips
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Dinos and Dunes in the Colorado Desert

from $2,330 USD per person for 6 days, 5 nights
See Dates
  • 10 People Maximum
  • Moderate Activity Level
  • Road Trip
See Dates
Trip Overview

Venture with us into the Colorado desert to unearth the mysteries of the enormous beasts that once roamed these grounds. On this six-day road-trip adventure, we’ll dig into the prehistoric past of this wild and rugged terrain, traversing canyons, mountains, deserts, and dunes as we go.

  • Full-day fossil dig
  • Remote hot springs
  • Giant sand dunes
  • Dinosaur experts


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Trip Leaders

Dustin Growick
Dustin Growick is the author of two dinosaur encyclopedias, the host of the YouTube channel The Dinosaur Show, and has worked in science education at the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Hall of Science, and as a traditional classroom teacher. Now, with museum colleagues around the world, Dustin specializes in creating unique, engaging, and educational experiences for people like you. He also hosts a monthly live science debate show in New York City called VERSUS, in which guest experts throw down in a battle royale of science and comedy. Follow his adventures on twitter @DustinGrowick and instagram @dinosaurwhisperer.
Alyce Olson
After an upbringing in the Midwest, Alyce relocated to Colorado about 15 years ago, and started exploring her adopted state, from discovering the frontier mining towns, to hiking and climbing in the wild Rocky Mountains, to uncovering the Foothills' unique geologic (and paleontologic) treasures. She began leading tours about 10 years ago, and has been sharing the natural wonders and historic sites of the area with guests ever since. Passionate, personable, and ever-curious, Alyce hopes that your tour experience will create a sense of wonder and build lasting memories.

Additional Info

Pricing & Single Accommodations

The total cost of this trip is $2,330. For travelers wishing to have single accommodations, an additional $400 will be due at the time of the final payment.


We’ll be staying at several different hotels and resorts on our journey and there are a variety of rooming configurations available. Single travelers should be prepared to share a room with travelers of the same gender, depending on the composition of the group. A limited single supplement of $400 is available for single travelers who prefer a single room. While at the Joyful Journey Resort, travelers will have the option of staying in heated yurts or in double-occupancy hotel rooms.

Health & Safety

Most of the places visited on this itinerary are above 7,000 feet, which can make physical work feel more demanding. Altitude affects some more than others. Especially if you are sensitive to altitude, we encourage you to arrive a day or two early to acclimate.

Activity Level

Participants should be comfortable hiking between three and five miles per day at high elevation. There won't be significant uphill hikes, although those wishing to climb the sand dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park or the Crestone Ziggurat will be able to do so. We'll also be outside in the sun for our full-day dinosaur dig in the Colorado high desert. Sunscreen and water will be provided, but we recommend drinking water every hour and wearing breathable clothing that covers your skin, along with a wide-brimmed hat.

Arrival & Departure

Our trip begins with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science at 10 a.m. on Day 1. DMNS is located a 35-minute drive from Denver International Airport (DIA). We recommend you arrive in Denver on the evening prior to our trip or by 7 a.m. on Day 1. Our trip concludes on Day 6 back in Denver. Hotel checkout is at 11 a.m, though we’re happy to help extend your stay if you'd like to enjoy Colorado on your own.

  • Five nights of lodging in double-accommodation rooms, heated yurts, or private desert lodge rooms.
  • Three breakfasts, daily picnic lunches (don’t worry, we’ll have lots of yummy options), and daily dinners.
  • A guide with deep dinosaur knowledge, and access to local experts.
  • Private transport throughout the trip, in a 12-passenger van.
  • A brand-new headlamp for our after-dark excursions.
  • Entrance to all national parks, museums, and activities.
  • A full-day fossil dig at the Mygatt-Moore Quarry.
  • Recommended reading materials, packing list, and pre-trip information packet.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura dinosaur enthusiasts, excited to learn more about the storied history of Colorado’s western slope.
  • If arriving by air, flights to and from Denver International Airport (DIA), and transportation to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages.
  • Sand sled rental.
  • If applicable, applying for a U.S. visa.
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This is a great trip if you are looking for a non-stop adventure where you will learn something. The guides are great. You'll have sensory overload from the scenery and get to see little-known parts of the state.
—Laura P. (June 2019)

Upcoming Departures

  • Jun 4–Jun 9, 2020
    from $2,330 per person
Booking and payment processing partners may vary with departure date.
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