Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, Colorado. Visitors can touch real dinosaur fossils and see hundreds of dinosaur tracks. Includes prices and hours.
Dinosaur Ridge In Morrison, Colorado
We were visiting my best friend Alicia in Denver (you may remember the posts she’s written about camping in Utah and visiting the Faroe Islands). As we talked about what we could do during our visit, she asked if we’d be interested in going to Dinosaur Ridge. Hell yeah!!
I mean, who wouldn’t want to touch real fossils and see dinosaur footprints? Plus, the first Stegosaurus discovery in the world was at Dinosaur Ridge. So yes, we were very excited to make the quick trip to Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison.
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Dinosaur Ridge Directions
It’s easy to get to Dinosaur Ridge from Denver. It’s only about a 25-minute drive from downtown, depending on traffic and the route you take. We recommend heading first to the Main Visitor Center, located off C-470 at the Alameda Parkway exit. From there, the Discovery Center is only a 6-minute drive, located at Entrance #1 to Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre off HWY-93.
Dinosaur Ridge Parking
You’ll find free parking at both the Main Visitor Center and the Discovery Center. Please note that the parking lots are closed and locked at 4 PM or 5 PM, depending on the season.
Dinosaur Ridge Hours
Hours depend on the season. During the winter and spring season (November 1 to April 30), the Main Visitor Center, Exhibit Hall, and Discovery Center are open daily from 9 AM to 4 PM. Guided Bus Tours are daily from 9:30 AM to 3 PM. Guided Walking Tours are held on Saturdays and Sundays.
During the summer and fall (May 1 to October 31), the Main Visitor Center, Exhibit Hall, and Discovery Center are open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. Guided Bus Tours are daily from 9:30 AM to 4 PM. Guided Walking Tours are held on Saturdays and Sundays.
Dinosaur Ridge is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Is Dinosaur Ridge Free?
Your visit can be free if you choose to do the self-guided walking tours of Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail. You can stop at the Main Visitor Center Gift Shop or the Discovery Center to pick up a free map of the trails. However, you have to pay for guided tours.
Dinosaur Ridge Prices
Guided Bus Tours are $18 for adults and $12 for kids. There are also Guided Walking Tours, either with a volunteer guide ($18 per person) or with a professional or amateur geologist ($20 per person).
Dinosaur Ridge Bus Tour
If you choose to take the bus tour, it will last about 45 minutes. You will ride in a small bus and will be outdoors for about half of the tour. You’ll be on the bus primarily between stops, so don’t worry – you won’t be looking at fossils through a bus window.
Note: Wheel-chair accessible buses are available.
Dinosaur Ridge Trail
The Dinosaur Ridge Trail is a National Natural Landmark and you’ll find hundreds of dinosaur tracks, Jurassic period bones, and incredible geologic features. The trail is paved and is just over two miles round-trip on an inclined road. On foot, it takes 1-2 hours. There are over 15 detailed signs along the ridge, so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at.
The coolest part of the trail is seeing the over 300 footprints left by various dinosaurs and one crocodile. Periodically, about half of the footprints are colored with charcoal by volunteers to help make the footprints more visible to visitors.
The Triceratops Trail is gravel and 1.5 miles long. On foot, it takes about 1-hour round-trip. There are 6 interpretive signs along the trail.
On this trail, you’ll find many dinosaur tracks including several four-toed Triceratops tracks. You’ll also see a sandstone wall that is covered with large palm fronds and other leaf and plant impressions.
Dinosaur Ridge Discovery Center
The Discovery Center has some excellent exhibits. You can see and touch model dinosaurs. Additionally, there are fossil replicas of claws, teeth, spikes, eggs, and bones. A simulated dig site, snacks, and a gift shop are also on-site.
Final Thoughts On Dinosaur Ridge
We spent almost two hours on site between checking out the Visitor and Discovery Center and walking along the ridge trail. However, we could easily have spent more time there.
After seeing fossils in museums and books, it was super cool to finally be able to see them right there in front of us and even touch them. Learning about the geology of the area was really fascinating as well. Can you imagine seeing the earth shifting? Moving and creating whole new landscapes? It’s amazing!
Note: State and Federal laws prohibit collecting any fossils or rocks on Dinosaur Ridge. Preserving this site ensures future generations will be able to enjoy it as well. 🙂
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