A Visit To Dinosaur Ridge In Morrison, Colorado
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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Sounds like an amazing experience to visit Dinosaur Ridge. It would be great too if the future generation of this planet can have the same amazing experience. Thanks for sharing this!
How cool is this! I lived in Denver many, many years ago and didn’t know this existed. I’m going back in a couple of months so I’ll be sure to plan a visit to Dinosaur Ridge. Thanks for the heads up.
Sounds very cool. I have spent a lot of time banging around Arizona limestone. I usually spend my time a couple of epochs older than the K-T boundary. Still, geology is fascinating and geology and dinosaurs together…. That’s pretty darn cool.
This looks like the perfect place to take your kids, nephews and nieces and even grandkids. Educational and fun! Who would have thought there would have been crocodiles in Colorado way back when?
Those footprints are awesome, my son would love to see them, I keep thinking he will out grow dinosaurs but he hasn’t yet. This looks like a super cool place to visit. If we ever get down to Denver we will have to visit Dinosaur Ridge
What a cool place to visit! I was always fascinated with dinosaurs growing up. Terrified, but fascinated. That’s crazy you were allowed to touch the fossils too – how do they make sure it remains preserved with all that physical contact?
Oh this is nice! I haven’t heard of a place like this specifically about fossils and dinosaurs. I would love to go as well to learn more!
It’s such an interesting place and you can really learn a lot about the animals and geography of the area.
A place to be for fossil lovers. Real footprints…OMG.
Seeing the footprints was the coolest part of the trip! 🙂
Really interesting place. Who doesn’t love dinosaurs!
My kids would get a Kick out of this!!! they are always asking questions about if Dinosaurs are still alive as they cannot quite grasp the concept of millions of years ago! Last week was a lifetime ago to them! When we pass through we will check this out for sure!
Awesome! I think they’ll love it Lindsay!