Top Spots To Experience Colorado’s Fossils And Dinosaur Bones

May 1, 2011 7:28 PM

Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center (credit: CBS)

If you’re looking to take a step back in time to the dinosaur days, here are some great Colorado places to check out.

Dinosaur Depot


Garden Park Dinosaur Depot Museum Fossil Area

330 Royal Gorge Blvd #A
Cañon City, CO 81212
(719) 269-7150

Just outside of Canon City is the Garden Park Fossil Area, which gave birth to the one of the great rivalries in paleontology. Residents of the area first discovered dinosaur bones in the 1870s but it was the battle between Othaniel C. Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope that fueled the nation’s fascination with the Jurassic Period. The rivalry led to a tremendous public interest in dinosaurs. The area is still home to the quarries where teams sponsored by Cope and Marsh excavated. Visitors to the region can tour both the Dinosaur Depot Museum in Canon City as well as walk the trails through the quarries which have signage along the way to share the story of the dinosaurs found.

Lamb Spring


Lamb Spring Archaeological Preserve

225 Featherwalk Court
Highlands Ranch, CO 80126
(303) 814-4357

Located in Douglas County, giant mammoth bones were found by rancher Charles Lamb in the 1960s.  The Smithsonian, The Colorado Historical Society, several universities and Douglas County have managed the site for more than 4 decades. Tours are available.

Rabbit Valley / Trail Through Time

2815 H Road
Grand Junction, CO  81506

Just a few miles off I-70 on the Western Slope, there is a place where dinosaurs roamed the earth. Today visitors can find all sorts of fossils and artifacts. You can travel back to the prehistoric days courtesy of the “Trail Through Time” in Rabbit Valley. It is a 1.6 mile interpretative trail so visitors can come and learn all about what used to roam the area. Both areas are reached by taking I-70 through Grand Junction and Fruita to the Rabbit Valley exit (Exit 2) just east of the Utah border.  Rabbit Valley is located just south of I-70 and the Trail Through Time is just north of the exit.

rocky mountain dinosaur resource center Top Spots To Experience Colorados Fossils And Dinosaur Bones

Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center (credit: CBS)

Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center

201 South Fairview Street
Woodland Park, CO 80863-1154
(719) 686-1820

Paleontology buffs and children alike will enjoy the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park. This private collection includes many marine fossils as well as Cretaceous-era dinosaur skeletons. Marine fossils on display were dug up from an ancient sea-bed that is now Kansas. To get there take I-25 to Colorado Springs and go west on U.S. Hwy 24 to Woodland Park.

Dinosaur Ridge


Dinosaur Ridge

16831 West Alameda Parkway
Morrison, CO 80465-9703
(303) 697-3466

On the western edge of the Denver metro area, ancient evidence of dinosaurs is exposed in rock. The road cuts through up and over the formation known as the “hogback.” You can reach the visitor center by taking the Morrison exit from C-470 and then by going north on Rooney Road to Alameda Parkway. Next go west to the Visitor Center. The center is one of over 20 stops along the Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway that makes a great day trip to places like Buffalo Bill’s Grave & Museum and the Mother Cabrini Shrine.