Welcome to SP!  -
Dinosaur Ridge
Mountain/Rock

Dinosaur Ridge

 
Dinosaur Ridge

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 39.69420°N / 105.2002°W

Object Title: Dinosaur Ridge

County: Jefferson

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 6660 ft / 2030 m

 

Page By: Sarah Simon

Created/Edited: Feb 9, 2011 / Apr 3, 2011

Object ID: 697588

Hits: 5705 

Page Score: 89.39%  - 29 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

 
SW from Dinosaur Ridge
SW from Dinosaur Ridge


West of Denver rises the hogback, a long north-south running ridgeline of up-thrust rock. The hogback forms a somewhat scenic backdrop for the western suburbs of the Denver metro area. One section of this hogback is known as Dinosaur Ridge. This neat little peak features a scenic, rambling ridgeline and great views of Green Mountain to the east and Mount Morrison to the west. Stunted pines dot the ridge top, but views are plentiful.

As if the pleasant hiking and enjoyable views were not enough, the hogback holds much for those interested in geology, including loose plate-like sheets of shale, as well as sandstone rippled by ancient waters or sculpted by more modern winds. But you figured Dinosaur Ridge got its name somehow. Indeed, this nifty little mountain holds other surprises: Ancient dinosaur tracks and the bones of these long-gone, giant lizards. This would be a dynamite summit for families or out-of-town guests.

Colorado Rank: Dinosaur Ridge is a soft ranked peak*
Prominence: 280 feet
USGS Quad: Morrison
Recreation Map: #100 Boulder / Golden

Rank & Prominence: Lists of John

*In a nutshell, soft ranked peaks lacks 300 feet of confirmed gain from the saddle with their highest neighbor. However, if their optimistic prominence proves true, they would be ranked peaks. But let’s not get bogged down in the details here.

Getting There & Route Information

 
Hiking through sandstone
Hiking through sandstone
 
Heading north along ridge
Heading north along ridge


Dinosaur Ridge can be accessed via several access locations.

East: The Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center is located west of the Alameda Parkway exit off C-470. Detailed instructions to the visitor center can be found here.

West: There are also trailhead options off of I-70 via County Hwy 93. This Matthews / Winters Park map illustrates numerous trailhead options.

Exactly how you want to reach the top of Dinosaur Ridge and how long you want to walk is up to you. The dinosaur track site is located on the lower east side of the ridge. The summit of Dinosaur Ridge is near the far northern end of the formation. Anticipate sharing your route with other hikers as well as mountain bikers.

Red Tape

 
Dinosaur Ridge from Mt Glennon
Dinosaur Ridge from Mount Glennon
Photo by Jeremy Hakes
 
Dinosaur Ridge Part 2
Dinosaur Ridge from Mount Glennon
Photo by Jeremy Hakes
 
Loose shale
Loose shale
 
About the track makers
About the track makers


Observe all posted signs and do not mar, deface or touch the dinosaur tracks or any fossils encountered. Most of Dinosaur Ridge is contained within Matthews / Winters Park, a Jefferson County Open Space.

While JeffCo has indeed developed one of the premier county open space systems in the country, your use of these open spaces is governed by tons of red tape. It is your responsibility to know the rules and regulations before visiting this open space.

And here, for reference, are the standard rules governing use of Jefferson County Open Spaces:

• Follow use regulations (biking vs. hiking)
• Dogs must be on a leash; pick up after your pet
• No fires
• No camping
• Motorized vehicles prohibited
• No feeding wildlife
• Adhere to posted Park closures
• Open carrying of firearms is prohibited
• Park is open one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset

Full Jefferson County Open Space Regulations


 
Law Enforcement Shooting Range - KEEP OUT!
 
 
Law Enforcement Shooting Range - KEEP OUT!
 

NOTE: There is a law-enforcement shooting range northeast of the summit. Do not enter this area!

Camping

 
Geologic Striations
Geologic Striations
Photo by Jeremy Hakes
 
Mount Morrison
Mount Morrison from Dinosaur Ridge


There is no camping available in Matthews / Winters Open Space. This little mountain is highly accessible to residents of and visitors to Denver and other Front Range cities from Fort Collins to the north to Colorado Springs in the south. Few will need overnight lodging for this peak.

Weather & Seasons

 
South along ridgeline
South along ridgeline
 
North from below the ridge
North from below the ridge



While Dinosaur Ridge makes for a great outing any time of year, take note that summers could be hot and crowded. This is a great peak to reserve for snow-season days when it’s just too cold and nasty in the high country or when avalanche danger is unreasonable.

Zone Forecast for Morrison, CO

External Articles & Additional Information

 
From the north
A roadcut through the north end of the formation shows the strata, from the Apex Trail.


 
Curving Hogback
Curving Hogback

Front Range Living
Dinosaur Ridge: The Dinosaur Highway

Dinosaur Ridge
Dinosaur Ridge Trail

Morrison Natural History Museum (Thanks, Jeremy)

The Thunder Valley Motocross track occupies the land immediately to the east of Dinosaur Ridge.

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-2 of 2    
Jeremy HakesDinosaur Biking!

Jeremy Hakes

Voted 10/10

Dinosaur Ridge is almost certainly the most technically difficult trail in Jefferson County, indeed, the entire Front Range. Expect to see mountain bikers suffering and falling while hiking the area.
Posted Mar 1, 2011 4:38 pm
Sarah SimonRe: Dinosaur Biking!

Sarah Simon

Hasn't voted

Sounds like a serious opportunity for some helmet-cam. Are you volunteering??? -Sarah
Posted Mar 14, 2011 11:07 pm

Viewing: 1-2 of 2    

Images