Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dinosaur Hill Trail-Fruita, Colorado

The Dinosaur Hill Trail is the site where the bones of a 70 foot long and 30 ton Apatosaurus were found in 1900. This skeleton is famously displayed at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. The Apatosaurus was formerly called the Brontosaurus.

The trailhead is located on Route 340, just south of Fruita, in western Colorado. This site is on the way to the west entrance of Colorado National Monument. There are numbered stops along the 1 mile loop trail but I didn’t find a printed trail guide. There are several interpretive signs that tell the story. Dinosaur Hill is one of the Dinosaur Diamond attractions.

The highlight of the trail is the quarry where Elmer Riggs excavated in 1901. The tunnel was reopened in 1991 and several tools and additional bones were found.

In 1938, Elmer Riggs returned to Dinosaur Hill for the installation of the commemorative plaque by the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce. This plaque is mounted next to the quarry.

From the top of Dinosaur Hill, there is a view of the nearby Colorado River. One of the interpretive signs discusses the logistics of moving the 6 tons of dinosaur bones from the quarry to Chicago in the early 1900s.

At the trailhead, replica thigh bones have been installed as benches. The replicas are based on photographs of the actual bones. I visited on a cloudy 65 F degree early October day. There are several more dinosaur related sites to visit in the area.

528614_Cool Camo Russell Outdoors

No comments: