Thursday, June 2, 2016

Trail Through Time

Distance: 1.5 mile loop
Elevation: 4,514 ft
Elevation Gain: 200 ft
Bathroom at Trailhead: Yes
Dogs: Off leash
Tags: #coloradooutdoors, #dinosaurs, #westernslope, #wildflowers, #lizards
Other Trails in the area: Rabbit Ear's Trail, Utah Juniper

Dinosaur bones are visible on the Trail Through Time
Wander in the footsteps of Camarasaurus and Diplodocus on the "Trail through Time" near Fruita, CO. This is short paleontological trail contains visible dinosaur bones and fossilized plants along with modern day lizards and flowering cacti. 

Heading up the hillside
The Dakota Formation
150 million years ago this area was a swamp filled with bus-sized sauropods. Now those swamps are entombed as the Dakota formation, a conglomerate layer of rocks and sand. The trail describes this formation and through a series of interpretive signs, describes the Jurassic landscape.

A lizard basks in the sun
Looking south over the Rabbit Valley. The trail can be seen several hundred feet below.  
Views of the desert abound from the trail, which switchbacks up a small hillside. To the south is the La Sal mountains, which rise sharply out of the desert floor. These mountains are the remains of a "bubble" of hot molten lava that intruded into the thick sediments of the Colorado plateau 29 million years ago. Over the millennia, the surrounding sediments have eroded away, leaving these 12K ft peaks. That is a lot of erosion!

You get to this trail off of I-70 at exit 2. It is a short one mile drive to the trailhead. Brown tourist signs mark the way. This is the same exit as the Rabbit's Ear Trail with its stunning views of the Colorado River.

Claret Cup Cactus and other plants bloom in spring on the Trail Through Time  
Don't linger too long on this trail, however, or you may just join the dinosuars...preserved in rock for all time.

Heading back down

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