Dinosaur Tracks

1420 East 3rd Street La Junta, CO 81050
La Junta, CO 81050
(719) 384-2181
View On Map Visit Website
Along the Purgatory River tracks from dinosaurs such as Apatosaurus (brontosaurus), stegosaurus and Allosaurus are found. The area has come under serious scientific investigation in recent years. But it wasn’t always that way, in fact the dinosaur tracks were a well-guarded secret until letters in Life Magazine and Scientific American in 1935 reported the existence of dinosaur track ways in the Purgatory Valley. But it would be another 50 years before any serious study of the track site was done. In the 1980s the study of the track site was begun in detail. The results of the study surprised everyone, it became evident that this site was more important than previously thought, in fact the track site is now considered to be the largest continuously mapped site in North America with over 1,300 footprints in four different layers of rock. These footprints from the past were laid down along a now long vanished lake shore 150 million years ago during the late Jurassic period. These animals were walking along this ancient lake shore. One important find of the study illustrates dinosaur behavior previously not known – tracks identified as Apatosaurus (brontosaurus) show herding behavior. Parallel track ways of identical, but smaller animals indicate a social behavior among juvenile brontosaurs – these animals were traveling as a group with their young! It is hard to believe that a seemingly random and common event like leaving muddy footprints along a lake shore millions of years ago would survive to give us tantalizing hints of life on our planet during the age of Dinosaurs!

Picket Wire Canyon Auto Tours:

Guided auto tours are the easiest way to experience Picket Wire Canyonlands and learn about its rich, colorful past. During the tour, knowledgeable guides will show you difficult to find dinosaur tracks, and the interesting prehistoric, historic, and natural features of the canyons. The auto tour is the only motorized access into Picket Wire Canyon.

Reservations are required via www.recreation.gov or call 1 (877) 444 6777. All day tours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) are offered on Saturdays in May, June, September, and October. Sign up early because the tours fill up fast! Due to rough roads, visitors will need their own four-wheel drive vehicle.