Dinosaur Ridge and Red Rocks Park

Posted September 30, 2007

Category: Adventures

On September 25th, I went to both Dinosaur Ridge and Red Rocks Park. Both parks are close to each other so I decided to check out both on the same day. The Geologists would especially have loved this adventure! Colorado is both a Meteorological and Geological paradise. The weather was perfect on this day. After about a 30 mile drive from my apartment I arrived at Dinosaur Ridge. It is a location with many fossils and imprints. There are all sorts of displays giving geological information along the road up through Dinosaur Ridge. Dinosaur ridge is one of the world's most famous dinosaur fossil locations. There is a road that goes around and over the ridge. At the base of the ridge is the welcome center. The first two photos below are of the welcome center. Check out the USA dinosaur in the second photo.

Non-camouflaged dinosaurs

Not far from the welcome center is the Golden Fault. It looks more like a trail to me, and likely it is both. In fact if you look toward the top-center portion of the photo you can see a horse walking along the trail. The horse pooed on the fault-trail seconds before I took this photo. Talk about fault lubrication. I know you wanted to know that :).

Can you believe that this over 1-mile high elevation area used to be a swamp? Yep, it was. At one time (~100 million years ago) Colorado was the shoreline of a sea that separated the east and west parts of North America. Back then it had an elevation near sea level. There is lots of Dakota Sandstone and Shale on Dinosaur Ridge. The photo below is of ripples on the now solidified mud produced by waves.

The photo below is the highest point of the road as it curves around Dinosaur Ridge. Notice the dip slope of the rock. About 70 million years ago the uplift of the Rockies caused a tilting of the sedimentary sandstones and shales. There are trail and scenic views along the road. Also I saw lots of hard-core bikers going up and down the mountain road.

Here is a view from Dinosaur Ridge onto the highway below. It has the feel of being in an aircraft.

There are trails that go higher up Dinosaur Ridge from the road. I went on a hike to the top of the ridge. Below is a portion of the trail.

The photo below is of Red Rocks Park from near the top of Dinosaur Ridge.

I'm on my way down the trail. If you look close you can find my truck in the photo. I was right on the edge of the Rockies. Looking east it is flat plains and looking west goes into the mountain domain. I made my way back to the truck and headed for Red Rocks.

I then headed to Red Rocks Park. There are breath taking views in the park. The tilted sediments erode at different rates depending on what each sediment is made of. The Red Rocks are more erosion resistant, thus they remain while adjacent sediments are eroded. Below is a photo of a portion of Red Rocks Park.

There is a famous amphitheater that was built into the Red Rocks. They have concerts, performances and a yearly Easter sunrise service. On each side of the amphitheater is a huge red rock structure. The top of the amphitheater has a large flat space for concessions and viewing. The next two photos are each side rock structure.

There is a visitors center I went to that is underneath the amphitheater. It has a restaurant and a museum. Within the museum is a list of every performer than has ever performed at the amphitheater. There are also pictures of many of the performers. Someday I will have to check out a performance.

This is the view from the top of the amphitheater. Out in the distance Denver can be seen. This was my favorite view of the entire trip. I stood here for awhile admiring the view.

This is what it looks like from the stage.

Up at this higher elevation some people can be influenced by the thinner air. During performances they have oxygen available just in case.

The next two photos are a couple of more views around Red Rocks Park.

Here is one of those random photos I am adding to end the trip off. Here is where Interstate 76 begins that goes through northeast Colorado. I use this to head back to the north side of Denver and into Brighton. I had a great trip. The views were spectacular.