Fossil Discovery Trail

Brownish-gray rock face with red tinted fossil embedded in the rock.
A fossilized leg bone of a sauropod dinosaur (on right side of image) protrudes from the rock face along the Fossil Discovery Trail.


1.2 miles, one-way, from either the visitor center or the Quarry Exhibit Hall
Level of Difficulty
Moderate, some steep, uneven sections and rocky areas. Trail is extremely slippery when it is wet
Trailhead Location
You can access the Fossil Discovery Trail from either the Quarry Visitor Center or the Quarry Exhibit Hall. (Please note: The road to the Quarry Exhibit Hall is gated at 5:00 pm each evening.)
Your Safety
Be prepared for desert hiking: Take a hat, sunscreen, and water
Let someone know where you are going and when you are due back.
Wear comfortable shoes, such as hiking boots or athletic shoes. Open-toed shoes are not recommended
There is no shade on this trail
Trail can be extremely slippery when wet
Rules and Regulations
Pets are not allowed on this trail or in the monument's backcountry
Carry out all trash
Collecting artifacts, fossils, plants, or other objects is prohibited
Do not feed or approach wildlife
Trail Brochures
A trail brochure is available at the visitor center or Quarry Exhibit Hall that provides a general overview of three of the significant rock layers along the trail. During the summer, rangers provided daily guided walks on the trail. See our ranger program schedule for more details.
The trail cuts through several tilted rock layers which expose a variety of rocks and three fossil areas. The Morrison Formation stop features an outcropping of several small fossil fragments and a few large pieces of dinosaur bones in their natural state, just as Earl Douglass found them in 1909. The National Geographic Trails Illustrated map of Dinosaur National Monument is available from the park bookstore.
Collage of two photos showing fragments of fossils encased in a grayish rock. Left image is non-descript, squarish fragment. Right image is of a small leg bone.
Numerous small dinosaur fossil bones and bone fragments can be seen eroding out of the Morrison formation on the Fossil Discovery Trail. Please remember to leave all fossils as you found them so that others may also enjoy seeing them.


A group of 11 people walk on a trail trough a desert environment. In the background is a ridge with several outcrops of yellowish-tan rock.
A group hikes through the exposed rock layers on the Fossil Discovery Trail


Last updated: December 19, 2017

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Mailing Address:

4545 Hwy 40
Dinosaur, CO 81610


(435) 781-7700

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