Dinosaur National Monument, Fossil Discovery Trail, Utah Colorado Border

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After viewing more than 1500 fossils at Dinosaur National Monument’s Quarry Exhibit Hall, the ranger suggested we take the tots on the Fossil Discovery Trail, a quick 1.2 mile walk from the Exhibit Hall to the Visitors Center. Since I thought the Quarry Exhibit Hall was so utterly amazing, I was especially interested in seeing what fossils would’ve looked like to the first paleontologists who searched this area. The Fossil Discovery Trail did just that.

The Fossil Discovery Trail offers a quick peak at fossilized remains of dinosaurs and clams still on the rock face. A trail brochure points out exactly where to look, as well as the arrows painted on the rock, but here little g found a fossilized leg bone of a sauropod dinosaur all on her own.

The hike had some steep sections that were tough for little feet, but it was easy to shorten the hike by choosing to just explore one of the three offshoot trails. Each of the spurs shows different kinds of fossils, but the dinosaur bones were the most interesting for us so we only went on that trail section.

The Fossil Discovery Trail would’ve been a perfect hour long hike, if my tots would’ve cooperated. Since little g is at the point where she wants to walk on her own but isn’t quite able to go the whole way without help, I ended up carrying her for most of the way. 
Since his sister got to be carried, Big E wanted a shoulder ride too. When I just couldn’t take little g’s weight anymore, I tried bribing, coercing, enticing and playing to get her to keep walking. She just stopped to look at wildflowers. Finally when the visitor’s center was in sight my potty training toddler looked at me with a smile and said “I POOPED!” Why not wait five more minutes girl?

Overall the Fossil Discovery Trail at Dinosaur National Monument was a great hike, but next time I’ll be glad my kids are older.
Trailhead: Start at the Quarry Exhibit Hall parking lot to hike downhill to the Visitors Center, or start at the Visitors Center and hike up. 
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 1.2 miles, 1 hour
Tips: Bring water and wear a hat and sunscreen. There is no shade. Also pick up a trail brochure for clues on where to see the fossils.

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

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