Riggs HillDate: 3/28/2007
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Miles: Approx. 1 Mile Round Trip
Trailhead GPS coordinates: 39° 4’23.58″N, 108°38’55.93″W
Riggs hill is reported to be the site of the first official dinosaur excavation in Western Colorado. It’s named after paleontologist Elmer S. Riggs. Riggs discovered fossils of the Brachiosaurus dinosaur in this location back in 1900. Riggs hill is owned and maintained by the Museum of Western Colorado.
To access Riggs Hill from Grand Junction, follow Grand Ave west. from 1st street for about 3 miles. Turn left onto South Broadway and travel for about 1 mile. The trail head is located within a medium sized parking area on your right. There are signs indicating Riggs Hill and you will see what looks like bleachers on the side of the hill.
There are a number of trails that lead all over the mountain. If you take the southern trail that follows South Broadway, there is a cast of a Brachiosaurus backbone and a small plaque describing the area. There is a nice trail that leads you to the top of the hill and provides a nice view of the Grand Valley and the Colorado National Monument. The trail is not a real maintained one and there are a lot of little ledges you have to step up on and plenty of loose rocky soil that makes you be cautious of where you step. Once you get to the top, there are more little trails that lead to different areas; we opted to stay on the more well travelled trails. On the North portion of the hill there appeared to be an old fence that marked the boundary of the area. We did not see any signs indicating private property, so explore at your own discretion. The trail we took eventually looped around and ended up back at the parking area.
Riggs Hill would have to be added to my “more liked” list just because of the geography and the close proximity to town. I enjoy every chance I get to go outdoors and this area just enforces my reasons for exploring new areas. The trail was just enough to be cautious of your steps but not tricky enough to be worried about getting in too deep, plus it is always great fun to explore a place you have never been before. Reading about the history of this area and being able to see the cast of the Brachiosaurus backbone made the trip very exciting. I would recommend this little hike to most any one.
I rated this hike a 3 1/2 due to the history and educational opportunities of the whole area. It is nestled pretty much in the middle of various neiborhoods, that alone took some of the splendor away from it, and the fact that it could get very hot in the summer time. Other then that, there are great views and plenty of opportunities to learn about some of the history of the area.