Trail Through TimeDate: 1/31/2011
Miles: Approx. 1.5 miles round trip
Time: 1.5 hours
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: °11’36.65″N , 109° 1’12.32″W
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To access the trail from Grand Junction travel west on I-70 for approximately 26 miles until you come to the Rabbit Valley exit, which is exit #2. At the top of the off ramp turn right and travel about 100 yards to the large parking area.
The Trail Through Time area consists of an active dinosaur quarry that is still being excavated occasionally during the summer months and a maintained trail that climbs up the side of the hill and loops its way down and back around.
The Mygatt-Moore quarry the trail goes by is worked and maintained by the Museum of Western Colorado and has yielded a large variety of dinosaur bones such as Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus and Allosaurus. The museum offers various “Dino Dig” programs where for a fee you can go out with them and help excavate actual dinosaur bones.
The trail begins by travelling about a hundred yards along a smooth graveled trail to the actual quarry. Once you almost reach the quarry the trail turns to the right and quickly begins climbing up the side of the hill. This first portion is probably the hardest part of the entire trail. As you travel along there are signs along the way describing the landscape and history as well as pointing out various dinosaur bones that the museum has left.
The trail climbs about halfway up the side of the hill and then pretty much levels out as it travels along the side. As you walk along the hillside you can have great views of the LaSal Mountains to the south and views of Grand Mesa. The trail is very well maintained but still requires a little attention in some spots. The best time to do this hike is in the spring and fall. During the summer months the temperatures can exceed 100deg and the gnats can become quite a nuisance. During the winter time the trail could become slick in spots and pose a slight hazard or in our case if there’s not much snow and warm temperatures it could get very muddy.
This is an excellent trail to bring young kids on or anyone interested in paleontology and geology. There are a number of learning opportunities along the way with nice views of the south and a couple actual covered benches to sit and rest. The only negative part is it is a rather long drive from Grand Junction and you have the constant drone of vehicles cruising along the highway less than a half mile away.
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