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Fruita Paleo Area, CO

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Rated  Favorite Wish List CO > Northwest
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 0.75 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,518 feet
Elevation Gain 53 feet
Accumulated Gain 59 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 1.05
Interest Historic
Backpack No
Post the 1st photoset!
Associated Areas
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Northwest - Grand Junction BLM
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Mar → Any
Sun  7:22am - 4:52pm
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Water
Nearby Area Water
Pollock Bench Trail
0.8 mi away
5.5 mi
967 ft
Devil's Canyon - Williams' Geology Loop
0.9 mi away
2.5 mi
239 ft
Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Trails
1.9 mi away
25.0 mi
Rustler's Loop
3.9 mi away
3.6 mi
336 ft
Mary Moore Loop Trail
4.1 mi away
9.5 mi
1,425 ft
Otto Trail
Otto Trail
4.2 mi away
1.0 mi
98 ft
Monument Canyon - Grand Junction
5.1 mi away
6.0 mi
White Rocks Petroglyphs
White Rocks Petroglyphs
5.7 mi away
0.5 mi
73 ft
Liberty Cap - Ute Canyon
6.7 mi away
10.2 mi
950 ft
Colorado National Monument Trails
6.8 mi away
41.0 mi
[ View More! ]
Dig into the past in the FPA
by PaleoRob

Overview: The Fruita Paleontological Area is a rich treasure-trove of Late Jurassic fossils hidden among colorful Morrison Formation badlands at the foot of Colorado National Monument and within the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. This short trail loops through the FPA; interpretive signs discuss the geology and the fossils found in this protected area.

Warning: There is no water and no shade along this route.


History: In the 1970s, crews of paleontologists from CSU Long Beach and elsewhere came to western Colorado to look in the 152 million-year-old Morrison for fossils. What they found were not the massive remains of sauropods, theropods, stegosaurs, and the other "usual" dinosaurs that dot the prehistoric landscape. Instead the teams found something even more rare and scientifically valuable; small fossils. Tiny fossils of primitive mammals, legged-snakes, dog-sized crocodiles, and even miniature dinosaurs. This treasure trove of fossils became one of the riches fossil localities in the American west. Since its discovery, paleontologists have named several new animals including Fruitadens, Fruitafossor, Fruitachampsa, and Diablophis from this site. The first three honor the nearby town of Fruita, from which the Fruita Paleo Area gets its name. The town of Fruita has also adopted an official dinosaur, Ceratosaurus magnicornis, which was first discovered in the FPA and named in 2000. Remains of this animal are on display in Fruita at the Museums of Western Colorado's Dinosaur Journey museum.

Hike: The hike begins at an informational sign, kiosk, and pit toilet and forms a loop that is roughly 3/4 of a mile around. The informational signs offer both images of the past and geological information to help you understand what it is you are seeing along the way. The trail heads southwest, generally following a wash, until it comes to the base of green-grey hill. Here the trail turns and climbs the ridge to the north. From there the trail follows the ridge line back down to the trailhead. There are many social trails in the area, along with two other official BLM trails through the FPA, but by following the informational signs you will not get off the designated route.

Water Sources: None, bring your own.

Camping: Not allowed within the FPA.

PaleoRob
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
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    Road
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Fruita, head south on 340 and cross the Colorado River. Turn right at the Kings View road (across from the rodeo grounds). Follow this road (Kingsview Road) for 2.2 miles until the second pulloff on the left. The road will turn from pavement to gravel not long after the first left-hand pullout for Devil's Canyon. The parking lot is signed for the Fruita Paleo Area.
    page created by PaleoRob on Mar 14 2017 1:29 pm
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