Go Back In Time On The Rabbit Valley Trail Through Time In Colorado

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Before I get into this, there are a few things you should know about me relating to this:

  1. I LOVE dinosaurs.  All things dinosaur, I love.
  2. I own two Jurassic Park shirts and wear them when I see dinosaur things. (Update 2020: I’m updating this a bit and am wearing a Jurassic Park shirt right now.)
  3. I’ve made it a goal to see as many dinosaur things in Utah as I can this summer.  Bones, tracks, you name it.
  4. I love dinosaurs.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s go back in time millions of years on the Trail Through Time in Fruita, Colorado.  Well, it’s technically on the side of I70, quite literally, but Fruita is probably the closest town.

Travel Services I Recommend:
AllTrails – This is my favorite hike tracking app.
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National Park Obsessed – This is the best national park planner.
Skyscanner – Skyscanner is great for finding and booking flights.
Enterprise – This is my rental car recommendation.
See all my resources here.


Update 2023: I’m updating this the weekend that we happened to do this hike but five years later!

If you want to see dinosaur bones, the Trail Through Time is probably the easiest place to do that if you’re passing through the area on a road trip or something.  Just get off on the Rabbit Valley exit (there will be signs for the trail) and head over to the parking area.

This is a nice, easy hike, only about 1.5 miles round trip, that takes you through the little valley pointing out dinosaur bones in the rocks. 

A spine on the Rabbit Valley Trail Through Time

Now, don’t expect fully intact dinosaur bones just laying on the ground.  There aren’t any of those, but it’s still cool to see them in the rocks.  I never would have noticed them if the signs weren’t there, like, at all.

There are signs along the trail pointing out other things as well, like a mining claim, different types of rock and soil, what dinosaurs were found where,  how bones were found, and how some rock formations are made, like all the holes in rock walls out here.  It’s from sand balls in case you’re wondering.

The view of Rabbit Valley on the Trail Through Time. That’s Mcinnis Canyon over there.

At the trailhead, you’ll find a few signs talking about the types of dinosaurs that used to live in Colorado and Southern Utah.  You’ll also see a little bit of information about the dinosaur quarry in the area. 

You can go walk to it and see archeologists and paleontologists digging, but we didn’t find it.  There aren’t clear directions to it other than “behind you,” so we went a little way but got too hot and turned around.


The trail is a loop, so you can go up first or across the bottom then over the top.  We went up first to get that part out of the way, not that it’s super tough or anything. 

The first set of bones you come to is neck vertebrae (the first two pictures in the post) and they were kind of hard to spot, but once you see one, they’re very obvious.

Another view of Rabbit Valley on the Trail Through Time. You can see I70, too.

They’re like big gray X’s in the brown rock.  Eventually, you’ll come across a spine and that one is super obvious, just look behind the sign.  I was reading it and couldn’t find the spine, but I’m just tall enough that the sign was blocking it. 

This is three pictures down.  This was the most impressive set of bones, for sure.  Though there are only a few sets, this is the coolest.


The hike is pretty easy and has very little elevation gain.  There are a couple sections of the trail that are thin and maybe a little rocky, but most people should be able to do it without issue.

The scenery is nothing spectacular, I won’t lie.  It’s typical of Southwest Colorado.  You will be walking with the hum of semis on the interstate right next to you, daydreaming of wandering along the trail with dinosaurs and a river flowing by.  Well, maybe not exactly that, but you will have the hum of the interstate at least.


Overall, I would say if you have any interest in dinosaurs and happen to be in the area, this is a nice, easy, quick stop along the interstate.  I wouldn’t go too far out of my way for it though.

If you want more to do in the area, you can hike Dinosaur Hill, which is actually in Fruita, or you can head over the interstate overpass to Mcinnis Canyon National Conservation Area. 

It looks like there are some pretty neat hikes in here, but you will most likely need a high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle to get to a lot of it.  There are camping options here, too.


Things to keep in mind when visiting dinosaur sites:

  • Don’t take the bones.  I shouldn’t have to say this, but I do because people have dug out some of them.  While there aren’t any marked here that I’m aware of, if you do find some, leave them where they are.
  • Just look at the tracks, don’t fill them with water.  While it makes them easier to see, it can damage the tracks.
  • If you find artifacts, do not take them.  Leave them where they are and just take pictures.
  • And finally, don’t carve in or write on the rocks!  I don’t want to have to say this, but I need do.

Want to read about dinosaurs before your trip?  Check out some of these books!

How cool is this!? A spine in a different view on the Trail Through Time

Where is the Trail Through Time in Colorado?

The Trail Through Time is in Rabbit Valley, right on the Utah/Colorado border on I70. There is an exit for it by Mcinnis Canyon. If you’re coming from Grand Junction, it will be on the right. From Moab, on the left.

How long is the Trail Through Time hike?

AllTrails says it’s 1.4 miles round-trip and easy with 180 feet of elevation gain. The hardest part about this hike is that there is no shade meaning it’s hot as heck in the summer.


How long do you need to hike the Trail Through Time?

I would say an hour should be good, more if you want to try and find the quarry or if you walk really slow. It’s short and easy so you shouldn’t need a ton of time.


Is the Trail Through Time hike worth it?

I think so. At least if you like dinosaurs or interesting things like this and are already passing by. I wouldn’t go too far out of my way for it though.

Have you done the Trail Through Time in Colorado?  Do you want to?  Have you seen dinosaur bones?  Where?  

2 thoughts on “Go Back In Time On The Rabbit Valley Trail Through Time In Colorado

    1. Right!? That one was my favorite. I definitely need to learn more about dinosaurs though haha

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