10 Places to Walk With Dinosaurs in the U.S.

A set of dinosaur tracks in a desert landscape
The Picketwire Canyonlands in southeastern Colorado are home to the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the United States. The tracks here were left by large, plant-eating dinosaurs tracing the shore of an ancient lake.

milehightraveler / Getty Images

There are natural places across the United States that offer evidence of the dinosaurs. Many of these locations are known as track sites, where visitors can see fossilized imprints where dinosaurs once walked. Most of these track sites feature trace fossils, or the negative space where the footprint left its mark. Others are the cast of the footprint, created by the sedimentary material that filled in the tracks millions of years ago. Some are found on rock walls and cliff faces rather than the ground, thanks to tectonic movement over the millennia.

Here are 10 places in the United States where you can find fossilized footprints and walk with the dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Valley State Park (Glen Rose, Texas)

A three-toed dinosaur track in the rocky ground, filled with water

Diane Turner / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Dinosaur Valley State Park is a 1,500 acre park near Glen Rose, Texas that straddles the Paluxy River. The riverbed itself features several dinosaur track sites, which can only can be seen when the riverbed is dry. The tracks, estimated to be about 112 million years old, are thought to be created by two different species — Sauroposeidon proteles and Acrocanthosaurus. Acrocanthosaurus was a carnivorous species that walked on its hind legs, which left a three-toed track. The Sauroposeidon proteles, meanwhile, was a four-legged herbivore with large, elephantlike tracks. One of the track sites also includes a rare tail impression left behind in the limestone.

Clayton Lake State Park (Clayton, New Mexico)

A fenced off area of rocky ground with dinosaur track impressions

Sue Ruth / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Nearly 500 dinosaur prints make up the "Dinosaur Freeway" in Clayton Lake State Park, located 12 miles outside Clayton in the grasslands of northeastern New Mexico. The tracks, estimated at roughly 100 million years old, vary widely in size. There are small footprints formed by a baby iguanodon that was likely about a foot long, as well as larger tracks attributed to 30-foot adults of several species. In one case, there is fossilized evidence that a dinosaur slipped in the mud and used its tail to regain balance.

Dinosaur State Park (Rocky Hill, Connecticut)

The ground in a museum exhibit covered with dinosaur tracks

Rain0975 / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

More than 2,000 dinosaur tracks in Connecticut were discovered in 1966 when a bulldozer operator overturned a slab of sandstone and discovered a set of well-preserved tracks. More excavation work revealed one of the largest set of dinosaur tracks in the world, all originating from a carnivorous species some 200 million years ago. Today, the tracks are part of Dinosaur State Park, and are covered by a 55,000-square-foot geodesic dome. The park also features hiking trails and an arboretum with species from plant families that existed during the Triassic and Jurassic periods. 

Dinosaur Footprints Wilderness Reservation (Holyoke, Massachusetts)

The outline of a single dinosaur footprint in gray rock

Robert Gray / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Dinosaur Footprints Wilderness Reservation is found on the western bank of the Connecticut River, just north of Holyoke, Massachusetts. Discovered in 1802, the site preserves more than 800 tracks from some of the earliest dinosaur species, including small plant-eaters and a 20-foot carnivorous creature thought to be an ancestor of the famed Tyrannosaurus rex. Visitors can also see imprints of prehistoric plants, as well as the fossilized ripple bars of an ancient pool.

Dinosaur Ridge (Morrison, Colorado)

A collection of dinosaur tracks seen in smooth, gray rock

FootWarrior / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Dinosaur Ridge is a track site about 30 minutes west of Denver in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It was uncovered in the 1930s during a road construction project. Visitors can find hundreds of tracks created by massive brontosauruses, iguanodons, and triceratops, as well as prehistoric ancestors of alligators. There are also fossils of mangroves and palm fronds, providing evidence of the wet, tropical environment that once existed here. The fossilized prints are estimated to range from 140 - 68 million old.

Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite (Greybull, Wyoming)

A rocky plain covered with fossilized tracks in front of an observation deck

Bureau of Land Management / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

The Red Gulch track site was discovered in 1997 in the high desert of northern Wyoming. With prints dating to about 167 million years ago, it is one of the foremost sites from the Middle Jurassic Period. Until the discovery of the track site, paleontologists believed most of what is now Wyoming had been covered by an ancient ocean called the Sundance Sea, but hundreds of footprints from large, land-based dinosaurs shows that the sea might not have been as widespread as once thought. Researchers also believe there may be thousands more fossils to uncover in the area.

Picketwire Canyonlands (La Junta, Colorado)

Several sets of large dinosaur tracks on the rocky ground near a river

milehightraveler / Getty Images

The Picketwire Canyonlands are home to the largest collection of dinosaur tracks in North America, with more than 1,900 footprints in 130 separate trackways. An 11.2-mile round-trip hike from Withers Canyon Trailhead leads to the tracks, found along the Purgatoire River in southeastern Colorado. Tracks here are primarily from brontosaurs and allosaurs, which date to the late Jurassic period. The brontosaur tracks tend to be arranged in groups, leading scientists to believe that they traveled together along the shore of what was once a shallow lake.

Skyline Drive (Cañon City, Colorado)

Fossilized dinosaur tracks extruding from a rocky cliff

wessel1943 / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Skyline Drive is a scenic, 2.8-mile road on a ridgeline above Cañon City, Colorado. One of the long ridges, also called "hogbacks," along the road features dozens of cast fossils from footprints of ankylosaurs. This armored species was among the last of the non-avian dinosaurs, existing about 66-68 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period. The tracks, which were discovered in 2000, indicate several ankylosaurs walking side by side.

Igloo Creek (Denali National Park, Alaska)

Dinosaur tracks visible in a large rock

Daniel A. Leifheit / Getty Images

Dinosaurs aren't often thought of as cold-weather creatures, but there is growing evidence that Denali National Park was once home to a booming dinosaur population. Since 2005, scientists have discovered a number of fossils and footprints near Igloo Creek in rocky outcroppings of shale and mudstone. The tracks date back about 65-70 million years ago, and include prints from meat-eaters, as well as duck-billed herbivores known as hadrosaurs. Most of the tracks are found on steep mountainsides, which researchers believe were once flat ground that shifted vertically over time.

Bull Canyon (Moab, Utah)

A series of dinosaur tracks in a rocky trail

BethWolff43 / Getty Images

Bull Canyon Overlook is a dinosaur track site as well as a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Utah canyonlands, about an hour east of Moab. Visitors can access the track site via a short, gravel trail. The tracks here are from theropods, and feature the three-toed footprint distinctive to these bipedal meat-eaters. They date back 200 million years, to a time when this desert landscape was much wetter, and braided by rivers, lakes, and marshlands.