Getting there and getting around Denver

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, about 15 kilometers outside of Denver and next to Dinosaur Ridge, is a great place to take in views of the region as well as a show. Credit: Quan Ha, CC BY 2.0. Red Rocks Amphitheatre, about 15 kilometers outside of Denver and next to Dinosaur Ridge, is a great place to take in views of the region as well as a show. Credit: Quan Ha, CC BY 2.0.

Denver International Airport is the best arrival point for exploring Denver and the surrounding area. A car is necessary to see many of the attractions described here. If you fly in, you can rent a vehicle at the airport or take the new light rail into town and rent a car as needed. Although all of these sites are open year-round, snow sometimes obscures the tracks during winter and early spring, and trails can be muddy. May through October is an ideal time to visit the region

Hike the Cretaceous-Tertiary Trail on South Table Mountain in nearby Golden, Colo. Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott. Hike the Cretaceous-Tertiary Trail on South Table Mountain in nearby Golden, Colo. Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

Along Skyline Drive, visitors can see more than 50 blob-like footprints: protrusions marking the toes in these trackways provide evidence that these bulges were made by a group of ankylosaurs. Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott. Along Skyline Drive, visitors can see more than 50 blob-like footprints: protrusions marking the toes in these trackways provide evidence that these bulges were made by a group of ankylosaurs. Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

Golden, one of Denver’s western suburbs, makes an excellent base for exploration. From there, you’ll have easy access to most of the dinosaur sites, as well as recreational activities such as biking, hiking, rafting and golf. Nearby areas offer many other interesting attractions, including the Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum, many microbreweries, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and South Table Mountain, the first place in North America where the end-Cretaceous boundary was identified, as well as a good selection of restaurants and accommodations.

Terri Cook

Terri Cook

Based in Boulder, Colo., and trained as a geologist, Cook is a freelance writer whose career has focused on exploring and explaining the history of our amazing planet, including as a roving correspondent for EARTH. Follow her travels at www.down2earthscience.com. Follow her @GeoTravelTerri.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 05:45