The Fruita Paleontological Area is a half-mile interpretive hike managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It’s located near Grand Junction, Colorado, just south of Fruita, Colorado in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area.
Explore 20 artistic renderings that lead visitors through the site’s paleontological history and discover what makes this area so special.
The Fruita Paleontological Area is part of the world-renowned Morrison Formation, a distinct area of Upper Jurassic sedimentary rock known for its plethora of dinosaur and animal fossils. The Fruita area, in particular, has been a rich source of important Late Jurassic fossil finds including:
The fossils of two species are of special note:
Fruitadens—The smallest ornithischian dinosaur in the world were first discovered at this site. They measured up to 30 inches long.
Fruitafossor windscheffeli—A termite-eating mammal named after Wally Windscheffe, the Grand Junction resident who discovered it.
What to Expect
An easy hike provides visitors with informational signposts that showcase this area’s Late Jurassic fossil finds, dinosaurs, and plant life. Explore the area and learn about the discoveries made here.
The trails are sandy, so be prepared to get a little dirty. Other important things to consider for your trip include:
- Kid and dog-friendly
- Half-mile trail over easy ground
- About one hour to complete
- Over 20 informational kiosks
- Cellphone reception cuts in and out
In addition to learning about the fossils and geology of the area, visitors can explore the historic Skinner Cabin. This cabin provides guests with a glimpse into the life of early settlers, and was recently made ADA accessible.
Where Is It?
The Fruita Paleontological Area is located in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. It lies between the Devils Canyon and Pollock Bench areas of the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. It’s about 25 minutes from Grand Junction, Colorado and 12 minutes from the center of Fruita, Colorado.
Address: Fruita, CO 81521
Phone: 970-244-3000 (BLM)
Season: Year round