Geology and Prehistory

No, you won’t find dinosaur bones or tracks* in these dramatic upswept rock formations! These old rocks of the Fountain Formation were deeply buried sediments by the time dinosaurs walked this area. The rough arkose of these 300-million-year-old outcrops was laid down in too active an environment to allow much preservation of fossils. Sandstones and coarse conglomerates deposited during storms are interspersed with purplish mudstones. The animals that walked these streambanks in Pennsylvanian time were protomammals and smaller reptiles and amphibians, but invertebrates (like dragonflies and millipedes) were huge compared to our modern-day versions. Read more at Ancient Denvers, Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

A view toward the Ancestral Rockies during Pennsylvanian time.

Two new interpretive signs along the Trading Post Trail loop provide more details about these rocks.
* For these, you must look in the younger rocks of the Morrison and Dakota Formations. They are conveniently exposed at Dinosaur Ridge, just a bit to the east of Red Rocks Park.

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