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Picketwire Trail

pioneer cemetery in southwestern colorado

pioneer cemetery near trail

Trail Through Time

This southeastern Colorado trail takes you back in time to the era of the dinosaurs. You begin your descent into ancient prehistory with an appropriately steep winding path from the trailhead down into the Purgatory Canyon to the Purgatoire River. Your journey through time first takes you back to pioneer times where you will view an old cemetery right beside the trail. The stone grave markers and wooden crosses attest to the firmly held religious beliefs of these hearty settlers.

dinosaur tracks near the Purgatory river

Dinosaur Tracks Near Picket Wire Trail

Jump back on your two-wheeled time machine and continue back in time to the age when huge thunder lizards roamed the earth. At about mile 5.2, you will come to a restroom facility and a sign pointing to the dinosaur tracks. By all means, this is one of the greatest trail destinations in the world. you have now traveled back 150 million years to the Jurassic Period. Soon, you will see the footprints of a brontosaurus and an Allosaurus. At first, you will only see a couple Allosaurus tracks in the rocks. But if you walk upriver along a rock-lined trail, you will come to a crossing. This can get pretty tricky to ford the river in the spring, so be careful and use good judgement. Most of the year, the river is either low or non-existent and quiet easy to cross. Once you get to the other side, you will marvel at the proliferation of Brontosaurus tracks, preserved in the stone for modern day trail travelers.

Wildlife Near Picketwire Trail

Our journey ends here, but the adventure is just beginning. Although the trail continues, and you are

colorful lizard near picket wire trail in colorado

colorful lizard near dinosaur tracks

encouraged to press onward, stay on the lookout for modern day wildlife such as deer and lizards. you may be surprised that, although our current lizard population is not as gargantuan as the thunder lizards of old, they are every bit as colorful and fascinating. Without a doubt, the Picket Wire Trail is historical, scenic and peaceful. (Unless one of Allosaurus’ decides to stalk you.) To get to the trailhead, From La Junta, Colorado drive south on Highway 109 for 13 miles; turn right (west) on County Road #802 (Vogel Canyon Road) and continue for eight miles. Turn left (south) on County Road #25 and continue for six miles to the Corral Parking Area. If you want to drive to the trailhead, you should have a high-clearance, four wheel drive vehicle. Turn left (east) at Forest Service Road #500A and follow it for three miles until you arrive at the trailhead.

deer in purgatory river in colorado

Trail Map

Suggested Lodging

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