If you are doing this trail in the summer, camp at the trailhead and get an early start. This is a wide open space with little to no shade and it get hot once the noon day sun appears. I loved this trail for its trip through history. The dinosaur tracks are the icing on the cake, but you pass pre-Columbian petroglyphs, an old Spanish mission, and an early American homestead along the way. As other have said, bring plenty of water.
Did this in August 2016. Dinosaur footprints are unique. Hike is flat but 11 miles round trip from campground. Add another 5 if you don't have decent ground clearance vehicle because 2wd trailhead is 2.5 from campground trailhead. Decent descent into canyon is ONLY significant nonhorizontal hiking present. Take water or a filter. There is a source. The hike is a 2 or 3 but the uniqueness and relative difficulty makes it a 4 in my book.
You can drive it or walk it, the trail is clear but not well marked. Near Oklahoma's Black Mesa trail, but you have to drive into Colorado to access it from this point. Not much to see, just a chance to walk out in the wide open to a minor point of interest. But if you're in the neighborhood, do it. Its on federal land.
This is an easy hike to some petroglyphs on the canyon walls and to an old homestead. If you do the full loop you continue up a canyon where there is a small arch before returning to the trailhead. The trail after the homestead gets harder to follow. I give it a five stars because their is nothing else in the area to see but open grassland. Otherwise I would of rated it a three. Yes, it is worth seeing.
A great trip plan is to also see Picketwire and Vogel Canyons a little northwest of here, (south of La Juenta, CO) at the same time. These sites also contain petrographs, dinosaur tracs, an old spanish mission, and more.
It was hot. Way hot! We needed every drop of water we could had and it was fortunate there was a spring on the far side that we could refill at. The trail goes from visible to marked only by post unevenly spaced across the prairie grass. The pictographs are very mutilated which is so sad, they look like there were amazing at one time. The hills and cliffs are nice, great colors at sunrise and sunset. We saw one big buck which was very nice. Outside that, there was little wildlife. The spring we got water from was very nice, had a pipe sticking out that made getting your water easy. However, the mosquitos were BAD just before sunset. Not sure if the would be as bad during the heat of the day.
Definitely a trail we would try again, but only in the winter months.
Hiked to the petroglyph along the overlook trail and then back along the Vogel Canyon trail. There was so much graffiti along with the actual ancient markings we couldn't tell which ones were the actual petroglyphs and which ones were done by the dick drips.
It was pretty hot so we did not stay out too long.
Did this one with a good friend early in the year - agree about not trying this in the middle of the summer as it can be brutally hot. Dino tracks are goal and well worth the hike. Along the way is an old Spanish mission ruins and cemetery. Interesting birding and plant life if you slow down to check it out...good trail-head to park at and a very cool and interesting hike overall.
Picketwire canyon is remarkable and unique with the dinosaur tracks and ruins, indian rock art, and general desert environment with its panoramic views. Plan well, primitive camping at the trailhead, no water. Purgoitory river not the best source for water on the trail, though we used it. Extreme heat in mid to late summer, plan accordingly. We stopped at the dinsosaur tracks and went back. Plan on returning to go all the way to Rourk ranch.
The canyon trail was very scenic and varied in what it had to offer. The indian cave art is hard to find and faint, at least what I saw. But that did not diminish the beauty of the area. Nice cliffs, natural springs, desert landscape. Greatly enjoyed the trip to Vogel Canyon. There are three other trails in Vogel. Take the time to do them all.
The trail was a nice hike along an old stage line and through a native sage prairie. Great open sky, nice desert scenery. Recommend doing it with the other trails at Vogel canyon. It makes a nice full day hiking the area. Some of the other trails are more spectacular, but I wouldn't miss this one either.
Vogel Mesa trail follows the canyon rim and offers nice view of the canyon and surround country. Pleasant and short enough for anyone. Camping at the trailhead and coupling this trail with the others at Vogel makes for a nice day to day and one half of fun.