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Picket Wire Canyonlands Trail

Easy/Intermediate
 4.7 (3)

A relatively easy trail to one of the largest dinosaur trackways in the world.


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Map Key

8.9

Miles

14.3

KM

Doubletrack

4,634' 1,412 m

High

4,317' 1,316 m

Low

262' 80 m

Up

475' 145 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

21%

Max Grade (12°)

Dogs No Dogs

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

No camping in the canyon.

Need to Know

Cell phone reception is spotty on the canyon rim and not existent in the canyon. Be cautious when riding and do not take unnecessary risks. Medical assistance could be 1 to 2 hours away.

Camping is allowed on the canyon rim but camping in the canyon is not allowed. Dogs are not allowed in the canyon. There are no services in the canyon except a pit toilet at the Rourke Ranch and the dinosaur trackway. Water can be filtered from the river but it is highly bitter and unpalatable.

Preventions against flats is highly encouraged whether that be tubeless tires or liners or Slime or some combination of all three. This area is infested with goatheads.

Rattlesnakes are common in the canyon. Take any necessary precautions and be cautious when walking in tall grass or near rocks.

Do not deface nor harm petroglyphs nor dinosaur tracks.

June, July, and August are uncomfortably hot for riding.

Description

Located south of La Junta, Colorado, this ride is not a difficult mountain bike ride...except for the first half mile and last half mile. The ride in the canyon floor is flat and slightly sandy. There are a few short climbs and short downhills. However, the bicycle ride isn't the main reason for doing this ride.

Within the canyon, there is a dinosaur trackway that, in addition to being one of the largest in the world, has helped us understand dinosaur behavior. The trackway contains over 1,000 footprints from approximately 125 individual dinosaurs. The trackway is split by the Purgatory River (Rio de las Animas Perdidas en Purgatório). Bring wading shoes.

The canyon has evidence of human occupation for the last 4,000 to 5,000 years. Petroglyphs pecked into rock from the Fremont era of Native Americans exist up and down the canyon. Evidence of a large Hispanic settlement from the 1880 to early 1900 is also present as are the remains of an 1800s to 1970s working cattle ranch.

The canyon is so filled with history that the ride often takes several hours to complete. It's not hard, but you are easily distracted. The trip is an out-and-back for a total distance of 18 miles.

Contacts

Shared By:

Stuart Black

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 3 votes

#4763

Overall
  4.7 from 3 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#417

in Colorado

#4,763

Overall
45 Views Last Month
956 Since Jun 8, 2018
Easy/Intermediate

33%
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67%
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Photos

Horned lizard petroglyph
Jun 8, 2018 near La Junta, CO
Dinosaur tracks along Purgatory River
Jun 8, 2018 near La Junta, CO
Purgatory Canyon from petroglyph site
Jun 8, 2018 near La Junta, CO
Steep hill on the first half mile
Jun 8, 2018 near La Junta, CO
River where the dinosaur tracks are.
Dec 23, 2018 near La Junta, CO

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Check-Ins

Mar 21, 2020
Noli E
only went to dinosaur tracks 11mi
Oct 11, 2019
Mark Schwartz
Dec 21, 2018
Justin Klein
Beautiful ride through a canyon where you won’t see another person the whole time. 25mi
Oct 10, 2015
Stuart Black
Ride time is total time in canyon. Done the ride many times. It's not that long a ride but there is a lot to look at which impacts the ride time. 17.8mi — 8h 00m