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Hiking in Golden: Hiking the I-70 "cut" from the Stegosaurus parking lot

I-70 cut through the Hogback (south side)
I-70 cut through the Hogback (south side)Deb Stanley

Driving I-70 from Denver to the mountains means driving through a cut in the “hogback” between Golden and Morrison. The colorful rock layers are exposed in this spot and there’s a trail on each side of the highway.

Earlier this spring, I hiked the trail from the T-Rex parking lot. Along the way, there were several signs explaining the geology of the area. This time, I decided to hike the trail along the south side of the highway from the Stegosaurus parking lot (directions below). However, while the trail on the south side of the highway passes those same rock layers as the trail on the north side, there was no signs on the south side trail.

The trail is covered in dirt that has washed down from the hillside over the years, covering the old gravel path. You’ll pass many colorful layers of rock and it’s very interesting, However, I highly recommend skipping this trail and hiking the path on the north side of the highway.

There’s just not much to say about the south side trail. It goes past the colorful rock layers. At the end of the path, there’s a sign that says, “Caution! Danger! Cuidado! Do not enter, No Hay Entrada, Rifle-Pistol Range, Law Enforcement Firearms Training Area.”

There’s a barbed wire fence around the path. If you go over it, which, of course, you should not do, there’s a view of the shooting range and the dirt bike track below.

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Details: The hike from the parking lot to the danger sign and back is 0.6 miles roundtrip with 15 feet of elevation gain.

Directions: From Interstate 70, take the Heritage Ridge/Morrison Road/Highway 93/Highway 40 exit and turn south. Go to the first left turn, that goes into the Stegosaurus Park-N-Ride lot. Go up the hill to the top of the parking lot. There are two parking spots here labeled “One hour parking, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.”