In the 1870s, when very little was still known about dinosaurs, two paleontologists—Othniel C. Marsh and Edward D. Cope—uncovered the first of many fossilized bones in Cañon City’s Garden Park area. The subsequent “Bone Wars,” during which scientists raced to discover new species of dinosaurs put Garden Park, and Cañon City, on the map.
Since then, many well-known species of large dinosaurs have been discovered at this site, some of which are now exhibited at such renowned institutions as the Smithsonian Institute and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Nearby Cleveland and Marsh Quarries were also notable locations for dinosaur discoveries in the 1870s, 1880s, and 1950s, proving once again that this incredible area in Cañon City is one of the most important locations in the U.S. for the study of the late Jurassic period. Today, the Marsh Quarry and Cleveland Quarry have interpretive signs to highlight the area’s history. Local volunteers and the BLM work together to maintain biking and hiking trails, a shooting area, and rest stops in the area, as well as prevent fossil theft.
Located just six miles north of Cañon City, Garden Park is an excellent outing for people of all ages. There is space to run, history to learn, and gorgeous scenery and rock formations to take in.