Dinosaur Footprints
GOOD FOR: Ages 0-4

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:Route 5, Holyoke, MA
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily, April through November
Fee: Free

thetrustees.org; 413-532-1631

Bathrooms: None
Water/Snacks: None

These slabs of sandstone are a must-visit for any dinosaur-obsessed kids who would love to see more than 100 fossilized prints.

Tracks believed to have been left by two-legged dinosaurs are preserved in slabs of sandstone.
Photo by: Kim Foley MacKinnon

This Trustees of Reservations property is found at a somewhat unlikely location: on the side of the road on a busy stretch of highway. What you’ll find after walking on a short path are the first dinosaur prints ever to be scientifically described. More than 190 million years ago, this valley was a subtropical mix of wetlands and shallow lakes. The more than 130 tracks preserved in slabs of sandstone here are believed to have been left by small groups of two-legged carnivorous dinosaurs, perhaps some up to 15 feet tall.

According to the Trustees, the larger prints might be from ancestors of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Other fossils present include stromatolites, fish, and plants. The dinosaur trackways found here formed the basis for the theory that dinosaurs traveled in packs or groups. Truly, there’s not much hiking to be done here, but the payoff of seeing the footprints is priceless. Visiting the footprints, unless you have a rabid dinosaur fan, is probably best combined with another activity, such as visiting the Quabbin Reservoir (Trip 86).

Remember: The prints are fragile, so take off your shoes or clean them before walking around the fossils. Also, crossing the nearby railroad tracks is illegal, not to mention dangerous.

Plan B:

At the Quabbin Reservoir (Trip 86), about 30 minutes away in Belchertown, you can hike more than 20 miles of trails. On certain parts of the reservoir, you can fish and boat (canoes and kayaks are available for rent).

Where to Eat Nearby:

A variety of restaurants are on US 5 in Holyoke.


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