Dinosaur Footprints
Holyoke, MA
8 acres
Bird Watching Mountain Biking Not Permitted Dog Walking Walking/Hiking (Easy) Picnicking Public Transportation

About Dinosaur Footprints

Imagine small herds of dinosaurs on the shore of a shallow tropical lake as you enjoy a real, up-close look at their fossilized prints, left in sandstone to spur our wonder.

What makes Dinosaur Footprints a special place?
We think it's the treasure trove of more than 130 tracks revealed in slabs of sandstone. Researchers believe these prints were left by small groups of two-legged, carnivorous dinosaurs, up to 15’ tall. The entire Connecticut River Valley – which scientists believe was a sub-tropical swamp a “mere” 190 million years ago – has long been recognized for its wealth of prehistoric footprints.

The first dinosaur prints to be scientifically described are still here to be seen, preserved in sandstone since this valley was a sub-tropical mix of wetlands and shallow lakes, 190 million years ago. The larger Eubrontes prints were likely made by ancestors of the great Tyrannosaurus rex, standing up to 15’ tall and 20’ long. You can see hundreds of fossils not only from the four distinct two-legged dinosaurs, but also stromatolites, fish, plants and other ancient beings. Finally, look for the 20+ dinosaurs trackways, which formed the basis for the novel theory that dinosaurs travelled in packs or groups.

A short trail parallels Route 5 northward from the entrance to the location of the dinosaur footprints. Easy walking.

When to Visit
April 1 to November 30, daily, sunrise to sunset (closed in winter due to icy, slippery conditions). Allow a minimum of ½ hour.

Regulations & Advisories

  • Please respect the ancient and fragile footprints and fossils so future generations may enjoy seeing them.

  • For visitor safety, Guilford Transportation, which owns the railroad corridor, does not permit crossing of railroad tracks. As such, there is no legal access to the Connecticut River.

  • Mountain biking is not allowed.

  • Dogs must be kept on leash at all times.

The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Find the full policy here.


Route 5
Holyoke, MA 01040
Telephone: 413.213.4751
E-mail pvregion@thetrustees.org

Latitude: 42.241
Longitude: -72.623

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Points North: From I-91 South, take Exit 18 to Rt. 5 South toward Holyoke. Follow for 5.2 mi. to entrance on left.

From Points South: From I-91 North take Exit 17 to Rt. 141 East toward Holyoke. Turn left onto Rt. 5 North and follow for 2.2 mi. to entrance on right.

Reservation has small roadside turnout for parking (April 1 to November 30; 7 cars).

Public Transportation:
BLUE 48 Bus (Northampton/Veterans Park; Connection to Holyoke Mall) Flagstop route. Stand on side of the road to catch bus; ask driver to stop at Dinosaur Footprints.
For bus details, click here.


When to Visit
April 1 to November 30, daily, sunrise to sunset (closed in winter due to icy, slippery conditions). Allow a minimum of ½ hour.

FREE to all

Property History

Born to poor parents in 1793, Edward Hitchcock had no formal college training. Yet he would become a professor and president of Amherst College, state geologist for Massachusetts, and a father of ichnology, the branch of paleontology that studies trace-fossils such as footprints and tracks.

Hitchcock was an ordained Congregationalist minister before he turned to scientific pursuits. In fact, as professor of Natural Theology and Geology at Amherst College, he sought to reconcile the eternal and the prehistoric through his field work and research on this site and others along the Connecticut River, which was part of a massive glacial lake. Ancient sedimentary layers and the lake's sandstone bottom provided ideal surfaces for recording and preserving dinosaur footprints, which were just waiting to be unearthed millions of years later.

Property Acquisition History
Purchased in 1935.

Maps and Resources

Trail maps are distributed free from bulletin board in parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out. We recommend that you download a trail map before you visit.

Planning Your Visit

Travel Links
Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau

Community Links
City of Holyoke
Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce

Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.

Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:

  • Protect wildlife and plants.
  • Guard against all risk of fire.
  • Help keep air and water clean.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Use marked footpaths and bridle paths.
  • Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone.
  • Respect the privacy of neighboring land.
  • Enjoy and share the landscape with others.

Click on links below for further visitor information:

Before Setting Out

Enjoying Trustees Reservations


About Hunting on Trustees of Reservations Land