There's a nice family hike in Golden that let's you teach your kids about dinosaurs and see an 1880s brick-making kiln.
The hike starts next to 6th Avenue near 19th Street. At this sign, turn left/south and walk the paved path.
Watch out for fast moving skaters, bicyclists and runners using the path.
About .25 miles from the parking lot, you'll find signs for the Triceratops Trail. Turn left onto the gravel and dirt path. A sign here tells visitors this is an out and back trail. Hike over the short rise to an open pit on each side of the trail.
The open pit is the remnants of a mining area. The Parfet family didn't mine gold and silver, they mined clay for bricks, ceramics and other uses. Follow the trail that switchbacks into the pit to see Diplodocus dinosaur tracks preserved in the clay/mud that was once part of the inland sea/swamp lands that are now Colorado. Small signs point out dinosaur tracks and even raindrop impressions preserved for millions of years. After exploring the pit, climb back up and continue on the trail to the geological overlook.
At the geological overlook read the signs and enjoy the views of the sandstone walls below you, the Fossil Trace Golf Course and in the distance South and North Table Mountains.
Continue down the path to the sandstone wall to find signs pointing out more dinosaur tracks, palm frond impressions and other fossils left millions of years ago.
After looking at the fossils, turn around and return to the main bike path.
The bike path passes some old mining equipment.
After walking about 0.6 miles from the Triceratops turnoff, you'll come to a three-way intersection on the path with a bridge. Turn right and follow the path under 6th Avenue. Depending on the time of year you walk here, you may notice water in a walled-off section of the underpass. That water comes from wetlands on the side of the road.
Go under 6th Avenue.
The paved path passes the wetlands and into an area with lots of vegetation. Look up and you may see some impressive rock cliffs above you.
Go through a second culvert and turn left. From here, it's just a short walk to the Cambria Lime Kiln on the right side of the path. Photos on the internet show there were signs here explaining the history of the kilns, but the signs were gone when I visited in 2014. According to the internet photo, the signs said the kiln is the only known surviving made-made industrial component of any of Golden's brick-making operations and may be the only historical industrial kiln remaining in Jefferson County.
The Cambria Brick and Tile Company operated in Golden from 1879 to the mid 1890s. The company built this kiln using native sandstone and not brick, which was rather unusual, the sign said. Raw lime was fired in the hiln, heated to a high temperature,and transformed into bricks and other forms that could be used to build homes, smelters, brick, pottery and tile products.When you're done exploring this site, return the way you came.