Photo: Picket Wire Canyonlands Guided Auto Tour Photo: Picket Wire Canyonlands Guided Auto Tour Photo: Picket Wire Canyonlands Guided Auto Tour Photo: Picket Wire Canyonlands Guided Auto Tour Photo: Picket Wire Canyonlands Guided Auto Tour

Picket Wire Canyonlands Guided Auto Tour, CO

Picket Wire Canyonlands Guided Auto Tour

Historic Tour
8 hr. 00 min.


You must provide your own four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle (e.g., truck or SUVs only. All wheeled drive vehicles, ATVs and UTVs are NOT allowed) to participate in in the tour. Do you have this type of vehicle and a good spare tire?

This tour lasts eight hours. You must provide your own lunch, water, snacks, hat, sunscreen, water shoes, full tank of gas and good spare tire. Can you bring these items?

Did you read the Picket Wire Canyonlands, Guided Auto Tour Safety Checklist?

Additional tour dates may be available. Call the USDA Forest Service at 719-384-2181 if you are interested in arranging a special tour date.
Ticket Availability


Tour Description

For a unique and unforgettable family experience, tour Picket Wire Canyonlands. Located on the Comanche National Grassland south of La Junta, Colorado, these primitive canyons are home to the largest dinosaur tracksite in North America! Guided auto tours are the easiest way to experience Picketwire Canyonlands and learn about its rich, colorful past. During the tour, knowledgeable guides will show you difficult to find dinosaur tracks, and the interesting prehistoric, historic, and natural features of the canyons. This auto tour is the only motorized access into the canyons.

Tour Details

  • Duration: 8 hr. 00 min.
  • Distance: 80 miles
  • Number of Steps: 20
  • Accessible: No
  • Effort: Moderate

Know Before You Go

A Picket Wire Canyonlands Auto Tour SAFETY CHECKLIST

All tour participants 18+ years old must read through the safety checklist. Visitors on the tour are responsible for providing their own 4-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. ALL WHEEL DRIVE, MINIVANS, RVs, SEDAN TYPE, ATV and UTV VEHICLES ARE NOT ALLOWED . Tours are limited to a maximum of 45 people and are conducted by a tour guide. Please meet at the Comanche National Grassland office at 8 a.m. the day of the tour. Plan for a full day; from 8 a.m. to about 4 p.m. You must stay with the tour group for the full duration of the tour, you may not depart early.Tours may be subject to cancellation due to adverse weather or road conditions. If a tour is cancelled for this reason, every attempt will be made to reschedule.

Be aware of the potential risks and to take safety precautions at all times while on the tour. Children under the age of 18 are the COMPLETE responsibility of their accompanying adults/guardians. THERE MUST BE ONE ADULT FOR EVERY 5 CHILDREN. Please do not let your children wander away from the tour.

No pets allowed.

Drinking water is not available on the tour. Bring a minimum of 2 quarts of water per person. Carry extra water in your vehicle.

Restrooms are available at the office (morning), at the dinosaur tracksite (noon), and at Rourke Ranch (last stop of the day at about. 3:30 p.m.).

  • High-top hiking boots are recommended.
  • Bring WATER SHOES or old sneakers if crossing the river at the dinosaur tracks.
  • BE PREPARED FOR EXTREME WEATHER! Wear a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellant for hot weather and layer clothing for cold or changing weather conditions.
  • Bring rain gear.

  • Reptiles and insects live in the canyon. AVOID TALL GRASS , and WATCH WHERE YOU SIT AND PLACE YOUR HANDS AND FEET.
  • Deer flies, mosquitoes, gnats and bees are common. Bring insect repellant and an EPI-PEN if you are allergic to insect stings.
  • Trails in the canyon have loose rocks, wire, cactus, and animal burrows. WATCH YOUR STEP.
  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions and high winds. If the weather looks like rain, the tour may leave the canyon early.
  • Bring all medications needed for a 24-hour period.
  • Bring a first aid kit.

  • Be aware - the river may look shallow but may have sudden deep drop-offs.
  • Tour guides will determine whether or not the river is safe to cross based on its depth and current. You assume your own risk if you choose to cross the river.
  • CHILDREN MUST BE SUPERVISED AT ALL TIMES, especially near the water. Please keep children controlled.


  • Four wheel drive, high clearance vehicles and an experienced driver are required for the tour.
  • The tour follows a narrow dirt road that may be extremely bumpy, please use 4-wheel drive if the tour guides request it. Your vehicle may scrape vegetation, have a flat tire, or have damage to your axle or frame if not careful.
  • Sharp and blind curves exist. PLEASE DRIVE SLOWLY AT ALL TIMES .
  • While driving, be aware of pedestrians, horseback and bicycle riders, and wildlife; please keep your eyes on the road. Stop your vehicle only at safe level locations.


Two restrooms, interpretative signage


Tour starts at the Comanche National Grassland office, please go to the front desk.

Note: Some Tours may be available only from the Tour Park on a first-come-first-served basis. Arrival dates earlier than the online-reservation-window may also be available at the Tour Park.
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