…in God’s Country
Majestic & Magnificent
Ghost Ranch is a place of magnificent natural beauty. It is comprised of deep, multicolored canyons and cliffs, plains, grasslands and streams. The Ranch is located on the far eastern end of the Colorado Plateau. Its colorful rock formations are a result of it escaping the infamous uplift of the Laramide Orogeny and subsequent erosion events.
Ancient & Awesome
Its rocks span 130 million years of ancient geological history, representing lakes, floodplains, and deserts. Fossils illuminate the beginning of the age of the dinosaur in North America and provide a new paradigm of how they took over terrestrial ecosystems for the next 150 million years. Ghost Ranch’s archaeological record predates adobe walls and kivas; its hearths and other sites date back 6,000 BCE, or 8,000 years ago.
Dinosaur fossils from the Triassic period can be found in the dinosaur quarry on the way to the Kitchen Mesa trail. The colorfully dramatic landscape is sculpted from a stack of Mesozoic sedimentary rocks. This quarry has also generated some of the world’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils. Ghost Ranch is home to the world’s only complete Coelophysis, which is also New Mexico’s State fossil.
The first ancient people attracted to this area used the resources of the landscape left by ancestral sediments deposited 200 million years ago when the region was much closer to the equator. Later colonizers from other lands, including artists, adventurers, and entrepreneurs were attracted by the stunning beauty.
Like Georgia O’Keeffe, they were at first unaware to the geological and paleontological contexts of the sediments and were simply amazed by the scenery.