Date: December 4, 2019
Dinosaurland in Vernal, Utah is a great place to go outside and explore. The scenery is vast and often changing. There is a wide range of trails ranging from beginner to advanced and offering distances up to 30 miles. We have compiled a list of the top five hikes that should be on everyone’s itinerary when visiting Dinosaurland.
Moonshine Arch is a local favorite. This massive arch is about 85 feet in length and about 40 feet above the ground. The arch is neatly tucked away in the cliffs just north of Steinaker State Park. You can access the arch by jeep, ATV, or hiking the 3 miles round trip. Visitors are able to walk underneath the arch and even on top!
McConkie Ranch Petroglyph Trail
This is a great hike that leads to some of the world-renowned Native American petroglyphs, found all along 200-foot-high “Navajo Formation” sandstone cliffs. The petroglyphs are on private land. Contributions are accepted; all that is asked is for visitors to obey all signs and not damage the sites. Please do not touch any of the petroglyphs. The oils from your hands will damage them. There are trails that take you up close and personal to view figures up to 9 feet tall. These figures represent the Fremont culture, which flourished in this area from about 1-1200 A.D. This hike is family-friendly and is about a mile and visitors will be able to enjoy the breathtaking views and petroglyphs.
Dry Fork Flume Trail
This trail closely follows the route of an old wagon road that was used to access the Dry Fork Flume and the Flume Mill Site near Corral Park. The construction of the flume began in the spring of 1896 as a way to divert water from Dry Fork Creek around the many sinks located there, with the purpose of supplying irrigation water to the valley below. The experiment failed, but left excellent opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and historical interpretation. There are three trailheads along the 9.5 mile trail. Visitors can modify the length they want to hike depending on what trailhead they start at.
Dinosaur Trackway Trail
Want to see where dinosaurs roamed? Then this trail is for you! This moderate difficulty trail of 3 miles round trip leads to the water’s edge of the backside of Red Fleet State Park. There visitors will be rewarded with seeing several three-toed, 10 to 12 inches wide dilophosaurus tracks. The best viewing of the dinosaur tracks is in the early morning or late afternoon. The sun makes them difficult to see mid-day. Brown markers and black dinosaur tracks painted on the rocks mark the trail.
Jones Hole Trail
A pleasant hike along a babbling brook in the bottom of a lovely canyon. Basically level walking with a few ups and downs. Quite a bit of shade. Trail terminates at the Green River. Approximately 1.5 miles down the trail from the fish hatchery are several panels of Fremont petroglyphs and pictographs. After two miles, the Island Park trail intersects with the Jones Hole Trail at Ely Creek. A short walk up Island Park trail takes you to a small waterfall. Good trout fishing is available in Jones Hole Creek. A Utah Fishing license is required. Designated back country camping sites available near confluence of Ely Creek and Jones Hole Creek.
Hiking Dos and Don’ts
- Do — Check the weather before you go and plan accordingly. You might need do the hike early or later in the afternoon to avoid high temperatures, bring a jacket, plan for rain or snow, etc
- Don’t – Wear the wrong shoes! Make sure your shoes have good support and are in good condition for the hike you plan to take.
- Do – Pick a trail that best matches your physical ability. Picking a trail that is too strenuous will take away from the enjoyment and could prove dangerous.
- Don’t – Hike alone. Be sure to tell someone what trail you are taking and an estimate on when you plan to be back.
- Do – Take your camera! But please “take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footsteps.”
- Don’t – Forget to pack your bag! Remember to bring things like food, water, bug repellent, sun screen, first aid kit, and other essential items.
- Do – Have fun!