Hiking in Dinosaurland

Dinosaurland Overview

Click here for more information about Dinosaurland and the surrounding area.


There are many beautiful hiking trails in this area of eastern Utah. Some of our favorites are Kings Peak,Sound of Silence, Tokewanna Peak, and Uinta Highline Trail.

The Sound of Silence Trail

2+ miles. Easy.
From Vernal, travel east on Highway 40 as it turns south through Naples, then east to Jensen. In Jensen, turn north on Highway 149 (S. 9500 E.) toward Dinosaur National Monument (follow the signs). Enter Dinosaur National Monument and follow the main road past the visitor center. Proximately two and a half miles past the visitor center and quarry entrance road a small roadside sign marks a pullout at the trailhead. Park here and follow the clearly marked trail.

The Old Ski Tow Trail

3 miles roundtrip. Easy.
From Vernal, take North Vernal Avenue north toward Steinaker Reservoir. Continue following this road as it becomes Highway 191, traveling past Steinaker, Red Fleet, and the Simplot mines. Climb the hill and continue north on Highway 191, passing the turn-off for Red Cloud Loop. After dropping into the Little Brush Creek draw, climb to the 8427 foot pass at the top of the hills to the north. Just before the elevation sign at the top of the pass there is s turn-off on the left (west) side of the road. This is the trailhead, and is marked by a large blue sign on the north side of the parking area.

Asphalt Ridge

4.5 miles. Moderate.
There are several points of access to Asphalt Ridge. To repeat our trip, east from Vernal along Main Street (Highway 40). Follow the road south to Naples, then turn right (south) onto the Bonanza Highway (Highway 45/1500 East Street). Follow this road due south for 3.5 miles. When the road bents to the southeast, pull off the road onto the dirt road in the center of the bend. If you have four wheel drive vehicles, you may proceed 1.5 miles to Collier Pass, then another half mile to the ridge-line, parking near the junction of the ridge trail, really an old four wheel drive track. If you are using two wheel drive vehicles, park one just off the Bonanza Highway, and plan to hike the additional two miles out. Then head back through Vernal, turning south on S. 1500 W. (Kid Canal Road). Follow this road south for 3.75 miles. The road turns to dirt here. Follow it as it winds through the foothills of Asphalt Ridge, parking in any pullout you desire once you've entered the heart of the hills. Hike southeast, climbing toward the crest of the main ridge, then follow the crest until you meet up with the four wheel drive road approximately 4.5 miles along the trail.

Coyote Gulch

2+ miles roundtrip. Easy.
From Vernal, travel north on Highway 191. As you descend into the valley through which Big Brush Creek flows, just after the entrance to Red Fleet State Park and just before the entrance to Simplot Phosphates, turn left (west) into a dirt parking area with a gate in the surrounding fence-line. The trail begins at the gate.

Dry Fork Flume Interpretive Trail

2 miles. Easy.
From Vernal head north on 500 West, then follow the curve to the west as the road becomes West 500 North (Highway 121). Turn north on 3500 West and follow this road into Dry Fork Canyon. Turn right onto Dry Fork Settlement Road, then follow it left onto the Red Cloud Loop Road. The first (lower) parking area is approximately 1.75 miles north on this road. The second (upper) parking area with the restroom is about two miles further on the left side of the road.

Rojo Trail

3 miles roundtrip. Moderate.
From Vernal, head west to 2500 West (Taylor Mountain Road). Turn north on this road, then follow it for approximately five miles to an open pit area on the right of the road, just before you cross Spring Creek. Turn right into the open pit area and pull up the road past the pit until you reach a stone ledge across the middle of the road that prevents two wheel drive travel, though most four wheel drive vehicles should be able to handle it. Begin your hike here, walking north along the dirt road about a half mile to the main trailhead. There is no sign, but the trailhead is near the first juniper tree on the north side of the road as the toad begins to bend east. This is also the Moonshine Trail trailhead.

Eagle Ridge Trail

3 miles roundtrip. Easy.
From Vernal head north on North Vernal Avenue (Highway 191). Climb the ridge to Steinaker Reservoir, then turn left into Steinaker State Park at the north end of the lake. Follow the road as it curves to the south, then park in the small parking area next to the entrance to the large group camp (usually gated) on the left. The trail starts at the far side of the group camp. To get there, walk around the south end of the gate, then head east across the parking lot past the restrooms on your right. You'll soon see the trail directly ahead of you, winding up the hillside to the north.

Desert Voices Interpretive Trail

2+ miles. Easy.
From Vernal, travel east on Highway 40 as it turns south through Naples, then east to Jensen. In Jensen, turn north on Highway 149 (South 9500 East) toward Dinosaur Naitonal Monument (follow the signs). Enter Dinosaur National Monument and follow the main road past the visitor center. Approximately three miles past the visitor center and quarry entrance road, turn north (left) toward the Green River Campground. Park at the campground parking area. The trailhead is just to the west (left) of the boat-ramp, near the main road.

Moonshine Trail

8 miles. Moderate - Hard.
From Vernal, head west to 2500 West (Taylor Mountain Road). Turn north on this road, then follow it for approximately five miles to an open pit area on the right of the road, just before you cross Spring Creek. Turn right into the open pit area and pull up the road past the pit until you reach a stone ledge across the middle of the road that prevents two wheel drive travel, though most four wheel drive vehicles should be able to handle it. Begin your hike here, walking north along the dirt road abouta half mile to the main trailhead. There is no sign, but the trailhead is near the first juniper tree on the north side of the road as the road begins to bend east, and is marked by a small cairn. This is also the Rojo Trail trailhead.

Gull Lake/Lake Mountain

7 miles roundtrip. Hard.
From Vernal head north on North 500 West. Follow it as it curves to the west, becoming West 500 North (Highway 121). Turn north onto 3500 West and travel along this road as it enters Dry Fork Canyon and passes Remember the Maine Park. Continue northwest until reaching Dry Fork Settlement Road. Turn right onto this road and cross the valley floor. Then turn left, following the main road, the continuation of Dry Fork Canyon Road, once reaching the far side. Follow this road as it winds up the beautiful Dry Fork Canyon toward the Red Cloud Loop. Park in the small parking area on the left (west) side of the road where the Red Cloud Loop splits from Dry Fork Canyon road and heads north. The trailhead is clearly marked by a sign at the western edge of the parking area.

Ships Trail

4+ miles. Moderate.
From Vernal, head north on Highway 191 for 10 miles until you see the sign for Red Fleet State Park. Pass this first sign and drop through the valley bottom, turning right where another sign directs you to the Dinosaur Trackway. Follow this road as it winds its way past half of the Red Fleet, then climbs through the fleet. At the crest of the road is parking area, restrooms, and the trail head. The trailhead is directly across the road, marked by a small cairn of red stones at the roadside.

Split Mountain Scenic Trail

2 miles. Easy.
From Vernal, travel east on Highway 40 as it turns south through Naples, then east to Jensen. In Jensen, turn north on Highway 149 (South 9500 East) toward Dinosaur National Monument (follow the signs). Enter Dinosaur National Monument and follow the main road past the visitor center. Approximately two and a half miles past the visitor center and quarry entrance road turn left toward the Split Mountain Campground. Park at the campground. The trail begins at the far south end of the campground, and is marked by a trail sign. Note: half of the campground is unused and abandoned. The trail is at the far south end, through the unused portion.

Dinosaur Trackway Trail

2.4 miles roundtrip. Moderate.
From Vernal, head north on Highway 191 for 10 miles until you see the sign for Red Fleet State Park. Pass this first sign and drop through the valley bottom, turning right where another sign directs you to the Dinosaur Trackway. Follow this road as it winds its way past half of the Red Fleet, then climbs through the fleet. At the crest of the road is a parking area, restrooms, and the trail head. The trailhead is directly across the road marked by a small cairn of red stones at the roadside.

Dinosaurland, the Vernal/Flaming Gorge area in eastern Utah, is a land of amazing contrasts, with the towering Uinta Mountains trailing off into conifer-covered foothills and sage-filled high-elevation deserts. Erosion has cut down to the earth's very skeleton in many areas, exposing mountains of rock that bear fossil imprints from dinosaurs, crocodiles, sharks and many other life-forms. Much of the area is not accessible by motorized vehicle. You have to strap on your hiking boots and start walking to really experience this country.
The vastness of this area makes it ideal for epic backpack trips. Load your kitchen, bedroom and library onto your shoulders, or onto a llama or packhorse, and wander up the Uinta River to King's Peak(the highest point in Utah). Trek through 60 miles of wilderness along the Highline Trail, or spend a week wandering the backcountry in Dinosaur National Monument.

But you don't have to be a marathon backpacker to enjoy this area. A short stroll or moderate hike will take you to many scenic spots. Drive the Flaming Gorge Scenic Bywayand stop to search for dinosaur tracks in the sandstone on the edge of Red Fleet Reservoir, or stroll through a high mountain meadow filled with wildflowers. Stop at Red Canyon overlook and hike along the rim to enjoy panoramic views of Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Boat on the reservoir, stopping to follow trails along the shoreline or up the canyon walls.

Adventure abounds at every turn. Raft the Green River's classic rapids through Lodore Canyon, penetrating the heart of Dinosaur National Monument, making short hikes to scenic points along the way. Or explore the Jones Hole Federal Fish Hatchery and then day-hike or backpack the trail, which follows the stream down to the Green River, past a scenic waterfall and beautifully vivid ancient Indian rock art figures.

 
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