Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Visiting the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail

Dinosaur Trail in Mill Canyon, Utah

Have a dinosaur fan in your family?  The Dinosaur Trail just outside of Moab, Utah, is the place to see fossils  as a paleontologist would.  This part of Utah is dinosaur country, and the BLM has created an easy walking trail along which you can see a variety of dinosaur fossils embedded in the rock.

Sign on the Dinosaur Trail

The signs posted at each stop along the trail give information about the geology, the fossils, and more.  Here you can see the colored layers in the rock.

Dinosaur ribs

We were able to practice our fossil-finding skills.  Can you pick out the dinosaur rib in this photo?  Hint:  It is the long gray thing in the middle of the photo.  This is a wonderful trail for fledgling paleontologists of all ages.

Vertebrae in rock

The Dinosaur Trail is a bit of an experiment.  Is it possible to provide public access to dinosaur fossils and have people enjoy the trail and leave the fossils intact?  So far, it seems to be working, even though there is one spot along the trail where someone has removed a fossil.  It is clearly marked with a sign that discourages such vandalism.  Please note that collecting dinosaur fossils for private use on public land is illegal.  Paleontologists have permits to dig dinosaur fossils.

A pack rat nest on the Dinosaur Trail

This little stop on the trail was oddly fascinating.  The pack rat is nature's version of a hoarder, and this large amalgamation of odd garbage makes you want to go home and clean your closets.

Dirt road leading into Mill Canyon

Mill Canyon was another dirt road we tackled in our minivan.  Be aware that this road would be impassable for ANY vehicle in wet weather.  It is a bit tricky in a passenger vehicle on a dry day. However, as there were many people camping and riding ATVs in the area, we weren't too concerned about getting stuck.  I really enjoyed walking the Dinosaur Trail, and highly recommend it.

IF YOU GO:  From Moab, take US 191 north for about 15 miles.  You should see a sign for Mill Canyon just north of milepost 141.  Turn left and cross the railroad tracks.  Travel .6 miles along the dirt road until the road forks.  Take the left fork, and continue for another .5 miles.  At this intersection, turn right and travel .6 miles to the Dinosaur Trail parking area.  The parking area is unpaved, and there are NO FACILITIES here.

1 comment:

  1. such a fun hike. It was neat to see and touch fossils in situ. Totally worth the minivan adventure.