Fossil Studies: Dino Tracks!

After walking in pioneer footsteps at the Guernsey wagon ruts, our next stop was in northeast Utah in search of slightly older footsteps.

Flaming Gorge

We exited the interstate and drove the beautiful Flaming Gorge Scenic Byway (US Highway 191). Sections of this road were steeper than we are accustomed to towing, but it was manageable with smart driving techniques. We were heading into the Rockies and each curve in the road brought another new breathtaking view. The mood in the car was awestruck, reverent wonder. Our kids do not remember their last trip across the Rockies. They could hardly take in the grandeur they were witnessing. The whole drive was moving for all of us.

Utah scenic byway

We crossed the Flaming Gorge Dam and stopped to explore it a little. Unfortunately, the visitor center was closed for the season (it’s open April 15-October 15) and so was the walkway out onto the dam. Despite the sun, it was windy and cold, so we decided to continue to enjoy the area from the comfort of our car.

Red Fleet State Park

We continued on toward that day’s destination: Red Fleet State Park. This park is home to a very unique and special hiking trail called the Dinosaur Trackway Trail. The hike is a little over a mile from the parking area out to the bank of a lake, where you can explore fossilized dinosaur tracks.

dinosaur trackway trail

Signs on the site explain the series of environmental circumstances that led to these dinosaur footprints in wet sand being preserved for millions of years so that we can walk among them today. They range in size from 4 to 18 inches and are believed to be the footprints of Dilophosaurus. Some are much easier to see than others, but as we walked around the trackway area, there was no doubt in our minds that we were touching dinosaur footprints.

dinosaur trackway trail
Turns out dinosaur footprints are hard to photograph. But if you look carefully you can see them!


dinosaur trackway trail
Here’s one of the larger ones

It was well worth all the practical details that went into making it happen. The turn off of 191 is only marked from one direction – and it wasn’t the way we were coming – so we missed the turn and had trouble finding the trailhead and parking area. We had to disconnect the trailer at the state park campground parking lot, on the other side of the lake, because the parking area for the trail was much too small. But the hike itself was beautiful and just the right level of difficulty to keep the kids interested without being too strenuous or dangerous.

dinosaur trackway trail
This was not part of the trail. Just a big rock beside the trail that begged to be climbed.


dinosaur trackway trail
Also not on the trail. Just a boy given permission to climb!


dinosaur trackway trail
I can see my house from here!
At the Dinosaur Trackway, with a view across the lake to the parking lot where we left the camper.

Fossil Studies

After our disappointment at Agate Fossil Beds, this was truly exciting! This area of northeast Utah is one of the most fossil rich areas in the world and the roads we drove on were dotted with signs announcing the locations of important discoveries from different prehistoric time periods. Now, finally, our study of fossils was starting to jump off the page and into our hands and feet.

dinosaur trackway trail
A fun trail made even more fun by using black dino print trail blazes painted on the rocks!

There are only a few dinosaur trackways like this in the world, and this is one of the largest and best preserved. It’s surprising that it isn’t a more well-known destination, but we also loved how small, simple, and undeveloped it all was. If you ever get the chance to visit this area, definitely go! Just don’t go all at once! The parking lot only has space for about 5 cars and we kind of liked it that way!

dinosaur trackway trail
View of the Trackway area from across the lake. Beautifully undeveloped!



4 thoughts on “Fossil Studies: Dino Tracks!

  1. Oj så spännande vara barn i eran familj där föräldrar kan hitta så mkt intressant att se o lära! Era fina bilder ger en “okunnig” en intressant upplevelse av vad ni ser. Ni har nog lika kul allihop. – Lyckliga ni som slapp den snörika vintern här!
    Hoppas ni får vara friska o fortsätta njuta av livet

    1. Tack Kerstin! Det är verkligen inte synd om oss på nåt sätt. Vi får vara tillsammans och se och uppleva mycket. Att slippa snö är ju inte så dumt hellre. Vi är friska och har det bra. Hoppas att du också är frisk! Håll ut – våren kommer!

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