Did you know you can find DINOSAUR tracks near Moab, Utah? NO joke, honest, really old, dinosaur tracks. But first you need to figure out where they are! And with only one day we had several things to do and see in addition to hunt these dinosaur tracks!
We knew we wanted to tour The Arches National Park just north of Moab, but it is a super popular national park, so you need to book your entry time by the night before for $2. This is a timed entry reservation system they implemented as a trial in the last two years to keep the crowds under control so the visit is enjoyable for everyone.
We were only able to get a 1pm – 2pm entry time so we had the morning available. The first thing to do, after our free hotel breakfast, was to head a bit north to a road that followed the northern bank of the Colorado River to find some petroglyphs.
We weren’t entirely sure where we were needing to go, so we stopped at every pullover and tourist sign.
And there were the petroglyphs, right along the side of the road!
See them?! Here, we’ll zoom in!
Petroglyphs are pretty cool!
Do you think kids drew them? or adults? I’m sure we have no way of knowing what they were truly drawn for.
The most frustrating thing about mankind is, people continue to add their own graffiti to these petroglyphs. I mean maybe they were graffiti in the first place, but no one cares about your stupid initials. Knock it off!
I gotta say, there is some real beauty in the palette of Utah fall colours.
After these petroglyphs, we resumed our hunt for real legit dinosaur tracks!!!
The first stop was at Poison Spider Trail. Nice naming of this trail! I tapped out before I even started and Jeff hiked up the cliff side to go find the tracks.
I stayed near the parking lot reading all the info boards and avoiding hitting these plants with my ankles.
Here are some of the prints that Jeff found!
We tried to find another dinosaur track site from a poor-resolution map and came up empty, so we headed back to Moab.
Jeff picked up a brochure about the Moab Rock Shop where we could turn in our brochure for a free dinosaur bone fragment! Heck ya!
This place was really cool. They had rocks from all over the planet for sale, and fossils, and gems, and all sorts of interesting things.
This is a petrified stump!
After touring the store and picking through all the treasures, we finally hit our first fast food stop of the trip. Jeff loves the burger at Wendy’s and I was on this pumpkin spice spree, so I had to try their pumpkin spice frosty. We went into the restaurant to order and take it with us.
And that’s when I found myself, pants down, peeing in a Wendy’s bathroom stall, with a black widow spider.
We both escaped unharmed. Whew. What an adventure!
Let’s get back to the frosty!
Which turned out to be CHOCOLATE! I never take anything back, but this time I did. I went back in to exchange it.
That’s better! I really only needed one spoon of this to try it. The rest was a bit of a burden, but I’d still take it over chocolate.
By then it was time to enter The Arches Park. We didn’t know much about this place, other than it was popular, and there were holes in the big monument/mesa’s making arches. Kay had told us back at that BBQ place in Denver that we should be sure to visit because someday they’ll all collapse and we’ll have seen them before they do!
Good enough for me!
Similarly to Mesa Verde and Monument Valley, here you can take a self-guided tour through the park too.
Only this time, there was RAIN on the horizon and it was coming our way!
This could make for some interesting photos if we’re caught in a downpour!
This place also had places you could pull over, just a few cars at a time, and jump out to take pictures.
Soon we got to see some arches!
Some of the pull-offs were full parking lots where you could use the outhouse, or take one of the various hikes in the park.
Jeff used one of the outhouses and came out telling me you have to see what was in there! A squat toilet beside a real toilet!
Of course I had to take a photo.
By now it was apparent that the rain was going to pass north of us, and other than a few drops, we were rain free!
The one thing I wanted to see in this park, other than the arches themselves, was the old Wolfe Ranch from the late 1800’s. There was a short hike there where another tumbleweed came by!
Look inside the old cabin!
The first cabin built here was a little dug out, that was later replaced by the cabin above for the main living quarters.
It was super windy in the Arches park in the afternoon. The weather said it was going to gust to 65 miles per hour. I think it did!
We crossed several dry creeks that warned to not pass by if it rains because it would be subject to a flash flood. That really turned us off any possible hiking, since the dark clouds were still nearby and the wind was brisk.
And besides, we had dinosaur tracks to find!
After finishing the driving route inside the park, minus the dirt road off roads that were subject to flash flooding, we exited the park. We drove north to another dirt road north, Mill Canyon, that was promised to have more dinosaur tracks!
And we found them!
If I show you this next photo with no description, what do you think it is?
How about this angle?
If you guessed it was a crocodile body print, you’d be right! (you didn’t guess that, did you…..?)
We came to an area that was once a mud hole, now rock, and it is covered with prints of dinosaurs of many types. There are signs near each one to describe what kind of dinoaur left the print.
I suppose it is probably time to come clean. I’ve kinda been faking my dinosaur excitement so far in this post. They really don’t excite me much at all. But Jeff was super keen, so I played along.
There was another site mentioned on a sign board to be further down the road, so off we went!
There was a hike at the next one, with interpretive signs. And there were bones of dinosaurs here shown in the cliff bank! Many of them had been taken by people before it became illegal to do so, but there were still plenty to see.
Kinda neat, but I was busy chasing the late afternoon sun!
I could take hundred pictures of these views!
Oh sorry, I was distracted by the glorious scenery. Back to the dinosaurs!
Pack rats had been busy under these ledges and in every void.
Oh no, the sun is going behind the hill!
Nooo my pretty pictures!
There was a long ledge of dinosaur bones and fossilized stumps that we walked along, and then back to the truck via a sand gully. It took us right by an old copper mine that only operated for a year, years and years ago.
Next up was the sign that promised an old stage coach half way stop. YES! (I think I like cabin ruins more than dinosaur bones.)(Yeah, I definitely do.)
There was a station here for travellers heading from Moab to the nearest train. It was about an 8 hour ride, with this being half way. They would serve the passengers a meal here, and sometimes the stage coach drivers would switch up. I LOVE relics of the last 100-200 years!
Lots of artifact pieces have been found here and left on the stone walls. I think the one above is a damper or air intake on a wood stove.
There was an old fenced area down the hill aways. Maybe where the horses rested?
Since the sun was getting close to setting, we headed back to Moab and looked for a restaurant to have dinner. I remembered seeing a bbq restaurant so we stopped there to eat.
The Blu Pig describes itself as a BBQ and Blues place. The service was very quick! Jeff had a brisket dinner with white mac and cheese and baked beans. I had a pulled pork with the white cheddar mac and cheese too. They had two kinds of barbeque sauce. One a Kansas City variety and the other a Texas one. The Kansas City one was my favourite. It was sweet and perfect on the pulled pork. The Texan one was good, but more garlicy and vinegar like.
No need to share our driving route map today as we were close to Moab, Utah all day. Another day of great weather, food, red rocks, and this time, dinosaurs!
There were so many off road vehicle rentals in Moab. Jeeps and side-by-sides. If we ever come back here, I’d be keen on doing an off road tour! Pretty dusty though! There’s a place here that people drive their vehicles up and down super steep rocks. I kinda wanted to see that, but I figured I’ve already seen the best highlights on YouTube and the rest of the time is probably spent towing the wreckage out. ha!