Are you looking for places to see dinosaur fossils and tracks in the USA? Moab is the perfect place to see dinosaur tracks and fossils. In this review of Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail, you’ll find tips to make the most of your visit to this unique archeological site
Where to find the best dinosaur tracks near Moab?
The area surrounding Moab is part of the “Dinosaur Diamond” an area which spans part of Colorado and Utah and is rich in dinosaur fossils.
The unique geography has pushed the ancient layers of the earth’s crust upward where rains have eroded away the surface layers revealing the fossils below.
There are several places to see dinosaur fossils and tracks in Utah and around Moab. Mill Canyon is one of the best places for kids to see dinosaur fossils and tracks.
The location is close to Moab and Arches National Park, the trail is only a short drive off the main road. The trails are well marked and easy hikes with the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Track Site Trail completely flat and accessible with a stroller or mobility aid.
Tips for visiting Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracks
Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail and Track site are well worth visiting. Whether or not you are a dinosaur fan this site is interesting and unique. There are very few places you can see and touch! Dinosaur fossils still within their archaeological site as well as see some of the best-preserved dinosaur tracks.
The park is completely free and with information, plaques to guide your experience.
Directions to view dinosaur fossils and tracks from Moab:
From Moab head north on US 191, approximately 15 miles north you will see a sign to Mill Canyon, turn into the narrow Mill Canyon Road and you will immediately cross a railway line. The road from here is unpaved. Most vehicles will have no problem driving the rest of the road to the main car park but read the following carefully.
A short distance down the road is a floodwater drain that passes across the road, if there has been heavy rain you may not be able to pass here, check the depth and consider the type of vehicle you are driving before attempting to cross (usually it is dry and you won’t need to worry).
Continue on and keep left at the fork, soon you will come to the Dinosaur Trail Track parking (you will see a fenced-off area in a field on the right as you are approaching the entrance to the car park. The carpark is well signposted.
Stop here and venture further on foot.
A word of warning if there has been any rain or snow and you do not have a 4WD (with 4WD driving experience) do not drive further than the dinosaur trails carpark.
The sign to recommend only 4WD is at the bottom of a muddy hill a few hundred metres beyond the Dinosaur Track site car park. The hill is very hard to get back up if you are not in a 4WD (speaking from experience).
Dinosaur Track Trail Site
The Dinosaur Track Site Trail is a paved track that leads onto a boardwalk, the flat track is suitable for strollers and those with poor mobility. Stick to the path and don’t allow children to climb down to touch the well-preserved tracks.
You will go through a closed gate (to keep wandering animals out) and then come to a boardwalk which will take you above the tracks with information boards around to describe the type of tracks and how they were formed and preserved.
Here you can see tracks from different dinosaurs that waded through the mud bottom pond, the right conditions have fossilised the tracks and held them frozen in time.
Dinosaur Trailhead to Dinosaur bone fossil site
From the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Track Site carpark continue down the road by foot (see the previous warning about the road) to the Dinosaur Trailhead where you can touch dinosaur fossils sticking out of the Sandstone, allow 60-90minutes return for this track since parking further away will add extra walking distance.
First, you will walk along the road veer right at the fork at the bottom of the hill. You will walk down a 4WD road, expect to walk through mud and sand, if there has been rain or snowmelt there may be some water running across the road (we were able to jump over these narrow streams without getting wet.
At the end of the road you will come to a carpark with an information board and trail sign. There are 15 plaques along the trail pointing out fossilised bones and wood. Not all the fossils are marked so you may spot some extras not indicated by the trail. After stop 15 you can either walk back along the trail the way you came or cross to the other side of the shallow canyon and walk back along an unfinished road to join back up to the start of the trail.
Take water and a snack.
This is an experimental site where the responsibility is on the visitor to protect the archeological site. Please respect this to allow others to continue to experience this park for free and unmonitored by not disturbing the fossils, sticking to the trails and removing any trash.
Have time to visit more dinosaur sites in Moab check out Discover Moab website for more.
Other Paleontological points of interest nearby:
- Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry – near Price, Utah
- Dinosaur National Monument – near Jensen, Utah
- Dinosaur Valley Museum – Grand Junction, Colorado
- Utah Museum of Natural History – Salt Lake City, Utah
- College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum – Price, Utah
- Utah Fieldhouse of Natural History – Vernal, Utah
- Trail Through Time (Rabbit Valley) – l-70 at the Utah/Colorado state line.