Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail: Easy To See Dinosaur Bones In Moab, Utah

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Last year we made it to the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracks, but it was way too cold and windy to do the Mill Canyon dinosaur bone trail, so I went on our end of the season Moab trip instead.  While you don’t get to see full bones just sitting out, you do get to see quite a few of them still in the rock along the trail.


The whole trail is about a mile round-trip and has signs full of information along the way.  At the trailhead, it looks kind of like the trail could go to the left or the right, but it really just goes down into the wash and up the other side. 

It’s kind of a loop, but not really?  We just turned around and followed the trail back to the car.  The trail is easy to follow and well-marked.  This is a great addition to a southern Utah road trip or Trail of the Ancients road trip.


Along the Mill Canyon dinosaur trail, you can see fossilized wood (petrified wood) which was pretty cool because it’s like the tree fell over and rock formed around it, so it looks like a hole in the rock almost? 

There is also a packrat nest, which I never actually thought of being a real thing for some reason.  It’s just under an overhang and looks more like a pile of dried grass.  Just make sure you don’t touch it to avoid Hanta Virus.


Finally, the highlight of the trail: the dinosaur bones!  There are 16 stops along the trail where you can learn about the bones in front of you, the dinosaurs they are from, the environment, and the geology. 

Most of the bones are pointed out on the signs, but not all of them.  Once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to spot them throughout the rest of the boulders along the trail.  It’s fun to look for them when you get to each stop before reading the sign.


Overall, if you’re in the area, I would definitely recommend the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail.  It’s great if you have any interest in dinosaurs or geology and especially for kids.  It’s just a cool way to see something new that you might not be able to see this easily out in the wild.  It’s a fun and easy bucket list addition.


Things to keep in mind when visiting dinosaur sites:

  • Don’t take the bones.  I shouldn’t have to say this, but I do because people have dug out some of them.  While there aren’t any marked here that I’m aware of, if you do find some, leave them where they are.
  • Just look at the tracks, don’t fill them with water.  While it makes them easier to see, it can damage the tracks.
  • If you find artifacts, do not take them.  Leave them where they are and just take pictures.
  • And finally, don’t carve in or write on the rocks!  I don’t want to have to say this, but I need do.

Want to read about dinosaurs before your trip?  Check out some of these books!


Where is the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail


How to get to the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trailhead

From Moab, head out towards the Interstate on Highway 191.  After about 15.4 miles you’ll want to turn left onto Mill Canyon Road.  The road will cross over rail road tracks right away and then through some private property.

Along this road you will see signs for the dinosaur tracksite and the dinosaur trail.  They are different.


What kind of car do you need?

We took a Chevy Equinox and made it in one piece, but there was some deep sand that made me pretty nervous, so I would recommend at least four-wheel-drive.  I don’t think high clearance is necessary though.


How long do you need for the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail?

The trail is 0.9 miles from the trailhead but if you have to walk from the track site parking, it will be just under three miles round-trip.  I would plan1-3 hours depending on everything you want to see and where you’re hiking from.

This is a good way to spend a few extra hours between other activities.  The best time to do the hike would be morning or evening when it’s a little less hot, at least in the summer.  The rest of the year, anytime would be ok.


Is the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail worth it?

I think so, especially if you’re interested in dinosaurs or have kids with you. It’s not just like, bones laying all over but it’s still pretty cool to see and it’s nice and quiet out here. You can see the Mill Canyon tracksite, too.


Other things to do near the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail:

What to bring on the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail

Hiking poles – These will be helpful on longer hikes that are on the steeper side.  They’ll be good if you have bad knees for when you’re going downhill and will give you something to lean on going up the hills.

Water bottle – It’ll be hot and you’ll need to stay hydrated.  Even if it’s not hot you need to stay hydrated.  A Hydro Flask will keep your water ice cold all day long.

Sunscreen – If you plan on being outside, you’ll want sunscreen.  I like the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch a lot AND it’s reef safe! If you’re sensitive to fragrance though, it’s not a good choice. I also like the same one but specifically for your face.

Hat – You’ll want some kind of hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, or a visor.  A baseball hat should be fine but I like my giant sun hat, too.

Sunglasses – This is a must no matter where you are.

Light Jacket – Because you just never know.  Weather can change quickly depending on where you are, time of day, and season.  I usually use my rain jacket for this.

Headlamp – I tend to carry my headlamp around all the time when we’re hiking, just in case. 


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Have you been to the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail?  What did you think of it?  Do you like seeing fossils and dinosaur tracks?

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