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As you know if you’ve been here a while, I love seeing all things dinosaur. Over the last two years, I hiked the Trail Through Time in Colorado, saw the tracks on Potash Road in Moab, saw one at Rainbow Bridge, saw some near Butler Wash, and went to the Mill Canyon tracksite. Well, this year I had the chance to do a couple more dinosaur activities in Moab, this being the Copper Ridge Dinosaur Trackway.
I remembered seeing this one in previous Googles and hiking research, but finally had lots of time in Moab and figured, why not? We went to Sego Canyon as a last-minute afternoon trip, then decided to see the Copper Ridge tracks as another last-minute addition.
So, who made the Copper Ridge Tracks? Sauropods and Theropods made the ones that you can see here. These are two of the most common tracks you’ll see in the Moab area. The Sauropod tracks were made by some type of brontosaur and each track can be up to two feet in diameter! Most of the tracks at the Copper Ridge site are these deep sauropod tracks.
The Theropod tracks are anywhere from 8 to 15 inches and were made by various carnivores. These are the tracks that look more like chicken feet. You can see the claw marks in these and they look pretty intimidating.
This is a nice easy trail, though it does have a bit of an incline, where you won’t see tons of people. Once you get to the parking area, just go to the Jeep trail to the left of the parking. There is a big sign telling you about the trail and the dinosaurs that live here as well as a trail register.
It’s a short walk up to the top of the hill then the tracks are on the right. You’ll be able to spot them because there is a row of rocks blocking them off. The big holes that you’ll see are the sauropod tracks! There is another little sign up here telling you more about them. While this isn’t the biggest variety of tracks out there, they’re totally worth visiting if you have a little extra time and like this kind of thing.
Want to read about dinosaurs before your trip? Check out some of these books!
- The Sixth Extinction
- The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
- Jurassic Park
- The Tyrannosaur Chronicles
- The Dinosaur Artist
Things to keep in mind when visiting dinosaur sites:
While I’ve got the short version here, you can see more in-depth ways to respect these sites at thee trailhead.
- 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 to fo sho.
How long do you need to see the Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracks
I would say no more than an hour and a half, drive time included, if you just want to see the Copper Ridge site. If you plan to see other tracks in the area like the Mill Canyon tracks or bone trail, you’ll want to plan 2-3 hours for all three. There are tons of tracks in this area, you could spend days looking at all of them. The trail itself is just under half a mile round trip.
How to get to the Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracks
From Moab, head out towards the Interstate on Highway 191 (towards and past Arches National Park). You’ll want to turn off 191 on a dirt road at mile marker 148.6. There isn’t a marker for this, so keep an eye out for marker 148 and keep track of your mileage from there. Coming from Moab, it’s about 23 miles north or 8.5 miles south of the Interstate.
Right after you turn onto the dirt road, you’ll see a sign for “Dinosaur Tracks 2 miles” and keep following those signs. You’ll eventually come to a fork and you want to stay to the left here, then you’ll come to the trailhead soon after. Once you get to the parking area (you’ll probably see other cars there) just follow the Jeep road on the left of the parking area up to the top of the hill and the tracks will be on the right.
The dirt road can be a little bumpy, but most cars should be able to make it to the trailhead. If it is rainy or has been recently, the road may be impassable. Just don’t drive anywhere you don’t feel comfortable.
What to bring camping in Utah
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.
Snacks – These are more important for long hikes, but you never know when you’ll get hungry! I like EPIC bars (kind of like beef jerky but different), Sahale nut mix things, and Moon Cheese. There’s always the good old Clif Bars and trail mix, too.
Light Jacket – Because you just never know. Weather can change quickly depending on where you are and if you’ll be in any slot canyons, they can get cool depending on the time of day and season. I usually use my rain jacket for this.
Sleeping pad – Gotta make the tent comfy! The one I have isn’t available anymore but this one is similar. It’s self-inflating and just needs a little help filling all the way. Buy the sleeping pad here.
Pillow – If you’re just driving, I’d just bring a regular pillow, but if you’re flying then renting a car, you might want a smaller pillow. This is a good non-inflatible option. Here is a good inflatable option.
Lantern – I love having a lantern for in the tent at night, reading in the dark, or going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The LuminAID is my favorite and you can charge your phone on it. Buy the LuminAID lantern here.
Have you seen these dinosaur tracks? What about other trackways? Which are your favorites?