Round Trip Distance: 9.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate - Strenuous
Elevation: 7394 - 7685 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Usage: Hiking - No Dogs
Time: 4 hrs.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: Island Park Overlook
Attractions: Scenic view of Green River and Split Mountain, wildlife
View Ruple Point in a larger map
The Ruple Point trail is located in the Colorado Section of the Dinosaur National Monument. The trail leads to a rocky point on Ruple Ridge that overlooks the Green River as it travels through Split Mountain. The entire length of the trail is within the state of Utah but access to the trail is through the Colorado Section of the monument. There is no entrance fee required in the Colorado Section of Dinosaur National Monument.
Even though the trail is above 7000 feet it can get quite warm during the summer months. Due to the minimal amount of shade on this hike an early morning start may make the hike more enjoyable.
With an early start you also have the opportunity to see more wildlife before they get a chance to hide out for the day. There is a very large elk population in this area but you may also see a few deer, coyotes, sagehens, owls and bears. All of those were seen on this outing.
The Ruple Point trail is very well marked by metal posts with a hiker icon. There are also a few of some older wooden 4x4 posts marked with arrows and the initials RP. The trail itself is worn enough in most places but there are a few faint cross trails from big game and cattle.
From the parking area the trail works its way through a small basin and connects up with an old jeep road that takes it up to the top of the ridge.
The trail follows the ridge for the next 3 miles. There are a few dips in the trail along the way but nothing too significant. On the south side of the ridge, near the canyon, you can see a few ponderosa pines and aspen trees. To the north of the trail are sweeping views of the canyons of Dinosaur National Monument.
The trailhead kiosk and website information lists this trail as 8 miles round trip with a short descent at the end of the trail to breathtaking views of the Green River. This picture was taken at the 4 mile point and as you can tell there isn't much to see from here. The short descent turns out to be a 3/4 mile hike down the west side of the hill with a short up climb at the end to the rock point. All of that adds an additional 1.5 miles to the round trip distance. Perhaps they are afraid that if they put the actual distance that fewer people would hike the trail.
The closer you get to the point the more primitive the trail becomes. There are enough rock cairns to mark the route if you watch for them carefully.
The views of Split Mountain are grand indeed. Well worth the little bit of extra effort of the additional mile and a half. The views leading up to the point and of the rugged cliffs on both sides of the ridge might even be better than the view of Split Mountain. Added together they all make you feel glad you made the hike.
There are a peculiarly large number of horned toads (lizards) on Ruple Ridge. Don't be surprised if you encounter 20-30 of them.
There are several places on the north side of the ridge that look like they would be fun to investigate. The upper portions of the canyons cut by the Green River come in and out of view. Off in the distance is the dark canyons of the Gates of Lodore.
The level of difficulty for this hike is only moderate up to the first 4 miles. The remainder of the hike to the overlook was enough effort to raise it to strenuous but hopefully it isn't enough of a difference to discourage anyone from making the trip. Hiking along through the sagebrush on the ridge was very pleasant in the morning air. A sagehen with a half dozen chicks was encountered on the hike out and on the way back. The wildlife, wildflowers and all the scenic views come together to make this an enjoyable hike. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.