Flat Rock

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5846 - 5979 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Red Fleet Dinosaur Tracks
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic loop, petroglyphs




The Flat Rock trail is near Red Fleet State Park north of Vernal, Utah. The trail is accessed via the Red Fleet Dinosaur Tracks trail. Beginning a short distance from the trailhead the Flat Rock trail follows a lollipop loop that travels around a rocky hilltop where a few petroglyphs can be seen that hint at some of the ancient history of the area. From the trails vantage point it has some nice views of the Red Fleet Reservoir to the south and the prominent Red Fleet geological landmark to the east for which the state park was named.


To get to the trailhead drive north on Highway 191, measuring 11.2 miles from Main Street in Vernal, and turn right at the sign for the Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackway trail onto the Donkey Flat Road. The turnoff is 1 mile past the main entrance to Red Fleet State Park. Follow the Donkey Flat Road for 2.3 miles where the trailhead will be on the right.


From the parking area begin by following the Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackway trail for about a quarter mile to the well marked start of the Flat Rock trail.


The trail starts out with a little uphill pitch to it as it follows the red dinosaur tracks painted on the rocks that mark the route.


Off to the right there are a few glimpses of the rocks that look from the north like a 'red fleet' of ships being tossed on a rough sea. They contrast quite nicely with the lighter colored Navajo sandstone and the blue sky to create a very pleasant scene to look upon.


Off to the left of the trail the reservoir of Red Fleet State Park, with its campground and other amenities, provide a much different view of the area.


It is easy to miss the well camouflaged spot where the loop begins but it doesn't really matter. Continuing to the right and following the markers will bring you right back to the spot after a half mile or so of looping around the hill.


As the trail reaches its high point it starts skirting around the cliffs at the top of the hill.


There are a few petroglyphs on one of the darker rocks. Graffiti in the area made us wonder about the age of the petroglyphs until we noticed how dark the patina was in the grooves.


This one that was higher up on the rock reminded us of some of the head hunter images at the McConkie Ranch Petroglyph site in nearby Dry Canyon.


As the trail continues looping around it passes a few more petroglyphs that look like Ute in origin. Just past that the Flat Rock trail has a couple of connections with one of the mountain bike trails that comes up the west side of the hill. Careful attention to the red dinosaur tracks and orange trail markers will make it easier to not drift off on the wrong route.


Most people are drawn to the area by the Red Fleet Dinosaur Tracks trail. The Flat Rock trail only takes a half hour or so to hike and is well worth the little bit of extra effort it takes to hike it. More time could be spent to explore the area at the top of the hill for those that would like to make a day of it. Both trails taken together make a winning combination for something to do around Vernal. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.