Red Fleet Dinosaur Tracks

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5581 - 5856 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Red Fleet Dinosaur Tracks
Fee: none
Attractions: Dinosaur tracks




The Red Fleet Dinosaur Tracks are located in the Red Fleet State Park north of Vernal, Utah. A trail that is 1 mile in length follows a scenic route that takes it to the shore of Red Fleet Reservoir where there are several hundred theropod tracks that were left by Dilophosaurus dinosaurs about 157 million to 206 million years ago. The tracks cover a thin layer of sandstone that slopes into the reservoir making the total number of tracks visible dependent on the current level of the water.


To get to the trailhead drive north on Highway 191, measuring 11.2 miles from Main Street in Vernal, and turn right 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. The trailhead is just outside the state park. Even though the tracksite is well within the parks boundaries they have chosen not to collect the customary entrance fee.


The trail starts out sharing routes with the JBoy mountain biking trail.


After JBoy branches off on its own the Dino Trax trail crosses a wash and begins climbing over a small hill.


The trails surface is uneven in places where there are rocky outcrops to scramble over.


Near the quarter mile point from the trailhead, after crossing the first hill, the Flat Rock trail branches off on the right.


The trail is very well marked with carbonite posts and the occasional dinosaur track painted in black.


The trail ends at the waters edge on a sloping sandstone slab where there are 3 kiosks that provide valuable information including a map of the sites tracks and trackways.


At the time the tracks were made there were shallow lakes in the area. The Dilophosaurus left their footprints in the soft, moist sand where they were later buried and solidified into sandstone.


The Dilophosaurus was one of the early dinosaurs standing only about 8 feet tall and weighing about as much as a horse. The tracks that it left are eroded of course and somewhat shallow. It helps to walk around and study the tracks for a few minutes to get accustomed to their appearance.


With some of the tracks there are the imprints of claw marks that are still visible while a few that are filled with mud look distinctively different.


Multiple signs warn visitors not to throw the rocks around the dinosaur track site into the reservoir and not to pry up the layers of sandstone. Most people probably think it would go unsaid to do everything possible to preserve such a precious resource but not everybody always gets it. The trail leading to the Red Fleet Dinosaur Tracksite is a bit primitive in nature but all the tracks coupled with some really great scenery make it well worth the visit. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.