Parowan Gap Dinosaur Tracksite

Round Trip Distance: 0.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5657 - 5705 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Parowan Gap Dinosaur Tracksite
Fee: none
Attractions: Dinosaur tracks

The Parowan Gap Dinosaur Tracksite is located about 7 miles west of Parowan, Utah and 22 miles north of Cedar City. The site boasts multiple three-toed casts of theropod ("beast-footed") dinosaur tracks that are found on a few scattered boulders in the area. The site is right next to the paved Parowan Gap Road and only a short distance from Interstate 15 making it easily accessible to the public.

The shortest route from Interstate 15 is to take Exit 75 and turn right onto W200S. After a little over a quarter mile turn right onto 2200W. In another 1.7 miles turn left onto the Gap Road and follow it for 5.5 miles to the trailhead. Also, since Parowan Gap is a well know destination all you have to do is enter Parowan Gap into your driving app and it will guide right there. The tracksite comes up a couple miles before the more famous petroglyph site.

An information kiosk provides valuable information for getting oriented to the track site.

The lower part of the trail is smooth and hard packed. A fork comes up a short distance from the trailhead. There are 2 sites along the left fork and 1 along the right fork. It is possible to make a loop out of it, which is what we did, but to do so requires dealing with some sections of steep scree covered trail.

The left fork of the trail quickly becomes more primitive in nature as it begins a slow climb up the side of the hill. Each of the boulders is marked by a metal post making them a little easier to spot.

The fragile tracks were made 65-75 million years ago by dinosaurs known as hadrosaurs or "duck-billed" dinosaurs. Tracks end up being casts when the footprint that was made in soft mud fills with material that when compressed and hardened into rock becomes harder than the rock that is formed by the mud in which it was made. As the ground once again becomes exposed the softer rock around the track erodes away faster leaving a cast behind.

The next location requires a bit more of a scramble to reach.

Here the boulder, which has a very nice looking track, is hidden behind the boulder that is right in front of the metal post.

The third boulder is all the way down the hill and is more easily accessed via the right fork in the trail.

The main track here is on the upper left corner of the boulder and looks like it might be overlapping a few other tracks.

We kept following the trail past an old sign in search of more metal posts but soon decided that we were following a rock climbers access trail and turned around.

This naturally sculpted rock stands by itself like an art exhibit beside the trail adding its own touch to what the site has to offer.

As you can see the parking area has a nice turnaround making it easy for someone pulling a trailer like us. From time to time while hiking and exploring we will come across both partial and complete dinosaur and alligator track prints and casts and sometimes even fossils of dinosaur bones. We attribute our ability to notice them to stopping at many sites just like this one that are like classrooms or open air museums for anyone to visit. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.