Type of trail: Self-guided loop
Distance: 2 miles
Elevation change: 500 feet
Hiking time: 1 to 2 hours
Maps: Intermountain Natural History Association pamphlet; National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map #220
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous; however, the difficulty rating increases in hot weather or if you’re hiking in the heat of the day. Try this one in early morning or late afternoon.
Starting point: Split Mountain boat ramp and campground area. The Split Mountain boat ramp is located approximately 2.4 miles east of the dinosaur quarry. Follow the paved road from the quarry to the first left-hand turn down to the Split Mountain boat ramp and campground. The trailhead is across from the boat ramp on the left. Park in the lot on the right.
Make sure you bring extra water, a hat, camera, and sunscreen on this hike. The Desert Voices Nature Trail provides a 2-mile hike through the desert environment and offers excellent views of famous Split Mountain. If you are hiking the trail late on a well-lit summer day, watch how the sun seems to separate Split Mountain into two units.
This moderately strenuous hike offers interpretations of a number of unique desert aspects. And because many of the signs and pictures along the route were created by children (the tan signs), this is a good trek on which to include young people.
If you are new to desert environments, this trail will introduce you to the features of one of four North American deserts: the Great Basin Desert, which is classified as a high desert. The number and proliferation of cacti here is far less when compared with other deserts, such as the Sonoran or Mojave, which are close to the Great Basin. One interpretive sign explains much: “In Deserts Evaporation Exceeds Rainfall.”