Dinosaur National Monument Family Hiking Guide

Hiking is a great way to experience Dinosaur National Monument’s amazing geology and rock art. The monument contains several easy to moderate day hikes to suit just about everyone, including families with small children. Also in Dinosaur National Monument, more adventurous types can embark on backpacking trips of any length—check in with rangers for free camping permits and to obtain advice on the best areas.

Remember to bring extra water when hiking in Dinosaur National Monument, especially during the heat of summer. A good hat and sunscreen are also essential. It’s always a good idea to stop at a visitor center and discuss your hiking plans with a ranger to make sure you find a hike that suits your abilities and expectations. And remember, pets are not allowed on the trails or in the backcountry at Dinosaur National Monument, so please make other arrangements.

The Hikes

1. Fossil Discovery Trail: 1.2 miles. The flagship hike in Dinosaur National Monument, this trail takes you through geologic formations representing 80 million years of time on your way to or from the Douglass Dinosaur Quarry.

2. Sound of Silence Trail: 2.5 miles. A nice hike through several of the monument’s rock layers, with good views of Split Mountain.

3. Desert Voices Trail: 2 miles. This hike through the desert environment offers excellent views of famous Split Mountain.

4. Cold Desert Trail: 0.25 mile. How does life adapt to the harsh extremes in this “cold desert” (high elevation desert)? Hike this trail to find out.

5. Plug Hat Trail: 0.25 mile. The easy Plug Hat Trail introduces hikers to a pinion-juniper forest. From this vantage you’ll also be rewarded with an all-encompassing view of the Uinta Basin.

6. Harpers Corner Trail: 2 miles. For those who enjoy up-close and personal natural dramas, ones that have allowed geologists and botanists to unlock mysteries of the past, the Harpers Corner Trail will satisfy that urge.

7. Gates of Lodore Trail: 1.5 miles. This short, easy hike takes you above the Green River, which is flowing somewhat placidly here out of the Browns Park area. Then you can walk to the beginning of the Canyon of Lodore, where river runners are abruptly thrust into the riffles and rapids of this incredibly beautiful, rugged area.