Sound of Silence Trail

Overview: A nice hike through several of the monument’s rock layers, with good views of Split Mountain.

Type of trail: Self-guided loop route

Distance: Approximately 2.5 miles

Elevation change: 100 to 150 feet; there are sections of short, steep descents

Hiking time: 2 to 3 hours

Maps: Intermountain Natural History Association pamphlet.

Difficulty: Moderate, with a few short, steep ascents and descents

Starting point: From the turnoff (on your left) to the dinosaur quarry, stay straight (east) on Cub Creek Road. Continue past the Swelter Shelter for a short distance until you see the trailhead sign on the left.

NOTE: Dogs and bikes are not allowed on the trail.

Sound of Silence is not intended to be a marked hiking trail. It is referred to as a “route”  and is intended to challenge you to find your way around this loop (clockwise). It is designed as a lesson in minimum-impact desert hiking so that you might feel more comfortable hiking farther at another time.

Arrows are placed at strategic locations, helping to guide you to each of the twenty-six numbered markers. If you pay close attention, you won’t get lost! You can purchase an excellent interpretive pamphlet, either at the trailhead box or at the dinosaur quarry bookstore. This publication is not only informative, it is your guide on the route. As you begin the hike, you are 1 mile above sea level.

Before starting out, consider some important facts. If you suffer from respiratory conditions or have a heart problem, you should take it easy. Try this route early in the morning to avoid the midday desert heat, and carry lots of water. A few ups and downs are rather steep; wear good shoes, and don’t attempt these areas if you have knee or leg problems. After Marker 10 the path becomes somewhat more difficult; for some, this might be a good place to turn back. If you get off the path, try at all costs to avoid stepping on the black microbiotic soil. The best areas to place your feet are in the sandy washes or on bare rock. Finally, remember the name of this hike and listen for the sound of silence.