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Mill Canyon Dinosaur Bone Trail   |  Sandra Salvas

Mill Canyon Dinosaur Bone Trail

One of the most unique aspects of hiking in Utah is how up-close you can get to the state’s prehistoric past. And the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Bone Trail near Moab gives you front row access to one of the largest and most diverse dinosaur track sites in North America.

Moab Giants Dinosaur Museum Utah Dinosaurs & Paleontology

History of the Trail

The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Bone Trail resides in the Morrison Formation, a sedimentary rock series of clay, shale and sandstone that settled in shallow bodies of water during the Jurassic period. The Jurassic rock formations — found across broad areas of eastern and Southern Utah — contain fossilized remains of plants and numerous kinds of dinosaurs. The canyon got its name from an old copper mill that operated in the area until around 1902. You can still see remains of the mill on the south side of the canyon. 

Dinosaur Species at Mill Canyon

When you visit the Mill Canyon trail, you can expect to see fossilized footprints and bones of the following species.      

  • Allosaurus: Large, bipedal, lizard-hipped, meat-eater    
  • Stegosaurus: Moderately large, four-footed, bird-hipped, plant-eater
  • Camarasaurus: Very large, heavy-bodied, four-footed, lizard-hipped, plant-eater    
  • Camptosaurus: Moderately sized, four-footed, bird-hipped, plant-eater

Directions to Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trailhead

To reach Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trailhead, drive 15 miles north from Moab on U.S. 191. Then turn left at the intersection north of highway mile marker 141. Cross the railroad tracks and continue for two miles to get to the trailhead. Note that the road becomes impassable when wet.

When you get there, pick up an informational pamphlet at the Grand Resource Area and take your family on a leisurely, self-guided walking tour through Jurassic history.

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Remember To Visit Responsibly

Please note that there are no guards or fences at the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Bone Trail. Visitors are the protectors of this irreplaceable resource. Remember to Leave No Trace — avoid walking directly on the track-bearing areas. Stick to designated trails, pack out, recycle trash and do your part to keep the area clean. To learn more about protecting this historic site, check out this resource from the BLM.

Note: It is illegal to remove fossils from public lands or trace them without a scientific research permit. Carving, collecting, defacing or altering any tracks or fossils is also illegal. 

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