Dinosaur Track Recreation Site
Many times, when you talk about places to see dinosaur fossils in their natural environment the response is usually Dinosaur National Monument. However, as we continue to explore the great outdoors in this beautiful state, we continue to learn that remnants of Utah’s Jurassic period can be found all over.
One example is Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm located in St. George, and the other is the Dinosaur Track Recreation Site located along the Parowan Gap Road. While visiting the Parowan Gap Petroglyphs Site, we stumbled upon this beautiful area filled with large boulders. Amongst these boulders are dinosaur tracks that were left in the mud approximately 65 to 75 million years ago.
Most of the footprints found in the Parowan Gap have three toes that resemble giant bird feet. These dinosaurs, known as hadrosaurs, have been nick-named “duck-billed” dinosaurs because of their horny, toothless beaks. Hadrosaurs were the most plentiful dinosaur species in North America and most weighed a few tons and were 10 to 40 feet long.
Visiting the Site:
Once you enter the parking area for the Dinosaur Track Site you will see a large informative sign that provides information about the tracks, geology, and preservation of the area. Beyond the sign is a nice trail that will lead you through the boulders. Each track location is marked with a metal post. Some of the tracks are difficult to see, therefore take your time and look all around the boulders. Once you find a track please don’t touch them. Even though they are rock, they are very delicate.
Other Outdoor Activities:
Beside the dinosaur tracks and over 90 panels of petroglyphs, the Parowan Gap is home to 26 rock climbing routes. The most famous climbing crag is known as Shinobe which features 18 published routes. Rock climbing opportunities are best during spring, fall, and early winter.
As mentioned in the article about the petroglyphs located throughout the Parowan Gap, this area has also become victim to vandalism. Please, if you visit this area only take pictures and keep this place open so future generations can see and learn about Utah’s past.
There are two ways you can reach the “Gap”. If traveling south from Salt Lake City take I-15 to Parowan, Utah. Take exit 75 and turn right on W 200 S. At the first cross street turn right onto 2200 W. Follow 2200 W to Gap Rd and turn left.
From Cedar City Travel north on Main Street. Follow Main Street into Enoch and onto Minersville Highway. Follow this approximately 12.7 miles north, then as directed by the directional sign for the Parowan Gap, turn right (east). You will be looking directly through the Gap, drive through the Gap and turn left into the designated parking area.
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