New Book – Backroad Excursions – Exploring the 4 corners region

Backroad Excursions   Blurb Books

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Thinking of a visit to Moab or the Four Corners Region?  Interested in exploring ruins and petroglyph’s which were created by prehistoric Indians as early as 1200 AD? Maybe explore the remains of an abandoned ghost town  or walk the path of no extinct dinosaurs viewing their petrified remains embedded within a rock wall?  Then this guide is for you, it features directions and images that will provide you and your family with hours of enjoyment through out your stay.

  • The Beautiful House on Fire Ruins
  • Three Castle Kiva
  • Mill Creek Dinosaur Grave Yard
  • Cisco Ghost Town
  • Sego Canyon Petroglyph’s
  • Monument Valley
  • The Canyonlands
  • Newspaper Rock

Just to name a few each description  provided comes with easy to read directions and images to assist you and your family in getting the most out of your visit to the Four Corners region.  Each one child friendly and most handicap accessible, purchase and download the ebook the information is as easily accessible as your cellular phone

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Published in: on April 3, 2013 at 2:14 PM  Comments Off on New Book – Backroad Excursions – Exploring the 4 corners region  

Cottonwood Wash/ Buckhorn Wash, UT

Cottonwood Wash/ Buckhorn Wash, UT

Cottonwood Wash, is a wide-open rolling high desert, with low rocky bluffs studded with distant towering buttes. This road is well maintained and is generally a safe road to drive. The Buckhorn Wash portion of this route is especially scenic, with canyon walls rising many hundreds of feet above you, Native American rock art panels, a well-preserved dinosaur track and more! There are many side roads along this route, but the navigation of this road is easy-when in doubt, stay on the main road!

Mile 28.3 Mile 0
This is where the Cottonwood Wash Road intersects I-70 and heads north towards Buckhorn Wash.

Mile 26.2 Mile 2.1
This is a Sagebrush test area, used to study the effects of grazing by livestock. The western section of the enclosure was fenced off in 1937, while the eastern section was enclosed in 1961.

Sink Hole flat

Mile 23.3 Mile 5.0
You are at Sinkhole Flat, with the actual sinkhole surrounded by a circular log fence. The sinkhole is of little scenic value, and is included here only as a landmark.

Mile 10.8 Mile 17.5
Massive Window Blind Peak is to the east of the road, with the smaller Assembly Hall Peak to the north of Window Blind. Rising to an elevation of 7030 feet, it is the tallest free standing monolith in America, one of the largest in the world. It is called “Window Blind” because some of the rock formations near the top on Northeast side look like windows with the blinds closed. Assembly Hall was named for its resemblance to the original LDS assembly hall in Salt Lake City.

Mile 10 Mile 18.3

To the west, slender Bottleneck Peak rises to an elevation of 6401 feet.above sea level.

Mile 9.2 Mile 19.1
This is the bridge over the San Rafael River, and it is the boundary between Cottonwood Wash and Buckhorn Wash roads. Just to the south of the river is the San Rafael Recreation Area campground, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. It offers many campsites, picnic tables, fire rings and pit toilets. There is no drinking water available. North of the river are many sandy primitive campsites under the cottonwood trees. The swinging bridge, located to the west, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938 and was the only bridge over the river until the early 1990s. Though you can no longer drive on it, it is perfectly safe to walk on.

Mile 7.4 Mile 20.9
Calf, Cow and Pine Canyons enter from the East.

Mile 5.5 Mile 22.7
One of the highlights of the entire San Rafael Swell is the mysterious Buckhorn Wash pictograph panel. There are some faint petroglyphs here, but the red pictograph figures are the stars of this site! The main panel was painted over 2,000 years ago by the Barrier Canyon culture. Learn more about the Barrier Canyon culture and how they made pictographs and petroglyphs. There is also a boulder with the names of the same CCC boys that built the swinging bridge over the San Rafael River carved into it. There is a pit toilet at this location.

Mile 4.2 Mile 24
On the sandstone ledge, about 40 feet above the road, is the Matt Warner inscription, dated Feb 17 1920. Matt was a very colorful outlaw that operated (on occasion with Butch Cassidy) from New Mexico to Washington State for over 18 years.  During that period, he frequented Green River, operating a saloon and brothel there.

Mile 2.3 Mile 25.9
There is a cattle guard here. Just south of the cattle guard is a parking area. Park there, and notice the trail heading to the east, up a steep hill. There is a large panel of petroglyphs at the end of this short trail.

Mile 2.1 Mile 26.1
To the east of the road a short distance is an interesting petroglyph. It can be hard to spot, so look for a series of bullet holes where some fool shot his initials (TKG) onto the cliff. Look left of those for a large, light colored crack running vertically. The petroglyph is just left of the crack.

Mile 1.6 Mile 26.6
A very clear and large dinosaur track can, with a little searching, be found here. On the east side of the road is a ledge of sandstone about 10 to 15 feet above the road. There are several paths up to the ledge. Once on top of the ledge, look for a larger flat area of bare sandstone at your feet. The footprint is on this large sandstone area, although you may have to move some flat rocks to uncover it. Visit the dinosaur pages within our site to learn more about other dinosaurs in Castle Country.

Mile 1.4 Mile 26.8
A short canyon is east of the road. There is an easy hike up the canyon.

Mile 0 Mile 28.3
You are at the intersection with the Green River Cutoff Road. West will take you to Castledale and Highway 10, east will lead you to US Highway 6

Location Of The Wash

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Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, UT

Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, UT

Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, UT

The St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm displays some of the oldest and best-preserved tracks in the world. Dinosaur tracks were discovered on the farm in February, 2000, and it has become quite an attraction. The site is in the early stages of scientific study – so far more than 1,000 tracks have been found within a 10-acre area. Most were made by Dilophosaurus-like creatures and are three-toed, 13-18 inches long. There are also some smaller tracks and researchers have identified skin prints and impressions made by tail drags and swimming movements.

The tracks were found in large slabs of sandstone from the Moenave Formation, dating back some 205 million years to the beginning of the dinosaur era. Residents tromped over that very sandstone for years, never realizing it sheltered such treasures. Nobody knew, until Dr. Sheldon Johnson flipped over a slab while trying to level his land. There, on the underside, the tracks were clearly visible.

Most of the tracks are actually “negative impression” casts that appear as bumps on the stone. The area was the bottom of an ancient freshwater lake in the center of the super-continent Pangea. Footprints left in the mud filled with silt and sand, and more sand was deposited over the top. The mixture eventually solidified into sandstone and mudstone, forming the casts. Now, when the slabs are flipped over, the casts appear, much like Jell-O popping out of a mold.

Dr. Johnson donated his land to the city of St. George and the U.S. Congress recently appropriated funds to help construct a science and visitor center. Volunteers do most of the work at the site.

Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, UT

Small groups can just show up during open hours. Larger groups should schedule a tour.

It is easy to find. Take Exit 10 from I-15 onto 3050 East (Pineview Drive). Follow it south until it swings to the southwest and becomes Riverside Drive. Just continue driving until you reach the site, which is marked by a sign.

  • Open hours: 10 am until 6 pm
  • Days of operation: Monday through Saturday
  • Closed Sundays
  • Open every holiday except Christmas & Thanksgiving
  • Address: 2180 E. Riverside Drive
  • Phone: 435-574-DINO (3466)
  • To schedule tours or to volunteer, please contact Janice Evans, the Volunteer Coordinator
Published in: on December 13, 2009 at 6:45 PM  Comments Off on Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, UT  
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Dinosaur Tracksites and Fossil Trails in Utah

Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trailhead, UT
Use this guide to locate dinosaur tracksites and trails in Utah. This information is not updated regularly; therefore some tracksites may not be on this list.
St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm
2180 East Riverside
St. George, UT 84790
(435) 574-3466
Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm – Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays.
Fees: Admission fees required, price varies depending on special exhibits. Please call for prices.
After several years of research and continual discovery, this site has evolved into a world-class dinosaur site that includes the rare combination of fossilized bones and footprints of dinosaurs and many other ancient animals.
When you visit, you will:
Walk through a ‘snapshot’ of a lake ecosystem from Early Jurassic time and observe fish, plants, and animal traces made by invertebrates and vertebrates. See over 2000 tracks made by at least several kinds of dinosaurs, ancient crocodylians, fish, and many other animals. See one of only two fossil tracks in the entire world made by a sitting theropod dinosaur.
See the largest single track block in any museum in the world. This block, weighing 52,000 lbs., has fourteen dinosaur trackways across its surface.
Moab Area Tracks and Trails
Moab Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
82 East Dogwood
Moab, UT 84532
435-259-6111
Hours: Spring, Summer, Fall, as weather permits
Fees: None
Along this nature trail, which requires a moderate 1/2-mile hike, Morrison Formation dinosaur fossils and petrified wood may be seen in a natural setting. This outdoor museum is a bold experiment, where you, the visitor, are the protector of this valuable resource; collecting is not allowed. Only you assure that this fragile legacy is preserved so those who follow may see, learn, and enjoy. The trailhead is in Mill Canyon on a dirt road, accessible by passenger vehicle, off U.S. Highway 191, 13 miles north of Moab, Utah (near mile marker 141). For a brochure and map, contact the Moab BLM office listed above.
Sauropod Dinosaur Tracksite
Hours: Spring, Summer, Fall, as weather permits
Fees: None
This tracksite includes the first sauropod tracks reported in Utah. It is located in an exposure of the Salt Wash Member of the Morrison Formation north of Moab, Utah. The sauropod tracks are seen making a sharp turn to the right, a phenomenon rarely observed in fossil trackways. They are associated with theropod tracks. There are no guards or fences here. You, the visitor, are the protector of this valuable resource. The site may be reached by a 2-wheel drive dirt road off U.S. Highway 191, 23 miles north of Moab. For more information contact the Moab BLM office listed above.
Potash Road Dinosaur Tracks
Hours: Year-round access
Fees: None
Dinosaur tracks may be seen along the Potash Road Scenic Byway, State Highway 279, which follows the Colorado River south of Moab. The tracks are located approximately 4.5 miles along the road from its junction with Highway 191, which is 4 miles north of Moab. The tracks are visible from the road and a spotting scope is available. For better viewing, binoculars are useful, or you may hike directly up to the tracksite.
Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackways
Red Fleet State Park
8750 North Hwy. 191
Vernal, Utah 84078-7801
435-789-4432
Hours: Park open daily, year round
Fees: Yes
Move than 200 tracks of two different types of dinosaurs are exposed along the shoreline of Red Fleet Reservoir, 10 miles north of Vernal, Utah, just off U.S. Highway 191. The tracksite may be reached by boat, or by a two mile round-trip hike. The tracks could be covered by snow in the winter or covered by water during spring runoff.
c/o St. George Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
345 East Riverside Drive
St. George, Utah 84790
435.688.3200
435.688.3252 fax
utsgmail@blm.gov
Hours: Monday – Friday 7:45 a.m. to 5:00p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Warner Valley Dinosaur Tracks, UT
Hours: Year round as weather permits (road impassable when wet)
Fees: Suggested donation of $1.00
The trackways from two different types of dinosaurs may be seen at this site in Warner Valley, southwest of St. George, Utah. This dirt road also takes the traveler to the historic site of Fort Pearce. The route is signed, but for specific directions, contact the BLM St. George Field Office. A short trail leads to the trackways and an information sign.
Washington City Tracksite
Hours: Year round as weather permits
Fees: Suggested donation of $1.00
Dinosaur tracks from the Moenave Formation are also found near Washington City north of St. George. They are exposed in the wash below a new city water tank. The pink water tank is visible from the freeway in the hills north of town, but exact directions are also available at the St. George BLM office listed above.
710 North Reservoir Road
Escalante, UT 84726
435-826-4466
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (summer) 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (winter) open year-round, closed Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Fees: Yes
A 1.5-mile long trail at this state park takes the visitor past a colorful array of petrified wood. A Visitors Center and “petrified rock garden” have fine examples of the Morrison Formation’s dinosaur bones, petrified wood, and other fossils. The park also features a reservoir and overnight camping.

Locating Fossilized trilobites In Nevada

Fossilized trilobites

located in the Pioche Hills located in eastern Lincoln County, Nevada near the historic mining town of Pioche is a formation known which creates The Lower-Middle Cambrian boundary interval within the southern Great Basin and Mojave Desert region.  Here in the  long outcrop a belt occurs within a mountain chain which trends southward along the west side of the Bristol, Highland, Chief, and Burnt Springs Ranges to Lime Mountain in the Delamar Mountains. With in the shale of these ranges especially the Middle Cambrian Pioche Shale occurs which in the Pioche Hills located in eastern Lincoln County, Nevada. These areas are rich in fossilized trilobites within the prehistoric Cambrian shelf a transect would associated with depth changes across the shelf a prehistoric ocean.

Locating Fossils

The most efficient way to locate fossilized trilobites is to examine the shale formations both above and below the surface is to dig into the slabby-weathering siliceous shales, exposing fresh sedimentary strata below the surface. Fortunately, most of the shales within a few inches of the surface are severely fractured; hence, little splitting of them is necessary, since they tend to separate from the outcrops in thin sheet-like plates. Watch for the fossil compressions and impressions along the bedding planes of every shale fragment you remove from the hillside exposures. The deeper you dig, though, the more thickly bedded the opaline shales become, until at last it will become necessary to begin splitting the extremely dense, concrete-like rocks. When doing this, always remember to wear safety goggles, or at least some kind of eye protection such as sunglasses. The denser, thick-bedded opaline strata crack apart only with the greatest of applied brute force, thus increasing the likelihood that sharp fragments might launch off the matrix into your eyes. Stand slabs of shale on end, then give them a sure whack with the blunt end of a geology hammer. If you’re fortunate, the sedimentary layers will break apart along their original planes of deposition, revealing perfect carbonized leaf and seed impressions and compressions to their first light of day in approximately 16 million years.

Published in: on October 28, 2009 at 4:19 PM  Comments Off on Locating Fossilized trilobites In Nevada  
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Locating Fossilized Plants In Nevada

 

Fossil leaf specimen from Middlegate
Perhaps the richest producer of Miocene-age (22-to-5-million-year-old) fossilized plants in the entire state of Nevada is a geologic rock deposit known as the Middlegate Formation located in the Middlegate Hills in west-central Nevada. It is exposed primarily in the Middlegate Hills a number of miles from Fallon. In this area some 64 species of fossil plants have been described, including such diverse types as evergreen live oak, giant sequoia, willow, fir, maple and spruce. The fossil specimens, which consist of leaves, winged seeds (called samaras in technical botanical terminology), acorn cups, seed pods and branchlets, occur as pale to dark brown carbonized impressions on a cream-white to pale-brownish matrix of opaline shale–many of them exhibiting such an exceptional degree of preservation that the original delicate venation on the leaves is clearly visible.
All of the remains are Middle Miocene in geologic age, dated by radiometric methods at some 16 million years old. They occur in the uppermost (the youngest layers of deposition) 30 feet of the Middlegate Formation, just below the overlying Middle Miocene Monarch Mill Formation, whose basal sedimentary conglomerates have yielded to paleontologists a large vertebrate fauna, including the silicified bones of moles, rabbits, squirrels, beavers, mountain beavers, mice, weasels, martins, rhinocetotids, oreodonts, camels, llamas and pronghorns

Perhaps the richest producer of Miocene-age (22-to-5-million-year-old) plants in the entire state of Nevada is a geologic rock deposit known as the Middlegate Formation. It is exposed primarily in the Middlegate Hills a number of miles from Fallon. In this area some 64 species of fossil plants have been described, including such diverse types as evergreen live oak, giant sequoia, willow, fir, maple and spruce. The fossil specimens, which consist of leaves, winged seeds (called samaras in technical botanical terminology), acorn cups, seed pods and branchlets, occur as pale to dark brown carbonized impressions on a cream-white to pale-brownish matrix of opaline shale–many of them exhibiting such an exceptional degree of preservation that the original delicate venation on the leaves is clearly visible.
All of the remains are Middle Miocene in geologic age, dated by radiometric methods at some 16 million years old. They occur in the uppermost (the youngest layers of deposition) 30 feet of the Middlegate Formation, just below the overlying Middle Miocene Monarch Mill Formation, whose basal sedimentary conglomerates have yielded to paleontologists a large vertebrate fauna, including the silicified bones of moles, rabbits, squirrels, beavers, mountain beavers, mice, weasels, martins, rhinocetotids, oreodonts, camels, llamas and pronghorns

Such scientifically invaluable fossil vertebrate material on Public Lands is of course off limits to all collectors who do not possess a special use permit issued by the Bureau of Land Management, a formal collecting status that is perhaps well understood by most amateurs and professional paleontologists alike. At present, there is no such legal restriction on the hobby gathering of leaves, winged seeds, and other paleobotanical remains at Middlegate–but that, too, could change.

The troubling circumstance is that commercial collecting interests have recently begun to concentrate on a select number of fossil leaf-yielding fields in Nevada–obviously those sites which happen to provide them with the greatest numbers of well-preserved specimens. This is patently illegal activity, since no fossil remains collected on Public Lands may be either sold or bartered. And while there is certainly nothing criminal about selling fossil specimens collected on private lands (with the land owner’s unambiguous permission, of course), any desecration of a fossil horizon on Public Lands in an attempt to secure as many saleable remains as possible is without question an offense punishable by law. Also, such behavior is with sure consequence horribly counterproductive, since it only invites officials with the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service to close down popular fossil areas, preventing conscientious amateurs from sampling places of significant paleontological interest.

Locating Fossils

The most efficient way to locate fossil plants in the Middlegate Hills is to dig into the slabby-weathering siliceous shales, exposing fresh sedimentary strata below the surface. Fortunately, most of the shales within a few inches of the surface are severely fractured; hence, little splitting of them is necessary, since they tend to separate from the outcrops in thin sheet-like plates. Watch for the fossil plant compressions and impressions along the bedding planes of every shale fragment you remove from the hillside exposures. The deeper you dig, though, the more thickly bedded the opaline shales become, until at last it will become necessary to begin splitting the extremely dense, concrete-like rocks. When doing this, always remember to wear safety goggles, or at least some kind of eye protection such as sunglasses. The denser, thick-bedded opaline strata crack apart only with the greatest of applied brute force, thus increasing the likelihood that sharp fragments might launch off the matrix into your eyes. Stand slabs of shale on end, then give them a sure whack with the blunt end of a geology hammer. If you’re fortunate, the sedimentary layers will break apart along their original planes of deposition, revealing perfect carbonized leaf and seed impressions and compressions to their first light of day in approximately 16 million years.

 

 

Published in: on October 28, 2009 at 3:25 PM  Comments Off on Locating Fossilized Plants In Nevada  
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