The Colorado Scenic Byway (Hwy 128) , UT

The Colorado Scenic Byway (Hwy 128) , UT

Length: 44.0 mi / 70.8 km
Time to Allow:
2 hours

This spectacular route along the Colorado River gorge in Moab, UT begins at the Colorado River Bridge on the north end of Moab. For the first 13 miles (20.9 km) it parallels

the Colorado River within a narrow section of the gorge, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding red sandstone cliffs. Popular attractions along this portion of the route include viewpoints of the river, public camping areas, and Negro Bill Canyon, which contains a delightful hiking trail to Morning Glory Natural Bridge.

At 13 miles (20.9 km) the gorge widens as the highway proceeds past Castle and Professor Valleys, which have been the shooting locations for many western films including Wagon Master and Rio Grande, along with numerous television commercials. The Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission has a museum at the lodge located at Mile Marker 14. Admission is free. After 24.7 miles (39.8 km) the highway passes a viewpoint for one of the grandest views in the west, the red rock spires of the Fisher Towers set against the often snow covered peaks of the La Sal Mountains.

The Colorado Scenic Byway (Hwy 128) , UT

After leaving the valley, the road winds farther up the river gorge until arriving at the site of historic Dewey Bridge at 29.8 miles (48 km). Unfortunately Dewey Bridge was destroyed in April 2008 by a brush fire. The road then follows the northern bank of the river for a few more miles before exiting the Colorado River gorge. At this point the highway proceeds across open desert toward the ghost town of Cisco at 44 miles (70.8 km). Cisco was founded as a water refilling station for steam locomotives along the main line of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. After another 5 miles (8 km) the route intersects Interstate 70.

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

Beaver Dam Wilderness Pioneer Ruins, AZ

Beaver Dam Wilderness Pioneer Ruins, AZ

The Virgin River has helped to create several impressive Southwestern landscapes, starting with the great white cliffs and canyons of Utah’s Zion National Park and ending at the upper end of Lake Mead in Nevada, where it eventually meets the Colorado River. In between, it flows across the very northwest tip of Arizona for 30 miles, through two gaunt ranges of hills – the Virgin and Beaver Dam Mountains, which have similar, Grand Canyon-like scenery of eroded, stepped cliffs and terraces of metamorphosed sandstone. The Virgin Mountains are the more extensive and isolated range, running alongside the river as far as the north edge of the lake, and forming the southwest edge of the Colorado Plateau; to the west stretch the flat, arid plains of the Mojave Desert, terrain that extends for hundreds of miles across Nevada and California. The Beaver Dam Mountains are a little more accessible but just as rugged and scenic, and part is a designated wilderness area – an untamed region of Joshua trees and cacti, lizards and mountain sheep, and much colorful, weathered rock.

Beaver Dam Wilderness Pioneer Ruins

Along the Virgin River if one wishes to experience the pioneer spirit one may wish to check this out along Interstate 15 just exiting the Virgin River Gorge to the north several pioneer ruins are visible although almost un-noticeable access can be found by taking Beaver Dam Littlefield exit and following it through Beaver Dam and following old highway 91.   On the right you will see an access road stating Virgin River access the first authorized road on the right take this road and follow this map once parked you can hike the rest.

Beaver Dam Wilderness

John G Clark Memorial Cross, NV

John G Clark Memorial Cross, NV

Clark Memorial Cross – Overton, NV

N 36° 25.523 W 114° 28.143
11S E 726899 N 4034108
Quick Description: This Memorial is located on the south side of State Road 169 in the Valley of Fire State Park in Overton, Nevada, USA.
Location: Nevada, United States
Date Posted: 4/9/2008 7:04:13 PM
Waymark Code: WM3J03

John G Clark Memorial Cross, NV

This Memorials was erected as a monument honoring John G. Clark, a pioneer traveler. This Memorial was erected June 1949 by the citizens of Overton, Nevada. It is about 150 feet off the road, on state route #169. According to information at the Valley of Fire State Park, Captain John J. Clark, retired, 46 New York Infantry, died June 1915, age 67. he was driving a buckboard through the desert on the Arrowhead Trail (early trail to the Muddy). He stopped, tied his horse to the back of the buckboard, laid down and died of thirst at that point in the Valley of Fire.”

John G Clark Memorial Cross, NV

To facilitate visiting the monument, there is a turnout on the south side of State Road 169 that can accommodate several cars.

From the Valley of Fire State Park website: “Valley of Fire State Park is located only six miles from Lake Mead and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75. Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, dedicated 1935. The valley derives its name from the red sandstone formations and the stark beauty of the Mojave Desert. Ancient trees and early man are represented throughout the park by areas of petrified wood and 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyph. Popular activities include camping, hiking, picnicking and photography. The park offers a full-scale visitor center with extensive interpretive displays. Several group use areas are also available. The park is open all year.”

The Moqui Cave, UT

The Moqui Cave, UT
Lex was not around when his father, Garth Chamberlain, purchased the cave (7 miles north of Kanab) in 1951. The beautiful paved Highway 89 that we now enjoy was just a dirt road. The black and dirty cave had been abused and mistreated and was filled with graffiti and black stains from campfires within the cave.
Garth had a vision not shared by many of his time. He went to the bank for financing and everyone thought he was crazy. They refused to lend him money for his project. Garth and his wife decided to go ahead with their plans anyway and began to clean up the cave. They started with 286 bags of Portland cement which they mixed in a small fruit sprayer. The couple put a clean white coat of paint over the interior of the entire cave. They commented that they got more on themselves than on the cave.
The paint was followed by 150 truckloads of dirt. The floors slanted badly, so the dirt was used to level the floors and entry.
Concrete, 7,000 square feet to be exact, was poured over the dirt to create a smooth floor. This concrete was not delivered in cement trucks, each load had to be hand mixed and pushed in a wheelbarrow to its destination.
A stage was built to provide room for an orchestra and the cave was ready. The first use of the cave was for dances and socials. A bar was also set up in the south wing of the cave.
Following years of long Friday and Saturday nights, Garth and his wife decided to discontinue the dances and bar and to turn the cave into a museum.
Museum pieces were acquired. Replicas of the ruins in the local area were added. Dinosaur tracks were found and brought to the cave. A fluorescent mineral display was created and has become one of the largest collections in the west.
The cave today represents forty years of painstaking work; work begun with a vision. Garth and his wife could not have imagined their success, nor the enjoyment others would find in their work

The Moqui CaveLex was not around when his father, Garth Chamberlain, purchased the cave (7 miles north of Kanab) in 1951. The beautiful paved Highway 89 that we now enjoy was just a dirt road. The black and dirty cave had been abused and mistreated and was filled with graffiti and black stains from campfires within the cave.
Garth had a vision not shared by many of his time. He went to the bank for financing and everyone thought he was crazy. They refused to lend him money for his project. Garth and his wife decided to go ahead with their plans anyway and began to clean up the cave. They started with 286 bags of Portland cement which they mixed in a small fruit sprayer. The couple put a clean white coat of paint over the interior of the entire cave. They commented that they got more on themselves than on the cave.
The paint was followed by 150 truckloads of dirt. The floors slanted badly, so the dirt was used to level the floors and entry.
Concrete, 7,000 square feet to be exact, was poured over the dirt to create a smooth floor. This concrete was not delivered in cement trucks, each load had to be hand mixed and pushed in a wheelbarrow to its destination.
A stage was built to provide room for an orchestra and the cave was ready. The first use of the cave was for dances and socials. A bar was also set up in the south wing of the cave.
Following years of long Friday and Saturday nights, Garth and his wife decided to discontinue the dances and bar and to turn the cave into a museum.
Museum pieces were acquired. Replicas of the ruins in the local area were added. Dinosaur tracks were found and brought to the cave. A fluorescent mineral display was created and has become one of the largest collections in the west.
The cave today represents forty years of painstaking work; work begun with a vision. Garth and his wife could not have imagined their success, nor the enjoyment others would find in their work

Moqui CaveMoqui

Cavewww.moquicave.com

4518 N Highway 89

Kanab, UT 84741

(435) 644-8525

Valley of Fire -The Cabins, NV

The Cabins

The historic stone cabins built with native sandstone by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930’s as a shelter for passing travelers.

Park Brochure

The Cabins

The Cabins – Anasazi Petroglyph’s

The Cabins - Anasazi Petroglyph's

The petroglyph’s depicted here can be located upon the rock wall directly behind the cabins, once entering the park the directions to these formations are provided within the park informational pamphlet provided at the entrance gate.

Elephant Rock & Poodle Rock, Valley of Fire Nevada

Elephant Rock, Valley of Fire, NV

During the last Ice Age, which ended 10,000 years ago, this area was much cooler and wetter, providing habitat for many animals that are now extinct, including saber-tooth cats, giant ground sloths, prehistoric horses and camels, and giant mammoths. The only relic of that time are the massive rock formations that are scattered throughout the park two notable formations are Elephant Rock  and Poodle Rock is a testament to the many varied stone shapes at Valley of Fire, thanks to the wonders of geology and the erosive power of weather.

Park Brochure

Poodle Rock, Valley of Fire, NV

Once entering the park the directions to these formations are provided within the park informational pamphlet provided at the entrance gate.

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 2:51 PM  Comments Off on Elephant Rock & Poodle Rock, Valley of Fire Nevada  
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The Parowan Gap

The Parowan Gap
Approximately 15 million years ago, a long slender section of sedimentary rock sheared from the earth’s crust along parallel fault lines. This up-thrown block, later named the Red Hills, began to inch its way above the surrounding valley floor. At the same time the block was rising, a stream was cutting a path perpendicularly across the ridge. For millions of years the uplifting of the ridge and the down-cutting of the stream remained in equilibrium.
Eventually however, the relentless rise of the ridge and the drying of the region’s climate combined forces to defeat the stream. The stream disappeared and the valley became a waterless wind gap. Continued erosion by wind and rain have shaped the gap into the pass seen today.
Parowan Gap Petroglyphs
Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

The Parowan Gap Petroglyphs are listed on the National Register of Historic Places signifying its importance as a cultural treasure.
Fremont and Anasazi Indians were the first known inhabitants of Parowan. Petroglyphs, pithouses, arrowheads, pottery, and manos dating from A.D. 750 to 1250 found in the area are evidence that it was on a major thoroughfare of early Native Americans. At Parowan Gap, a natural mountain pass twelve miles (19 km) northwest of Parowan, ancient Indians inscribed petroglyphs on smooth-surfaced boulders that feature snakes, lizards, mouse-men, bear claws, and mountain sheep. In addition, the Old Spanish Trail also passed through the area.
Pioneer Wagon Grease Signature
The Parley Pratt Expedition discovered the petroglyphs at Parowan Gap in 1849.  The pass is a classic example of a wind gap, an unusual geological landform marking where an ancient river cut a 600-foot-deep notch through the mountain.  Native Americans and pioneers used this ancient gap for thousands of years to provide easy passage through the Red Hills. Pioneer wagon grease signatures can be observed along the towering walls of the Parowan gap narrows . The north wall of Parowan Gap contains a huge gallery of Native American rock art.  Most petroglyph sites contain figures of humans and animals.  This petroglyph site contains many deeply inscribed geometric forms, along with some humans and animals.
The most interesting feature of this site is a very large and deeply inscribed petroglyph known as the “Zipper”.  Many archaeologists believe the “Zipper” is a composite map (space) and numerical calendar (time). The gap is a superb “gallery” of petroglyphs that features a 1,000-year accumulation of Native American rock art.
Parowan Gap Small Cave - Interior Glyph and ceiling Soot Marks
Parowan Gap Caves

At the east entrance of the Parowan gap narrows are two caves one usually refered to as the “Small Cave” the other refered to the “Large” Cave. They both contain petroglyphs. Soot on their ceilings, from torches or fires, indicate they were once inhabited by Indians.
Parowan Gap Large Cave - Interior Glyph Panel
Carbon dating has shown that the caves were in use from 3000 to 400 BC.

Parowan Gap is known for its amazing petroglyphs (click here to see information about the petroglyphs) but the site also contains some interesting paleontological resources as well. Near the petroglyphs are dinosaur tracks made by ornithopods, ceratopsians and theropods. These tracks (natural casts) occur in the Iron Springs Formation* and are usually
in the fallen blocks of light yellow-brown sandstone. Some tracks do occur in place, but most are in the large fallen boulders, so check them first! Originally, these footprints were made in non-resistant mudstones which have since eroded away to expose the sandstone cast.
Visiting the gap is a perfect way to spend an interesting and breathtaking hour in Utah’s desert country.
Directional Map
You can get there from a gravel road from Parowan by going north on Main and turning left to 10.5 miles on the last street (400 North)
or from Cedar City, go north on Main (or take I-15 Exit 62, follow signs for UT 130 north 13.5 miles, then turn right 2 1/2 miles on a gravel road near Milepost 19.
For Additional Information Contact:
Bureau of Land Management
Cedar City Field Office
176 East D.L. Sargent Drive
Cedar City, Utah 84720
(435) 865-3053

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.