Friday – Sunday, May 3-5, 2019
Since we spent the end of last week at the very southern end of the Colorado Plateau on our way to Phoenix for a concert, we decided to head north this weekend to the very northern end so we could revisit Dinosaur National Monument and the surrounding area since we had a great time there over Memorial Day weekend last year. And even though Harpers Corner Road in Colorado had just finally opened up a few days before our trip, we decided to minimize our driving and just stick to exploring the Utah side of Dinosaur this time. We left after work on Friday afternoon, stopped for a quick dinner in Fruita, and then drove north through the Book Cliffs and Cañon Pintado towards the eastern end of the Monument in Utah to find a place to camp just outside the park. We found a nice spot just after sunset, quickly setup our tent and then got into our sleeping bags so we could get an early start on Saturday morning.
There was a great view of Split Mountain as we drove along the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument before sunset on Friday evening.
Nice light on the sandstone formations along Cub Creek as we headed out to find a campsite for the weekend.
On Saturday morning we headed over to the Josie Morris Cabin at the base of the Yampa Plateau so we could go on a couple of short hikes that we had not done before. We were the first ones to arrive at the trailhead and hiked into Box Canyon and Hog Canyon in complete solitude. It was a great way to start the day! After these two short hikes we went searching for new rock art panels both inside and outside the Monument with a stop in Vernal for an early dinner before returning to the park again.
Bright and early on Saturday morning at Josie’s Cabin.
The view from the end of our short hike into Box Canyon.
A nice petroglyph panel located right along Cub Creek Road.
We found these unusual pictographs in a small alcove and they appear to be made from mud and a yellow pigment. Or maybe the red pigment has flaked off leaving behind the muddy appearance?
A small panel of petroglyphs we found on a ledge above the canyon floor.
This petroglyph panel was well-hidden behind a bunch of trees and we almost missed it!
Here’s a closer look at the main figure on the right side.
Next up we visited this great Classic Vernal Style site with a lot of petroglyphs, and this panel was definitely the highlight of the area.
A closer look at the decorative shield.
The nice smaller petroglyphs found below the shield.
Diane spotted this ‘Falling Man’
Here’s another large panel found nearby.
These two anthropomorphs were located on a different ledge.
The figure on the right is very interesting!
This higher panel reminded me of some of the sites we’ve found in Nine Mile Canyon.
Climbing around the cliffs in search of petroglyphs.
After dinner in Vernal we returned to Dinosaur to get in a little more hiking before sunset. Since neither of us had hiked the Fossil Discovery Trail, we thought we’d give that one a try first, especially since it’s so short. We made it up to the Dinosaur Quarry about ten minutes before it closed for the day, so we quickly walked through to take another peek at the dinosaur bones before hiking back down.
Following part of the Fossil Discovery Trail.
After returning to the Visitor Center we had enough time for one more hike before sunset, so we drove down to the Split Mountain Gorge Campground so we could hike the Desert Voices Trail. The sky was looking a little threatening at this point but it was a shorter trail and I was hoping for some interesting weather before sunset. We would experience a little rain and wind while on the hike.
Wildflowers were abundant on this trip and these were found along the Desert Voices Trail.
Dark storm clouds with just a touch of soft light on Split Mountain.
Soon the clouds started clearing out to the west and we hoped a rainbow might make an appearance. At this point we were at a high point on the trail with a nice view and waited around to see what would happen…
As luck would have it, a rainbow did appear right over Split Mountain! I couldn’t have planned that any better!
Split Mountain Rainbow
Indian Paintbrush along the trail as we headed back.
After returning to the trailhead we walked over to the edge of the Green River at the Split Mountain Boat Ramp.
One last view as we were leaving Split Mountain on our way back to camp for the rest of the evening.
We caught some nice warm light along Cub Creek Road during the drive.
Here’s a shot of our campsite just before the sun was completely down.
The day before we left on this trip, Dinosaur National Monument posted this Dark Sky Park event on their Facebook page, so we decided to head back up to the Dinosaur Quarry to check it out after it was dark out. We spent some time looking at the sky during the event and then headed back down to camp so we could get some sleep. It had a been a long day and we were tired.
We woke up with the sunrise on Sunday and then spent the rest of the morning searching for rock art before packing up camp and heading back home in the early afternoon. While we had seen some of these panels last May, I knew we had missed some in the area and we ended up finding a couple of new ones, too.
Dots & Dashes
This was one we had missed last year. We walked right under it last time!
The last time we were in this area Diane found a little granary, and this time she found a different one!
The Snake Panel
One last new panel we found before calling it a day and heading home. It was another nice weekend in Dinosaur National Monument!