Kanab's Dinosaur Tracks are a short hike with a unique finding
There's so much to do between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park! I can't believe I missed this in the past.
While passing through on my way to the Vermilion Cliffs, I decided to check out the small town of Kanab, Utah. This town wasn't on my original list but I decided to pull into their visitors center and see what was around. I left with a gigantic list of hikes and canyons, one of them being the Dinosaur Tracks Trail. Its a short, easy hike from nearby Highway 89. I'm glad I didn't miss it because this was the first time I've seen dinosaur tracks in real life!
Getting to Kanab's Dinosaur Tracks Trailhead
The trailhead is not very obvious but its easy to get to. Simply head North on Highway 89 for about 5 minutes. The parking area is about 3.3 miles from the intersection of Highway 89 and Highway 89A in downtown Kanab. As you drive, look for the Utah State Inspection Center for semitrucks. There's a large, paved parking area with a port-a-potty to the right. Park there and look for signs of a footpath exiting towards the cliffs overlooking the parking lot. Here's a map of the hike and parking area-
Hiking to the Dinosaur Tracks
So this hike is only 1 mile round trip but it isn't well marked and its steep in some areas. I went after it rained and it was very muddy. I recommend bringing a pair of sturdy boots in spite of the hike's brevity.
Start from the parking area and find the well worn path that heads south, paralleling highway 89. Just before the cliffs, the path dog-legs and follows along the cliffs for about a quarter of a mile. I noted several spots where you could scramble up over the cliffs but to avoid that, simply continue until the cliffs fade. Refernce the map above for further guidance
After getting on top of the ledges, the trail circles back towards the highway as it steadily ascends. Once you're almost back at the highway (but a hundred feet above it), turn left (northeast) and tackle the ascent to the mesa. This is slippery and involves some hands and feet but I didn't think it was too exposed. The top of the mesa is where the dinosaur tracks are.
Finding the tracks
Keep a sharp eye out for the tracks- again, they are neither marked nor labeled. Although I found them without incident, I feel like a lot of pictures online are cleverly photo-shopped to make them look far more obvious. Don't get me wrong- once I found them, I was thrilled! But don't expect a several inches deep imprint.
I spotted about a half dozen of discrete tracks but many more exist. The folks at the visitor center told me they were tracks from a Grallator which almost sounds like a pokemon. But if you told me they were T-Rex tracks, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Simply placing my hand in the footprint of an animal that existed eons before our time was unreal. Its like a natural museum.
The Dinosaur Tracks are the obvious draw of the trail but there's excellent views at the top of Hog Canyon and the colorful landscapes endemic to Southern Utah.
This trail took me about 1 hour, not including time spent photographing and enjoying the scenery. After this I headed towards the famous Toadstool Hoodoos of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.