Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail

The Mill Canyon Road is a west turn off of Highway 191 just north of Mile Post 141, north of Moab in southeast Utah. After 0.6 miles there is a staging area and an information kiosk. Signs point the way another 1.1 miles to the parking area for the Dinosaur Trail

A shorter version of the Lower Monitor and Merrimac Loop bike and hiking trail can start from the same parking area. The Dino Trail is a 0.8 mile interpretive loop with many fossils visible.

The interpretive signs at the trail head mention that the deposits here are sandstones, clays and shales of the Morrison Formation from 155 to 144 million years ago. These rocks are a little younger than the Entrada Sandstone that forms most of the Arches that are famous in the area. The fossils found here include Camptosaurus, Allosaurus, Camarasaurus, and Stegosaurus.

Along the trail there are many small signs pointing out specific fossils. The directions are often very specific, such as “look four feet to your left at ground level.”

The fossils appear as purple veins in the otherwise tan and brown rocks. The fossil here is a leg bone of the 60 foot long plant eating Camarasaurus, a medium sized member of the Sauropod suborder. Further along the trail are some vertebrae from the same species.

A large petrified log is also visible along the trail. The trees in that era are described as conifers, sycamores, cypress, and yew trees.
At the far end of the loop are the ruins of the mill that Mill Canyon is named for. Copper Ore was processed here in the late 1800s. There is a black pile of smelting leftovers near the ruins. Hikers wanting to continue on the Monitor & Merrimac Loop can turn right and hike up the Mill Canyon riparian habitat area toward the Desolation Towers formation visible in the distance. Another Dinosaur trail close by is the Copper Ridge Track Way near Mile Post 148.

                                   532497_120 x 90 Starting Salary $42k. Group 1

No comments:

Post a Comment