Sometimes you come across a trail or hike that offers something totally unique. The Dino Cliffs, in Washington Utah just east of St. George is one of those places.
The whole surrounding area is a bit of a dessert playground. It’s not uncommon to see dozens of four wheelers setting off into the desert. There are dozens of short and long trails to explore on bike or foot. While most outings can provide great overlooks of the surrounding area, the tracks are one of the few spots where the rock underfoot is the real draw.
The start of Dino Prints hike is a bit hard to find if you are not used to off roading. In the image below all of the light brown lines are dirt roads. While they are more or less all passable in good weather with even a basic sedan, add in a bit of weather and suddenly things get a lot more complex. In the middle of the summer it is rare to get any sort of rain, but this is also the hottest time to check out the hikes.
Once you have parked at Dino Prints trail, you can navigate around to the trail head which is marked by a small fence that helps keep wildlife in (or out) of the various areas. The start of the trail is covered with sand. We took this hike initially as a bike ride and found that even on the downhill pedaling was not an option. Heading down the first incline was more of an effort in skiing with a bike than it was anything resembling mountain biking. In general for this hike a bike is tons of fun so long as you are aware that at the end you will wind up hiking the bike back up the incline as it is simply impassable given the amount of sand.
The rock formations surrounding the actual dino prints are a playground of red rocks. There are hiking and bikable trails heading off in tons of directions but keep an eye out for trail markings. In the desert it is easy to “see a trail” that is worth following only to get a few minutes out and realize it is not the maintained trail.
The Dino Prints themselves are a remarkable highlight. In part this is because they are so subtle. The fact that someone found these tracks, solidified in the stone and covered in dust in the middle of hundreds of miles of dessert is astounding. These days the trail is popular enough that the individual tracks are typically dusted off and easy to spot if you are paying attention in the area. Still, walk by with your eyes on the horizon and you very well would mistake the tracks for any of the other random holes and divots in the ground.
The surrounding area in Washington Utah is all dessert. Criss-crossing the landscape though are miles and miles of dirt roads that constantly change as things get washed out and vehicles make changes with their spinning wheels. Near the Dino Tracks hike though are a few steep slopes that are popular with off-road vehicles that use the inclines as a challenge to see how steep of a slope they can climb up.
How Hard is Dino Tracks Hike in Washington Utah?
Overall the Dino Tracks hike is an easy walk, in good weather. The trail is simple to follow and other than a bit of an incline should be passable for most hikers. The ground itself, and the approach are what take this hike up from a simple Easy style hike. As a trail there is a bit of experience needed to follow the right path, or to explore off trail. Wildlife and the risk of heat or getting off track are also a reason to classify this hike as moderate difficulty, even though it can be completed as a hike in less than 1.5miles total from the closest parking.