We managed to pack quite a bit in during our stay in Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. In addition to viewing petroglyphs, an historical homestead, and amazing dinosaur bones (all to be covered in upcoming posts) AND plenty of bicycling, the hiking was first-rate as well.
The River Trail trailhead was conveniently located in the "A" loop of the Green River Campground, just steps from our lovely campsite. It's only about three miles round trip and easy to moderate in terrain. There are a couple of climbs and descents, but nothing too tough. It runs alongside the Green River with stunning views in all directions. I hiked it one sunny morning on my own, and here is what I saw.
Looking back at the campground from higher ground on the trail....
The trail terminates at the Split Mountain Group Campground far in the back where everything was weedy and overgrown and the water was shut off. Kinda creepy, really. Looked like this part of the campground hadn't been used in years. I didn't take any photos but should have just for the creep value!
The trail was so nice that Barry, Paisley, and I hiked it one night after dinner. Paisley did great -- she's a wonderful little trail dog, and it's nice that Dinosaur National Monument allows leashed dogs on this trail, as that is pretty rare in NPS facilities. We didn't see another soul on our out and back.
The light was so different than my morning hike that I really regretted not bringing my camera along. For only about two magical minutes, the setting sun lit up the mountains across the river in an otherworldly red glow that I would have loved a photo of!
Sometimes best-laid plans are not enough.
On our last day in the park, Barry and I had planned an epic hike from the River Trail over to the Split Mountain Campground, where the park map shows the trailhead for the Desert Voices Trail, which then links up with the Sound of Silence Trail. A worker in the visitor's center told me the entire loop (River Trail, Desert Voices Trail, and Sound of Silence Trails) would be over 8 miles, so we were really looking forward to it.
Our plans were thwarted when we saw the park rangers putting up a CLOSED sign on the River Trail trailhead that morning. What? We weren't even dressed to go ask questions at that point, but we later found out from the camp host that there was some maintenance work beginning on the power poles along the trail and it was closed for that. Bad timing! It was to be closed for several days, so even extending our stay wouldn't have made a difference. Sure wish they'd put a sign up a few days ahead so we could have planned our days accordingly and done that hike earlier in our stay!
Barry, not one to let an obstacle slow him down, decided to bypass the closed River Trail and hike to the other two trails by walking up (and I do mean UP) the campground road and down into the Split Rock Campground to pick up the Desert Voices Trail and eventually the Sound of Silence Trail. Then he'd have to walk back on the road after hiking the two trails that were open. This was a walk of approximately three miles each way, plus the additional 5.5 miles or so for the two trails. Whew!
I decided to pass on the hike and let him go by himself, since it was a hot, sunny day and going to be a long one, about 11.5 miles total. Although he didn't take a camera, he said he had a great time and that the trails were really scenic. He only saw one other hiker the entire way!
I had taken this photo of the Sound of Silence trailhead from the road on a previous bike ride.
I was disappointed not to get to do the hike we'd planned, but that just gives us reason to return to this lovely spot in the future, right?!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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