SERIES – PHOTOS OF A FAMILY ROAD TRIP ADVENTURE
Outdoor adventures and national parks bringing you to Moab, Utah? Many visitors arrive in Moab with the intent to explore at least two of the Mighty 5 National Parks that make Utah an outdoor lover’s playground. Like many, these stunning national parks were what brought us to Moab. But it wasn’t all we experienced!
Take a day to explore other, less crowded corners of central Utah’s bounty of outdoor adventures. You won’t regret it! Go off the beaten path for a morning walk alongside giant dinosaur footprints. Spend an afternoon exploring Dead Horse Point State Park. Come see for yourself two other adventures well worth straying from Utah’s Mighty 5!
Sauropod Dinosaur Tracks of Copper Ridge
Time to take this Moab adventures in a different direction! Bypass that long line of cars queuing up for entrance into Arches National Park, continuing north another 20+ miles for a unique, off the beaten path Utah experience. This morning step into the path of a long extinct sauropod thought to be a giant Camarasaurus. Walk the same trail as a pack of ancient theropods, quite possibly Allosauruses!
Follow the ancient footprints of a giant sauropod as he lumbered through these lands. Stand next to tracks left behind by a theropod. Notice the distance between the fossilized footprints, and the irregular spacing. What caused this theropod to have this irregular gait? Was he injured? No one really knows why!
Imagine these giant creatures as they crossed through here in the late Jurassic period. No matter the age, standing next to actual dinosaur footprints are sure to leave a lasting impression. So will sitting inside one! Imagine the size of the sauropod that left behind this imprint. Just remember to take extreme caution to not disturb them! We want to preserve the Sauropod Tracks of Copper Ridge for generations to come.
Three different types of dinosaur tracks have been identified at Copper Ridge. Each are easily accessible via a short hike from the parking lot. Take note of the rules and regulations before heading up! Though standing up close, even within these ancient footprints is allowed, castings of tracks are not! Bring only yourselves, and take away only photographs.
Hike & Bike at Dead Horse Point State Park
Dino tracks explored and still plenty of time left in the day for another outdoor adventure! Now is the perfect time to head on over to nearby Dead Horse Point State Park. Often overlooked by visitors, Dead Horse Point State Park is rarely crowded. Perhaps the locals prefer it that way! And the views are still quite dramatic.
It quickly becomes apparent why locals appreciate Dead Horse Point, perhaps not minding a bit that this park is often overlooked in lieu of its more famous neighbors. With uncrowded vistas and long stretches of near empty biking paths and hiking trails weaving in and out of high desert landscapes, Dead Horse Point is well worth the 30 minute trek from Moab. It’s also a great way to escape the hordes of visitors crowding the nearby national parks.
Set 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, Dead Horse Point hugs the edges of vertical cliffs, offering up dramatic vistas of the river and canyonlands beneath. Enjoy moments of solitude and high desert scenery as the trail weaves through juniper and pinyon trees, across barren stretches of sliprock and right along cliffs’ edges.
Scrub brush and scraggly trees, some hundreds of years old, cling to the edge of existence in the extreme dry environment of this high desert landscape. They also provide stunning photographic backdrops of stark contrasts between their gray-green growth and the reddish brown sandstone cliffs just beyond.
Take respite from the afternoon heat in the shadows of rocks, their shapes carved out by ancient oceans, ice, and the winds of time. It can get quite hot here in the high desert on a summer afternoon, and shade can be hard to come by.
With over 16 miles of non-motorized trails perfect for either foot or bike exploration, Dead Horse Point State Park provides for yet another perspective of this glorious landscape that encompasses central Utah. And a far less crowded one! Pack plenty of water as services are limited once past the Visitor’s Center.
Have You Been To Moab & Central Utah?
With so much to experience in central Utah, it can be a challenge narrowing down your adventures. If you have a day to spare, take advantage of all this region has to offer beyond the Mighty 5, and experience other, less crowded outdoor adventures. In addition to Dead Horse Point State Park and Copper Ridge, we spent a day rafting along the Colorado and ziplining across the sliprock high above Moab.
How about you? Have you been to Moab, Utah? Did you spend all your time exploring the Mighty 5 National Parks? Or did you venture off the beaten path as we did? Do share!
Check out our other Moab Utah adventures here:
- A Fab Family Zip Line Adventure High Above Moab Utah
- 5 Favorite Moments – A Photo Journey Through Arches National Park
- Hiking Into the Devil’s Garden – Arches National Park
All images by C.Biederman.