June 11, 2012

Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracks and Petroglyphs, Moab, UT

This is a post I had written up back in November, but forgot to post and has been sitting in my archives. Better late than never...
The view north from Copper Ridge

Just north of Moab on your way to Green River, there is an unsigned dirt road that heads 2 miles out to the base of Copper Ridge. At the parking area, there is a short trail up the slope to the Jurassic Age dinosaur tracks. There is a platform of wavy mudstone, only about 30 feet long where the tracks are located. There are two specific tracks.

One set of tracks include a sauropod, thought to be either a Diplodocus or Apatosaurus. What is amazing about this particular set of tracks, is that it is the only set of tracks known where a dinosaur made a 90 degree turn.

Above, you can see where the in the image,
the sauropod was walking (what appears to be downhill) and then turns right.

Unfortunately, the image of the Allosaurus tracks at this site will not load properly into this blog. But, here it is sideways. 

But, at another site, down the Potash Road just outside of Moab, there is a set of Allosaurus tracks located at the trailhead for the Poison Spider Trail.

Also down the Potash Road are numerous petroglyphs on the cliffs right along the Colorado River. Many of them appeared to be "alien-like" creatures, as well as, the normal assortment of bighorn sheep, deer, and snakes.

But, one petroglyph that really stood out was a very clear image of a bear. It's unlikely bear were living down in the Colorado River Gorge at the time, but the nearby La Sal Mountains would most definitely have been a habitat for them. In addition, often the images on petroglyphs are thought to represent clans and spiritual beings rather than the animals themselves.

Below are some additional petroglyphs. Just be careful because there are so many that you don't want to be looking up and swerve into on-coming traffic. It's much better just to pull over a bunch of times.

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