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Poison Spider Dinosaur Trackways

Poison Spider Dinosaur Trackways

 

What To See And Do: 190 million years ago the area around what is now Moab was covered in huge sand dunes. Between dune fields were scattered flat areas of wet sand, shallow ponds, and small streams. Dinosaurs crossed these flats and left their footprints, which were sometimes then covered by the shifting dunes and preserved intact. Millions of years later, after the sands had turned to stone, blocks containing the tracks have fallen out of the cliffs above and split along the bedding planes, exposing the tracks to the sun once again.

Two rock slabs with footprints are visible from the parking lot, one at the base of the cliffs and another halfway down the slope, just above the cliff that drops down to the road. The lower of these slabs contains the tracks of at least 10 different meat-eating dinosaurs, ranging in size from 17 inches to nearly 5 feet at the hips. All the animals appear to have been walking at speeds of around 3 miles/hour.

The parking lot and the lower slopes here are on the Kayenta Formation, but the blocks with the tracks on them have fallen down from the overlying Navajo Sandstone cliffs.

How To Get There: From the center of Moab, travel north on Highway 191 for 5.9 miles and turn left on Highway 279. Continue 6 miles from this junction until you reach the "Dinosaur Tracks" sign, where the route leaves the pavement. The parking lot is at the top of this hill.

Contact Information: For maps, brochures, and other information, please contact the BLM Moab Field Office, 82 East Dogwood, Moab, Utah 84532. Telephone: (435) 259-2100

Would you like to volunteer to help preserve paleontological and cultural resources?

The BLM has started the Canyon Country Site Stewardship Program and volunteers monitor this site and others like it in the Canyon Country District. For more information about this program, please visit the BLM Moab Field Office (Canyon Country District Main Office) or contact Rebecca Hunt-Foster, the BLM Canyon Country District Paleontologist: rhuntfoster@blm.gov. Contact information and more general information about volunteering in Utah can be found on the Volunteer Program in Utah page. You can also visit the BLM Volunteer Program Site, where you can find information and opportunities to get involved with the BLM in Utah and nationwide.

Learn more about the BLM Paleontology Program

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Why are some of the tracks white? Many of the tracks at Poison Spider have suffered from repeated vandalism over the years. Plaster casts have been taken from these tracks, damaging them, and tainting the surrounding rock. Any disturbing, casting, rubber, or pouring anything into the dinosaur tracks is expressly forbidden under federal regulations [43 CFR 8365.1-5(a) (1)]. Help the BLM preserve these tracks for future generations by treating them with respect and reporting looting or vandalism to a Bureau of Land Management ranger or other local authority. Contact the BLM-Utah Moab Field Office at (435) 259-2100.