Discover Dinosaur Dinosaurs once roamed here. Their fantastic remains are still visible embedded in the rocks. Today, the mountains, desert and untamed rivers flowing in deep canyons, support an array of life. Petroglyphs hint at earlier cultures. Later, homesteaders and outlaws found refuge here. Whether your passion is science, adventure, history or scenery, Dinosaur offers much to explore. The monument is open all year, but certain roads and facilities are closed during the winter months.
This was a great hike, although the location is pretty remote. Dirt road leading to location has several miles of heavy switchbacks at a 10% grade, but it is passable with a passenger car. On a Friday hike, we saw very few people north of Ely, but two large groups south of the falls. Fishermen came later in the day, but overall the trail was not crowded but there was some traffic.
We started at the fish hatchery, and our hike included the side trail to the petroglyphs and two visits to Ely Falls (aka Butt Dam Falls). The majority of the hike is shady, although south of Ely you will hit some wide open spots.
Jones Hole stream is from a spring, and is crystal clear. The stream is very scenic, and the cliffs rising on each side provide some good photo opportunities. We saw a variety of birds, small mammals, and a couple small snakes, but no sheep or bears.
The path to the petroglyphs is well-marked. The side trail goes along the cliff face only a few hundred feet from the main trail. There are several squiggles that a river guide passing by told his group were symbolic of fish nets, but there are some other more interesting glyphs as well. The glyph trail merges back into the main trail just north of the path to Ely Falls.
The sign to Ely Falls trail says it's half a mile, but I would guess that is for the round trip. It is a very short trail that brings you right underneath the falls. There are two tables just south of the trailhead for picnicers, or plenty of room at the top of the falls for a snack. The trail goes beyond the falls as well, but we turned back after a short walk down it so I'm not sure how far it goes.
Excellent, easy backpacking trip that's beautiful in spring. The fishing looks great as well (I didn't get a chance to fish because I forgot my pole). Lots of wildlife and great side trails. I wrote a report here:
The sign at the trailhead had this marked "Moderate to Difficult". The first 2 miles or so were relatively easy and flat, so it seemed like we had been misled. The last stretch though is definitely substantially more difficult. There are some steep climbs & descents - I was glad I bought hiking boots the day before. There are some great views of the surrounding area from the peaks.
just hiked 5-2-2015 great trail and lots of trout in the creek. just look in the water and you'll see 20 to 24 inch trout. the trail is a very easy hike, just remember to bring lots of water. we saw and photographed about 20 big horns from about 15 feet. never have I been closer, not even in a zoo! highly recommend this hike.
I've hiked this trail seven or eight times. I've taken my Scout Troop over it four times. It is best done in the Fall. Spring is good too, though the weather is more unpredictable. My preference is to start at the Island Park end. The trail head is at the old Ruple Ranch. The BLM has maps. Drive 30 miles from Vernal, mostly dirt road. We hike to Ely Creek where we reserve the campsite through Dinosaur National Monument. That's is eight miles. We spend the night there. Then we hike two miles out on the Jones Hole Trail to the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery, where we have someone pick us up. If you go in the Summer, go early because the central portion of the trail is in the open and gets hot. Take plenty of water. The trail is braided in some spots and a bit faint in others. Be proficient in map and compass or better yet take a good GPS.
Jones Hole is one of my favorite places on the planet! The deep canyon affords breathtaking views at every turn. The trail is well established and easy to hike. I like to fly fish Jones Creek and use the trail year-round. My most recent trip was on December 30, 2011. There was about 4" of snow and we hiked all the way to the Green River where we caught monster rainbows in the fast water of the Green. A mile of our trip the trail had been broken by a cougar. The creek is spring fed and never freezes. In the hot summer months a dip in the creek or a "Power Shower" at Ely Creek Falls is a must. (Plug off the creek at the top with somebody's derriere while the showerer approaches for a deluge below! Great fun! Hang on to your shorts!). Ely Creek is a small tributary of Jones Creek which enters the larger stream about two miles from the trail-head. The water fall is about a half mile up Ely Creek. This trail, too, is well groomed and is an addition to the four miles mentioned. Further exploration up Ely Canyon into the Labyrinth is great fun.
There are pictographs and petroglyphs near the trail. Don't miss a tour of the Fish Hatchery. The trail ends at the river making it an eight mile round trip to cover the entire trail. Big Horn Sheep frequent the canyon. If you're lucky you might see a big "curl horn."
Rafters use the campground at the Green River in the Summer. One small camp site is available at the confluence of Jones and Ely Creeks. This can be reserved by contacting Dinosaur National Monument at 435-781-7700. Remember, this campsite is 2.2 miles from the trail-head.