Explore the most popular wildlife trails near Vernal with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The trail actually goes further than this map shows. Go to the end for an amazing view! Total length = 9 miles, with mile 4-5 being somewhat steep and in trees!

One of my favorite trails to hike! Adequate shade, can be hiked at any time of day. Well marked trail, tons of wildlife and the trail is pretty remote so there’s never a ton of traffic. The trail leads to Ely Falls, a great place to cool off before starting back. I highly recommend this trail for all ages!

hiking
1 month ago

Fun, some nice views. Very much high desert. I did the whole hike in about 4 hours, ground hogs and giant Turkey Vultures.

Pretty good trail, fun for your family, nice beach at the end!

hiking
3 months ago

The trail is relatively easy but long, almost 9 miles round trip. If you are not a nature lover, the hike itself is not very exciting. However, the view at the end is literally breathtaking and worth the trip.

Bring sturdy, comfortable shoes since the trail is surprisingly rocky. A hat and plenty of water is a must since there is no shade for virtually most of the trail. Trail path is easy to follow for the most part but you lose it right at the end. Also lots of cow pies on the path, so watch your step.

hiking
3 months ago

Our family loved this hike! We walked to the waterfall then to the river and back for a total of nearly 9 miles with a 9 and 12 year old who hike occasionally. Not a difficult trail and saw lots of wildlife! A herd of Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep, some deer, lizards, etc.
The views were amazing!
The petroglyphs were very near the main trail and easy to find.
The trail is nicely shaded most of the time.
Easiest way to get there is 500 North in Vernal - just follow the road east. Simple!

Loved this hike. Not much of an elevation gain so its easy to keep on moving. View at the end is stunning, sat there for 2 hrs.

hiking
9 months ago

This trail is not 7.8 miles as listed here nor 8 miles as listed on the description in the park. I clocked it at 8.7 roundtrip. The trail itself is uneventful until the very end, the view is AMAZING. There is zero shade until the last 2/3 of the trail as you descend slightly into juniper forest. Solitude is guaranteed. Easily the best trail in Dinosaur.

hiking
10 months ago

Easy out and back day hike from the fish hatchery to the waterfall. Water is plentiful for filtering, but very cold for swimming. There really aren't swimming holes along the trail, but easy to dunk your body in the heat of the summer. We have seen bighorn sheep along the trail. Ride to the trail up Diamond Mountain is fantastic. Facilities at the trailhead including picnic tables and some sparse shade. Great place for a fly rod if you can make short casts.

Hiked this in early October 2017. I met one other couple during the entire hike! The hour drive from Vernal to the fish Hatchery trail head is a beautiful trip in itself.

There is one older composting toilet about 1.5 miles into the trail along with a couple of picnic tables. Otherwise I did not see any other facilities along the way. Use the public restroom to the northwest of the visitor parking lot before heading out.

Trail is consistently dirt until the sandy beach at the edge of the Green river. Well marked in all of the right places with mostly flat terrain. Came across some mule deer and several different birds, but did not see big horn sheep.

Beautiful hike. Lots of shaded areas. Be sure to bring a camera. Some of the large rocks on the hike even have fossils visible on the top.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Loved the hike so beautiful...

hiking
Monday, June 05, 2017

Somewhat uneventful hike until you near the point. More like a 4.5/5 for this reason. Solitude and views from the point make it well worth it though. I plan to return to the area some day and I will be doing this hike a second time.

hiking
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

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.

hiking
Thursday, July 07, 2016

for those fishing it is a stream no large fish but lots of little and fun. The trail is easy with lots to see. my kids love to hike it. lots of mosquitoes and few harmless snakes.

backpacking
Wednesday, May 04, 2016

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:

https://backpackingnerd.com/2016/05/02/jones-hole/

Monday, May 04, 2015

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.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jones hole is not good for fly fishing. The fish are way to small... if you like catching Twinkies go fish there.

hiking
Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This is a beautiful, desert trail that has a rewarding & spectacular view of split mountain and the green river at the end: Definitely worth the hike - just make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

camping
Saturday, January 14, 2012

I did this one on horseback. Wonderful scenery. One location enabled us to see into Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and of course Utah, from the same point. We rode from Hwy 191 at McKee Draw to the Summit of Leidy Peak. We spent six days covering the distance.

scenic driving
Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lots to see and do. I've seen Moose, Elk, Deer, Bear and Bobcats on the Loop. Plenty of fishing. Watch for logging trucks. Great places to hike, picnic, fish and hunt.

scenic driving
Saturday, January 14, 2012

This one is great. Lots of water fowl. I love to go here during the Mute Deer rut to see big bucks. A number of Elk inhabit the preserve. Also, porcupines are abundant and fun to see. Be sure to take the Shepherd's Bottom Loop and climb the tower that offers a terrific view of the Green River bottoms. All is driveable, though I have hiked the five mile Shepherd's Bottom loop twice.

hiking
Saturday, January 14, 2012

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.

camping
Friday, January 13, 2012

Did this one horseback. We rode from Hwy 191 at McKee Draw to East Park the along the Highline Trail to the Summit of Leidy Peak. We made a week of it and had a fantastic time. The trail goes on across the Uintas to Mirror Lake. I'd like to the rest one day!

Friday, January 13, 2012

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.

hiking
Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jones Creek is entirely spring fed. It runs from the spring (Jones Hole Fish Hatchery) four miles to the Green River. The water temperature is constant all year making it an excellent fishery. Access by road from Vernal or by rafting the Green River.

hiking
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