Near Greybull, Wyoming
Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite does not offer reservations through Recreation.gov. Please take a look at the area details below for more information about visiting this location. Enjoy your visit!
At BLM's Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite, you can imagine walking along an ocean shoreline 167 million years ago with dozens of dinosaurs, who were looking to pick up a bite of lunch from what washed up on the last high tide. The sandy ground is soft and your feet sink down in the thick ooze, leaving a clear footprint with every step you take.
The Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite is the largest tracksite in Wyoming and one of only a few worldwide from the Middle Jurassic Period (160 million to 180 million years old). Until the tracks were reported in 1997, most scientists thought the entire Bighorn Basin and most of Wyoming was covered by an ancient ocean called the Sundance Sea.
Not only are there hundreds of tracks at the site, but the 40-acre area could contain thousands more. The dinosaur tracks were clearly made just at the shoreline, not in deep ocean water, and there must have been large areas of dry land to support not only dinosaurs but other animals and plants.
The limy mud that the dinosaurs were walking in probably felt similar to cement just starting to harden. The tracks were perfectly preserved when the mud hardened and was covered by more layers of ooze, and then by fine sand, filling the tracks and preserving their shape. Over the years, layer upon layer of sediment filled in over the top. Much later, erosion went to work and removed those layers, exposing the tracks that had been made all those millions of years ago.
The tracks were reported in 1997 by Greybull native Erik Kvale while enjoying the scenery with Allen Archer, Rowena Manuel, Cliff Manuel and Fran Paton on BLM-administered lands. Their discovery altered the views about the Sundance Formation and the paleoenvironment of the Middle Jurassic Period in North America.
In 2002, the site was renovated with a new boardwalk, interpretive signs, picnic tables, benches, trails, an upgraded access road and graveled parking for up to 15 cars and three buses.