Island Park Trail

Canyon dotted with conifer trees
The Island Park Trail provides views into the network of canyons in the Ely Creek and Big Draw drainages

NPS

 

Length
8 miles one way between Ruple Ranch and the junction with the Jones Hole Trail at Ely Creek. If you hike from the Jones Hole Fish Hatchery all the way to Ruple Ranch, the length will be 10 miles one way.
Level of Difficulty
Difficult. Trail may be tough to follow in some areas. Route finding may be necessary. Portions are steep and rocky. Other areas pass through grasslands with no shade.
Trailhead locations
You can access the trail from either the Jones Hole Trail at Ely Creek or Ruple Ranch. The trail is easier to follow going from Jones Hole to Ruple. If you start from Ruple Ranch, park near the historic corrals and follow an overgrown road/trail northeast towards the low hills. A rock cairn at the foot of one of the hills marks the trail.
Your Safety
Be prepared for desert hiking: Wear a hat and sunscreen. Take plenty of water. A minimum of one gallon per person per day is recommended in the summer.
Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
This trail receives no maintenance. Route finding, map reading and the ability to use a compass are necessary in some areas. Numerous animals trails cross the trail or run parallel to it in some areas.
Wear sturdy shoes such as hiking boots. Open-toed shoes or sandals are not recommended.
The trail passes through grasslands where there is no shade.
This is mountain lion and bear country. Keep children close. Store food properly.
Rules and Regulations
Pets are not allowed on this trail or other areas in the monument's backcountry.
Carry out all trash.
Collecting artifacts, fossils, plants, antlers or other objects within the monument is prohibited.
Do not feed or approach wildlife.
Backcountry permits are required for overnight camping in the monument's backcountry.
Description
This hike takes you through a diversity of scenery, including the multi-hued panorama of Island Park, grasslands, desert shrub community, and sandstone canyons. The Island Park Trail connects the Jones Hole Trail with the Island Park area. It follows the historic route that rangers used to access the Jones Hole area prior to the construction of Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery and its access road.

Approximately midway along the route, the trail leaves the monument and crosses land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for several miles. The trail receives minimal maintenance and may be faint or hard to follow in places. Route finding skills and the ability to use a map and compass are important if you plan to hike this trail.

A detour down Sage Creek will take you to the dramatic upturned rock layers of the Island Park Fault.

Hikers will need to plan on hiking the trail to return to their start point or arrange vehicle shuttles. This is not a loop trail.

For maps, use the USGS 7.5-minute quadrangles for Island Park, Utah, and Jones Hole, Utah. The National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map of Dinosaur National Monument is available from the monument bookstore.

 
View with conifer trees, grasslands, a river and colorful hills
Hikers get stunning views of colorful formations and Split Mountain as they descend towards Ruple Ranch in Island Park.

NPS

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

4545 Hwy 40
Dinosaur, CO 81610

Phone:

(435) 781-7700
Phones are answered during normal business hours if staff are available. Voicemails are responded to as soon as possible.

Contact Us