Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks!

Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks!

For those who have always wondered what Jurassic Park must have been like, there is a place in Arizona where the prehistoric dinosaur experience is real.  Millions of prehistoric dinosaur footprints and fossils can be seen at the Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks Area in the Navajo Nation.  This vast archaeological area covers many square miles and the setting is a picturesque ancient red clay sandstone landscape that looks like a postcard sent from the late Triassic Period in ancient history.

The Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks Area is located Highway 160 just a few miles east of Highway 89 and historic Tuba City is right next door.  This destination is less than a one hour drive from the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff or Page Arizona. There are very few paved roads out this way, so navigating this region with a map is easy to do.  

The Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks Area is a primitive site and facilities are limited, but Tuba City is nearby.  Be sure to bring plenty of water, because the walking distances at the Dinosaur Tracks area do cover a lot of ground.  The Navajo tour guides are there to lead guests through the ancient dinosaur tracks field. The guides can also lead visitors on hikes to the nearby farming village that is located by the red rock cliffs where natural spring have watered crops for many centuries.  The ancient petroglyph tour is about a two mile round trip guided hike too. 

After the car is parked, visitors are expected to select a local native tour guide, before entering the Dinosaur Footprints Area.  The guides are well educated on the history of this area and they will provide an enjoyable experience in the field.  The guides know the names of every dinosaur that left a footprint in this vast region.  The Navajo guides also know where the fossils, dinosaur eggs and ancient petroglyphs (Newspaper Rock) are located.  The native guides expect to be tipped and some expect payment ahead of time.  About $20 to $30 covers a one or two hour guided tour visit.  All I can say is that it is a gratuity well spent, because the guided tour information will provide a thorough understanding of the dinosaurs that made these footprints in the mud eons ago. 

Dinosaurs of every kind left footprints in the Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks Area in prehistoric times.  Everything from Tyrannosaurus Rex to herds of small plant eating dinosaurs left their footprints in the ancient clay mud.  Many dinosaur fossils have been unearthed in this area and there are several dinosaur eggs exposed on the surface of the clay sandstone.  Fossilized wood and fossilized dinosaur dung is everywhere on the grounds too.  One look at the ground shows that the Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks Area truly must have been a major dinosaur destination back in its day.

There is a bit of controversy concerning the Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks Site, but most of the negative comments come from people that have racist tendencies or those who are too cheap to tip for a great guided tour.  Archaeologists have recognized the Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks Area as an authentic dinosaur footprint and fossil site, so this area truly is not fake, like some folks claim.  Natural History Students from the University Of Arizona often schedule trips to this place, which provides a valuable learning experience in their field of study.  All this goes to show that the Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks Area is a legitimate ancient archaeological site.

A specific item of scientific controversy is the human footprints that are also seen amongst the ancient dinosaur tracks. There are a few areas in this vast field where human footprint shapes can be seen in the ancient hardened mud and the tour guides are quick to point these features out. Those who adhere to alternative human timeline theories will certainly be thrilled to see the footprints, while others may see the footprints as belonging to a dinosaur that had deformed feet. All it takes is one look to have something to ponder over for a lifetime!       

A quick tour of the Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks takes about one hour, but there is so much to see, that a visitor could spend all day exploring this monumental ancient site. For those who want to spend the day exploring the Dinosaur Tracks Site and do some gift shopping while visiting other tourism sites in the area, nearby Tuba City offers all modern amenities, which include a modern Southwestern style resort hotel.  There are several good restaurants in Tuba City that serve great food for a modest price and there are no Federal Taxes charged in the Sovereign Navajo Nation, so the money goes a long way! 

For those who yearn for more to see and do, Highway 160 is the main tourism corridor through the Navajo Nation and this road passes through historic Tuba City, Kayenta and Four Corners. Destinations along this long road include the Hopi Village, Navajo National Monument, Kayenta Code Talkers Museum, Monument Valley, Canyon De Chelly and the Four Corners Monument. The driving distances are long in this region anywhere that a tourist goes, so experiencing all of these destinations can take several days.

The Tuba City Dinosaur Tracks Area is a must to experience, especially if visiting the nearby Grand Canyon National Park is on the agenda.  Navajo Nation Tourism runs proud in this region and there is plenty for visitors to see and do.  The Tuba Dinosaur Tracks Area is a great place to start a Navajo Tourism venture and the picturesque setting does look like an ancient dinosaur vacationland!  


Author: wildwestdestinations

I worked as a chef in remote resorts and National Parks, which provided the time to explore western travel destinations. I have a BA Degree in Culinary Management with high honors and currently I am working on a Masters Degree in Adult Education. My food and travel blog writing began as a means to generate income during college and now photo journalism has become my lifestyle.

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