If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles and stopped by Grauman’s Chinese Theater, you know the thrill of placing your hands in the cement imprints left behind by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. A little-known attraction in the middle of nowhere, along a scenic byway in Wyoming provides a similar experience — except, the celebrities are much, much older.
I was finishing up a very long and slow drive along the Red Gulch/Alkali Back Country Byway, fully expecting to complete the final five miles without stopping, when I came upon the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite. The sight of a parking lot, restrooms, and picnic tables was quite a shock to my system, since I had just driven nearly 30 miles across some of the most lonely wilderness I could have imagined.
A boardwalk led to stairs, that took me down to the bottom of a dry wash. At first, the hard limestone floor doesn’t appear to be the least bit remarkable. But, since about a half dozen interpretive signs have convinced you that there must be something here, you look closer, and all of a sudden, you see them.
Look at the picture above, near the bottom, and just slightly to the left of center. See it? That’s a dinosaur track. Once you spot one, take a step or two forward, and you’ll see another. You can actually follow the dino’s path, as it wandered around in this small valley.
The tracks look a little bit like a three-pointed leaf.
And yes, just like at the Chinese Theater, you can see how your hand matches up to a creature that walked the earth an inconceivably long time ago.
After exploring the dinosaur tracksite, it was time to finish up my very long drive along the Red Gulch/Alkali Back Country Byway. The final few miles were quite easy. I’m sure this section of the road is better maintained, because of the increased traffic headed to the see the dinosaur tracks.
These final few miles of the byway were just as beautiful as the rest of it. (If you didn’t check out the rest of my journey from Hyattville to here, I suggest you jump back one page). When I finally hit pavement again, at US 14, I had been on dirt roads for 34.8 miles. It was good to be back on blacktop, and instead of staring at the Big Horn Mountains from afar, I was getting ready to plunge into the middle of them.
Note: This trip was first published in 2008.