Fossils in a rock along Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon provide evidence prehistoric life once roamed here

Every day, hundreds of people hike one of the most popular trails in Grand Canyon National Park and don’t even see the signs of prehistoric life left behind on a trailside rock.

Hank Stites captured the shot below on his 2018 hike out of the canyon on Bright Angel Trail. He shared a couple pics and brief write-up in the Grand Canyon Hikers Facebook group.

Dinosaur fossils in rock along Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon provide evidence that dinosaurs roamed these trails long before us. Photo by Hank Stites

These 260 million year old tracks from an early dinosaur were found along Bright Angel Trail several months ago by complete happen-stance. They are the oldest tracks ever discovered in the Grand Canyon. Hank Stites

You can find the rock about a mile up from Three Mile Rest House on the cliff side of the trail just as you round a bend. There is a beautiful cedar nearby.

Here is another view that may help you find it next time you’re on Bright Angel Trail:

Rock with fossilized dinosaur tracks alongside Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon
Wider view of rock with fossilized dinosaur tracks alongside Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon

Video: A closer look at the dinosaur fossil tracks on Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon

About Bright Angel Trail

Excerpted from the National Parks website (
Bright Angel Trail is considered the premier hiking trail Grand Canyon National Park, located in northern Arizona. Well maintained, graded for stock, with regular drinking water and covered rest-houses, it is without question the safest trail in Grand Canyon National Park. There is a ranger station located at the trail’s halfway point (Indian Garden) and one at the bottom of the canyon (Bright Angel Campground).

Following a natural break in the cliffs formed by the massive Bright Angel Fault, today’s Bright Angel Trail approximates a route used for millennia by the many Native American groups that have called the Grand Canyon home. Early western pioneers at the canyon first built a trail in 1891 to reach mining claims established below the rim at Indian Garden. Recognizing that the true worth of the claims would be measured in visitation by tourists, these pioneers immediately registered their trail as a toll road and extended the trail to the river. The trail was turned over to the National Park Service in 1928.

Though it has been rerouted and improved considerably over the years, present
day visitors on the Bright Angel Trail can sense its rich history from ancient pictograph panels and historic structures, and by marveling at the trail’s construction over some of the roughest terrain in North America.

Want to see this rock with fossilized dinosaur tracks for yourself? Use the map below to get to the Bright Angel trailhead, then hike down about 2 miles and keep an eye on the left side of the trail

1 Comment

  1. These aren’t dinosaur tracks. And they’re much older than what you’re stating. And they definitely aren’t the oldest prehistoric tracks in the canyon. Everything about this article is so very wrong.

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