Imagine yourself walking along an ocean shoreline 165
million years ago with hundreds of your closest dinosaur friends looking to pick up a bite
of lunch from what washed up on the last high tide. But the ground is soft and your feet
sink down into the thick mud, leaving clear tracks of every step you take.
The tracks are easy to find because they
are located on the Bureau of Land Management's Red Gulch/Alkali National Back
Country Byway near shell, Wyo. To visit the tracks, which are on public land, take the
Red Gulch Byway turnoff from U.S. Highway 14, four miles west of Shell or eight miles east
of Greybull. The site is 5.2 miles south of the turnoff.
The byway can usually be driven from May
through October using a high clearance, two-wheel drive vehicle. Remember, even in light
rain the back roads can get muddy. Since possible hazardous driving conditions can exist,
please take all the necessary precautions.
Why is this site important? Scientists are
excited about this site for a couple of reasons. First, the tracks were formed in the
Middle Jurassic Period (160 million to 180 million years old). Until the tracks were
found, most scientists through the whole Big Horn Basin was under the Sundance Sea. They
thought only sea dwelling creatures lived in the area, and there shouldn't be any
footprints here at all!
Not only are there a few tracks, but in
this 40-acre area there could be thousands. This suggests a very large and diverse
population of dinosaurs. 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.
Gulch/Alkali National Back Country Byway traverses 32 miles along the
western edge of the Bighorn Mountains. An information exhibit marks each entrance with
historical information as well as road conditions. Take a step back in time as you
travel this historic route. Explore the many different types of transportation our
ancestors used to travel this scenic route. The road winds through remote country side, so
remember to take all necessary safety precautions. The road is maintained on an annual
basis, however some areas can accumulate several inches of dust.
120 North 10th St., Worland, WY 82401
307-347-3226 ~ E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This site created and maintained by First
Type Graphics, Worland, Wyoming.
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