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Utah Hike of the Week: Box Canyon — Dinosaur National Monument

First Published      Last Updated Jun 08 2017 03:21 pm

Box Canyon is a short, shady and beautiful family hike near the Josie Morris cabin in Dinosaur National Monument. It leads into a lush, green box canyon with towering walls. The main trail is less than a half-mile one way, but you can hike up improvised foot trails into the boulders. Another parent I spoke with described the hike as an "easy win" for families traveling with small children. I found several wildflowers in late May. Throughout the canyon are a number of cottonwood trees and sumac bushes, which made me suspect it would be a nice hike in autumn for a bit of fall color; rangers confirmed that.

Directions • The trailhead is at the Josie Morris cabin, on the Utah side of Dinosaur National Monument. From the monument's west entry, go east 8.1 miles on Cub Creek Road (State Road 149) to Josie Ranch Road, which is to the north. Turn north and travel 1.7 miles east and north to the parking lot at the end of the road.

Hike • From the parking lot, go north behind the bathrooms and into the cottonwood trees. The trail is well-maintained and flat for about a third of a mile. Then footpaths spider up into the canyon walls. I went north up along the west-facing slope of the canyon, turning back after about a half-mile. The views above and below are dramatic and the climbing was fun for my 4-year-old. We saw daisies, cactus and wallflower in bloom.

Destination: Canyon

Hiking time • 1 hour

Round-trip miles • 1 mile

Elevation gain • 300 feet

Difficulty • Easy to moderate

Trailhead restrooms • Yes

Dogs allowed • No

Bikes allowed • n/a

Fees • $20 per car

Digital map available at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1oEDyTIzTAWaCXLDgMYD86vC5NRk&usp=sharing.

— Erin Alberty




Hiking time1 hour

Round-trip miles1 mile

Elevation gain300 feet

DifficultyEasy to moderate

Trailhead restroomsYes

Dogs allowedNo

Bikes allowedn/a

Fees$20 per car