Deep in the Heart of Dinosaur Land: Red Fleet State Park

A family hikes the dinosaur footprint trail at Red Fleet State Park, Utah.
A family hikes the dinosaur footprint trail at Red Fleet State Park, Utah. Louis Arevalo
Made Possible by
Curated by

Named after three soaring buttresses that resemble sea-going vessels on its north side, Red Fleet State Park was established in 1988. This reservoir is surrounded by beautiful sandstone cliffs and has often been called “Little Lake Powell.” Both cozy and scenic, it’s located just a few miles north of Vernal, UT. It’s a perfect base for exploring the surrounding area and offers stellar camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, and biking, truly making it a destination in itself.

What Makes It Great

Sandstone cliffs surround the reservoir at Red Fleet State Park, Utah.
Sandstone cliffs surround the reservoir at Red Fleet State Park, Utah. Louis Arevalo

The campground is located on the western shores and gives a panoramic view of the reservoir. The 31 sites can accommodate both RVs and tents. They even have two sites that come with in-situ, large teepees. Each campsite contains a fire ring, barbeque grill, and covered picnic table. There is potable water available close to each campsite and the clean and convenient restrooms have flush toilets. The boat launch is paved and they offer courtesy docks and a swimming platform near a sandy beach.

Located in the heart of Dinosaur Land, Red Fleet is home to numerous dinosaur tracks of its own. Almost 200 million years old, these tracks were discovered near its eastern shores. The Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackway Trailhead is located on the north side of the park. Heading north on US Highway-191 from the park’s main entrance travel about one mile before making a right hand turn at the Dinosaur Trackway sign. Follow this road for 2.5 miles to the trailhead. The trail is a 1.5 mile course through a forest of junipers that travels over uneven surfaces of dirt and stone. It is passable for those with any small amount of fitness and ability, and is great for families with children of all ages.  Once you reach the water’s edge, search through the slabs of red rock for up to forty footprints ranging from three to seventeen inches in length. Paleontologists have surmised that three-toed, tridactyl, dinosaurs that were bipedal, walking on two legs, left these prints. This area also makes a perfect place for swimming and a picnic. A short paddle across the reservoir from the western shore of the campground makes a fun alternate approach.

If you brought your mountain bike the north side of Red Fleet holds a handful of short and fun singletrack trails that range from intermediate to expert level riding. Check out the Jass-Chrome Molly and Three Amigos for a couple of moderate six-mile rides through the sage and junipers. For a brutal sandstone climb of 800 feet in 2.5 miles check out the Handsome Cabin Boy trail. If you are more in for the descents, check out the one-mile expert downhill course of Jumps and Ladders, A.K.A Dinotrax. This fun course holds a series of man-made obstacles along a fast and technical desert trail.

What You’ll Remember

Teepee at Red Fleet State Park, Utah.
Teepee at Red Fleet State Park, Utah. Louis Arevalo

Perched on the southern slopes of the Uinta Mountains, set within sculpted sandstone waves, the green and calm water of Red Fleet State Park and its surroundings offer a destination all on their own.

Who’s Going to Love It

From camping families and hikers to mountain bikers and boaters, there is something for everyone here, so everyone will be happy.

GPS Coordinates, Parking, and Regulations

Red Fleet State Park at sunrise, Utah.
Red Fleet State Park at sunrise, Utah. Louis Arevalo

GPS Coordinates:
( 40.586,  -109.445 )

Located along US Hwy 191, about 13 miles north of the town of Vernal at 8750 N. Highway 191, Vernal, UT
Open 6am to 10pm in the summer and 8am-5pm during the winter. There is a $7/day charge for adults to use the park and a $4 fee for Utah seniors. Camping rates vary depending on the type of set-up you are looking for, such as RV, tent, or teepee. The park does have firewood and ice for sale at the entrance booth.

Last Updated:

Next Up


Lava Walk and Climbing Talk in Snow Canyon State Park