Must-See in Wyoming: Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite | Reader's Digest

Must-See in Wyoming: Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite

from Off the Beaten Path | 318
Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, Wyoming© 2009 Wyoming Travel & TourismThe mustangs' ancestors came over with European explorers.

Big Horn County, near Lovell and near Greybull, respectively, Wisconsin

Just up the road from Yellowstone National Park, Big Horn County has hundreds of miles of trails tranversing habitats ranging from deserts to subalpine meadows. At the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range visitors might spy as many as 180 wild mustangs on a 31,000-acre sweep of land. First prized by Native Americans, the distinctive horses are direct descendants of breeds cultivated in ancient Spain, Portugal, and Africa. Nearby at Red Gulch, covering 40 acres of publicly guarded ground, visitors can trace the footsteps of dinosaurs dating back some 160 million years to the Middle Jurassic period. Until 1997, when the prehistoric footprints were uncovered, most scientists viewed Big Horn County as the former home of a huge ocean, inhabited exclusively by sea creatures. Yet, as the tracks of gigantic mammals attest, the area was once covered by soft mud. Over the eons the mud hardened, leaving whole footprints preserved beneath. Today visitors can easily spot over 100 footprints and other fossil traces and are permitted to take home petrified wood and plant fossils they find but must leave any animal vertebrae for the local experts to study.

Open year-round.

www.pryormustangs.org
(307) 548-7552 Pryor Mountain

www.blm.gov./wy
(307) 347-5100 Red Gulch