Desert Voices & Sound of Silence Trails
Dinosaur National Monument
Date Hiked: May 28, 2011
Distance: 4.5 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 500ft
Managing Agency: National Park Service
Directions: From the Canyon Visitor Center off of Hwy 40 head west on Hwy 40 through the town of Dinosaur and cross into Utah. Once you reach Jensen, turn right onto 149 and take this north into the park. Pass the Quarry Visitor Center and the Sound of Silence Trailhead. Make a left towards the Split Mountain Campground and Boat Launch. The Desert Voices Trailhead is just across the road from the Boat Launch.
The Desert Voices Loop and the Sound of Silence Loop can be combined to form a wonderful 4.5 mile loop that really gives you an intimate park experience. Start on the Desert Voices Trail and follow a wash up the canyon. As you climb into the canyon you'll get wonderful views back to Split Mountain. The trail will gain some elevation as it works its way up the canyon wall, when you reach the turn around point for the Desert Voices Trail, continue straight to the Sound of Silence Trail. At the junction point, the views are amazing. It is difficult to describe the colors and the natural design of the canyon and the surrounding landscape, the photos below are far better than my limited vocabulary... The contrast between the Sandstone cliffs, the red dirt, and the green vegetation, is simply stunning.
The Sound of Silence Trail climbs over the crest of the Canyon and drops down into another canyon. While the colors here are not as pronounced as the previous canyon, it is still amazingly beautiful. The real fun begins when you reach the point in the loop where you start heading back to the east. Again, you climb over a crest and head down the other side of the canyon wall, but here, you get to scramble across massive slickrock slabs. Follow the small cairns and trail markers to find your way. This section is a lot of fun to hike through. Once you reach sandy ground, you'll head east and pick up the Desert Voices Trail again. The return on this trail has various interpretive signs teaching you more about the landscape and the park's resources. Follow the Desert Voices Trail back to the boat launch.
I can't rave about this trail enough, it really shows off the diverse landscape that Dinosaur has to offer and is easy enough for kids to enjoy while still providing a fun and interesting hiking experience for adults.