Explore America / Explore The Outdoors

Exploring Fantasy Canyon near Vernal, Utah

Fantasy Canyon near Vernal is unlike anywhere else I’ve visited in Utah. It’s filled with faces, animals and images created over time in the weathered sandstone rising out of the clay beds. The landscape looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. This is a place to let your imagination run wild as you images like a witch, Dumbo, alien head, faces, castles and even a dinosaur backbone erosion created in the delicate micro-canyon. Total trail length is only 0.6 miles. It’s in the middle of nowhere and you have to drive dirt roads with Fantasy Canyon direction signs for the last four miles. It’s about 40 miles south of Vernal or the Quarry Visitor Center of Dinosaur National Monument. It’s 33 miles south of Jensen.

I had downloaded the BLM map so I knew some formations to search for, but there are so many your imagination runs wild in Fantasy Canyon.  It was a bit eerie as I was the only person there and the first image I saw was a witches head.  Within a couple of minutes I was seeing all sorts of images including faces, a sea turtle, bird, dragon and what looks like a baboon and chicken next to each other.  

Then there was a throne that looked like something from Game of Thrones.  My favorite was a rock image that looks like an elephant on its back.  It’s called it Dumbo and right next to the dinosaur backbone formation.

The next rock image made me laugh.  It’s an alien face tucked away in a nook.

I climbed up and over into another mini canyon.  Some of the weather sandstone reminded me of coral you would in the ocean.

I was able to climb up to a high spot to take in the big picture of Fantasy Canyon.  It’s an out-of-this-world landscape that looks straight out of a sci-fi movie.  I started hearing voices and realized it was time to allow other characters to wander through the wondrous world of weathered sandstone.

2 thoughts on “Exploring Fantasy Canyon near Vernal, Utah

    • Awesome! Check out my blog on Moonshine Arch too. Also did a blog on Sound of Silence trail in Dinosaur – it’s my favorite. The auto tour in Dinosaur is wonderful. Make sure to get the tour guide ($1-2). Stay at Jensen Inn – it’s wonderful and close to national monument. They’ll probably still be doing reservations to see the Wall of Bones so make those ahead of time. The CO side is cool too. It’s the canyon country part of national monument. Takes about 45 minutes to drive to Harpers Corner Trail (easy 3-mile round trip hike) – views are worth it! It takes about 30 minutes to drive between the two visitor centers. Reach out if you need more suggestions!