Join us outside the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River, Utah.
Situated in and around the rural environment of Green River, this weekend-long collection of vendors, experts, and guides is inspired by the natural history, geology, and cultures of the Colorado Plateau! Share your photos online to our instagram @greenriverrocks and use #greenriverrocks.
The festival begins Friday, April 1st with a lecture by Dr. Julia McHugh in the museum. On Saturday we host an amazing pop-up market of mineral and craft vendors. Field trips run both Saturday and Sunday. Scroll down for sign-up information! The festival is free and all-ages. See the event schedule below.
Keynote Lecture – Dr. Julia McHugh
Friday, 6PM | April 1st
John Wesley Powell River History Museum
The Swell Presents: Bite Marks, Cannibalism, & Decay: Reconstructing the death ecology of the Jurassic
Dr. McHugh is a vertebrate paleontologist with expertise in Jurassic dinosaurs, taphonomy, and the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction who has served as the Curator of Paleontology for the Museums of Western Colorado and Lecturer of Geology at Colorado Mesa University since 2014. She is also a research associate of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, has a B.A. in Geology from Hanover College, a M.S. in Geosciences from Idaho State University, and a Ph.D. in Geoscience from The University of Iowa.
Saturday, 4pm | April 2nd
John Wesley Powell River History Museum
A Review of the Geology of Southeastern Utah
Allyson Mathis, author of the monthly Geology Happenings column in Moab Happenings, is a geologist, informal geoscience educator, and science writer living in Moab. Research Associate, Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative.
Saturday, 6PM | April 2nd
John Wesley Powell River History Museum
Rock Art Conservation
Steve is the past President of the Utah Rock Art Research Association (URARA) and its current regional representative to the BLM Salt Lake Field Office. Steve has led field trips as a member of URARA for the past decade. Raised in Green River, Steve has enjoyed the canyons and rock art images the native cultures left behind for us to ponder. URARA is the largest organization actively engaged in the conservation and preservation of petroglyphs and pictographs (rock art) in the state of Utah. Their mission is to lead in the preservation and understanding of the importance of rock art and to encourage the appreciation and enjoyment of rock art sites. Join Steve Acerson in a lecture and discussion centered around the contemporary and local issues surrounding the conservation of our abundance of cultural resources in Utah
All field trip attendees are required to sign-up at HQ (festival info booth) and sign a waiver. No more than 27 people (including the field trip leader) will caravan to field trip sites from the museum. Carpooling is encouraged. Masking while inside of cars with strangers or new friends is encouraged.
How to sign up for a field trip:
- Attendees can sign up for trips during the Friday evening lecture and on Saturday and Sunday at the Festival Booth outside the John Wesley Powell Museum. The booth will open at 9am on Saturday & Sunday.
- Field trip sign-ups are first come, first serve and must be done in-person during the festival. There’s no way to sign up in advance.
- Field trip leaders will meet their group in the museum parking lot. Prepare to caravan to field trip sites in your own vehicle. Pack plenty of water and a sack lunch, and fill your gas tank ahead of time.
- Send all field trip questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff at the John Wesley Powell River History Museum will not be able to answer any questions.
- PREPARATION FOR ALL FIELD TRIPS: Wear comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots; bring plenty of water and snacks; pack a full lunch for longer trips; and remember sun protection.
CHECKLIST FOR FIELD TRIPS:
О Full tank of gas
О Comfortable walking/hiking shoes
О Sun protection
О Plenty of water (seriously!)
О Snacks or a full lunch for full day trips
Jurassic National Monument – Casey Dooms
Casey Dooms is a Park Ranger at Jurassic National Monument, working for the Bureau of Land Management.
The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry at Jurassic National Monument is located at 5800 feet. The site is one of the world`s most impressive collections of dinosaur bones and fossils from the Jurassic Morrison Formation. Over 12,000 bones from at least 70 different prehistoric critters have been excavated here. These bones have been reassembled and displayed in museums throughout the world. More to the point is the fact that the deposit is the densest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur bones ever found.
Rock Art in the Swell – Geoff Smith
Smith is the past president and current active member of Castle Valley Archaeological Society. He also is a 5th generation Emery County resident and currently serves as an advanced EMT for Emery County.
Join Geoffrey Smith on a trip to Dutchman’s Arch, the Head of Sinbad petroglyphs, and Lone Warrior petroglyph. A high clearance vehicle is required.
The Head of Sinbad Pictographs (aka Locomotive Point Pictographs) is the site of some of the most striking and best preserved ancient pictographs in the entire American Southwest! The site is located about 40 miles west of Green River, Utah in the heart of the San Rafael Swell commonly referred to as the Head of Sinbad on the southern edge of a geological feature known as Locomotive Point (hence you may encounter both Head of Sinbad Pictographs and Locomotive Point Pictographs in reference to this panel).
Cretaceous Ash Disaster – John Foster
John Foster is the curator of collections at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum in Vernal. He mainly works in the Morrison Formation but has been known to stray into the Cretaceous now and then.
Join John Foster for a plant fossil collecting trip in the ash beds of the Cretaceous-age Naturita (Dakota) Formation. The white ash layers of this formation preserve abundant plant fossils including the ferns Matonidium and Gleichenia. Participants can keep up to 25 lbs of collected specimens for personal use. The ash is very dusty, so come prepared to get dirty! Each person must keep their diggings to a small surface pit less than one square meter. Collection laws will be observed.
For this field trip, participants will be digging in a coal layer and should plan to get very dirty. Participants should bring a dust mask, safety glasses, a rock hammer (or standard hammer), a small shovel and a box to safely transport fragile fossils home in.
Mill Canyon Dino Tracksite – Jim Kirkland
Dr. Jim Kirkland has been the Utah State Paleontologist with the Utah Geological Survey over the past 20 years. He issues permits for paleontological research on Utah state lands, keeps tabs on paleontological research and issues across the state, and promotes Utah’s paleontological resources for the public good. An expert on the Mesozoic, he has spent more than forty-five years excavating fossils across the southwestern US and Mexico.
Saturday: 12:30pm / Sunday: 10am
The Mill Canyon dinosaur track site is located 30-40 miles south of Green River. The recently excavated site features tracks from 8 different species of dinosaurs (as well as a crocodile) all in one spot. Any vehicle can make the trip. Round trip travel from Green River 66 miles and the trip lasts 2-3 hours.
** Join Jim Kirkland on a mini-tour of the Dinosaur exhibition in the basement of the John Wesley Powell Museum on Saturday at 11am before heading out for Mill Canyon.
Fossil Point Dino Bones – Greg Mcdonald
Greg McDonald is a recently retired regional paleontologist for the Bureau of Land Management. Based out of the Utah State Office of the BLM, he worked with the field offices in Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. Prior to transferring to the BLM he worked for the National Park Service as the Senior Curator of Natural History in the Washington Museum Management Program, as Paleontology Program Coordinator in the Geologic Resources Division and as the paleontologist at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument.
Fossil Point is an extraordinary site where boulders yield large dinosaur bones that date as far back as the Jurassic Era, 145 million years ago. A short drive from Green River, this site is home to large dinosaur vertebrae, leg bones, and fantastic views of the La Sals and Henry Mountains.
Buckhorn Wash: Rock Art – Steve Acerson
Join Steve Acerson on a guided trip to cultural sites where early inhabitants created fascinating imagery to document significant events and everyday life during their existence. Participants will caravan through Buckhorn Wash all the way to Cedar Mountain to view and discuss the rock art panels of the San Rafael Swell.
Holiday River Expeditions Presents:
Sego Canyon – Steve Acerson / Geoff Smith
Saturday: 11:30am / Sunday: 9:30am
Sego is a ghost town in Grand County, located 30 miles from Green River. It lies in the narrow, winding Sego Canyon, in the Book Cliffs some 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Thompson Springs. Formerly an important eastern Utah coal mining town, Sego was inhabited about 1910–1955. The town is accessed via the grade of the Ballard & Thompson Railroad, a spur from the Denver and Rio Grande Western built by the founders of the town to transport the coal. The canyon contains rock art from three different indigenous cultures and structures from the old mining town that is now long gone.
Canyoneering: The Goblins Lair – Christopher Hagedorn
Sunday: 8am (Depart from Museum)
Capacity: 8 (Ages 7+ only)
*THIS FIELD TRIP IS LIMITED TO 8 PEOPLE, PLEASE DEPART FROM MUSEUM AND MEET AT GOBLIN VALLEY VISITOR CENTER AT 9AM, ENTRY TO PARK IS $4 PER PERSON.
Join Get In The Wild’s Christopher Hagedorn for a family friendly canyoneering adventure in Goblin Valley. Hidden amongst the spectacular hoodoos and mesas of Goblin Valley State park lies a truly fantastic hidden gem. Following a short and fun scramble through the Valley of the Goblins, participants will enter a beautiful slot canyon that disappears into a dark and mysterious chasm in the Earth, passing through several geological layers. Canyoneering gear will be provided, and adventurers will have the opportunity to rappel into the Goblin’s Lair- a spectacular and awe-inspiring chamber that resembles a gothic cathedral. Entry to the park is $4 per person.
Green River is surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery in Utah. Here are some of our favorite places for you and your travel mates to explore near Green River – all within an hour’s drive! Remember to gas up and bring plenty of provisions with you when traveling into wilderness areas.
Lower Gray Canyon
Past sandy beaches, river rapids, and petroglyphs, this journey takes you into the 1,000 foot deep Lower Gray Canyon along the Green River.
The San Rafael Reef is cut through with deep, sinuous canyons adorned with ancient rock art panels. Within the Reef lies the deep Black Dragon Canyon, named for the flying dragon pictograph located on its wall.
A rare cold water geyser, the Crystal Geyser gets its power from carbon dioxide. The geyser erupts sporadically (every 12-16 hours) and can last for over an hour. Activity from the geyser has laid down mounds of brightly colored travertine along the shores of the river and makes for a truly otherworldly site.
Vendors and artists from near and far will be selling mineral specimens, jewelry, polished stones, and much more at the Pop-up Market on Saturday from 9am-4pm. There will also be educational booths and food vendors.
Email us for more information and/or a vendor application.