Located at an elevation of 8150 feet above sea level, the Cliff Ridge Hang Gliding Area is located on the top of the Blue Mountain Plateau in Utah. The site overlooks the canyons of the Green River and Yampa River and provides a launching site for hang gliders to soar above the deep canyons below. The area has been used for both national and international hang gliding competitions.
The site at Cliff Ridge Hang Gliding Area is a Bureau of Land Management site associated with the Point of Pines Recreation Site and the Dinosaur National Monument. The monument and BLM lands provide recreational opportunities not just for hang gliders but for hiking, horseback riding, backcountry camping, hunting, wildlife watching, spectacular scenery, and fossil discovery.
The terrain in the area features high plateaus and deep canyons with rivers and vegetation typical of the semi-arid climate with low scrub brush. Temperatures reaching 100 F in summer and sub-freezing temperatures with snow and cold weather in the winter. The high elevation area also experiences strong winds, which is great for keeping hang gliders aloft but can create hazardous conditions for recreational users.
While visiting the Cliff Ridge Hang Gliding Area check out the nearby wilderness areas and fossil discoveries at the adjacent Dinosaur National Monument, Ashley National Forest to the northwest, and Red Fleet State Park a little further to the northwest.
There are several routes to the Cliff Ridge Hang Gliding Area. From the towns of Vernal and Jensen take Highway 40 east to Route 1630 and head north, or continue further along Highway 40 to the Harpers Corner Road and head north. The Canyon Visitors Center is located just off the junction of Highway 40 and the Harpers Corner Road. Highway 40 is a paved highway, however, the access roads are dirt surfaced.
From Vernal you can also head east on Bush Creek Road then north on Highway 149 which becomes route 1550/Blue Mountain Road, then south on route 1575 to reach the staging area for the hang gliding area. Highway 149 is paved until it reaches Route 1550 after which it becomes a naturally surfaced road.
When heavy rains occur, naturally dirt surfaced roads can become muddy and rutted and may not be appropriate for RV units and tow vehicles. You may require a four-wheel-drive vehicle with high clearance to approach the area.
Vernal, Utah is the largest significant settlement that can provide a variety of services and amenities to travelers in the area. Some basic services are also available at Jensen, Utah.
During the winter, sub-freezing temperatures and snow are typical in the region. When traveling in the winter, ensure your vehicle has appropriate tires with adequate tread, winter tires are recommended. When traveling in an RV or towing a trailer, leave extra room, and slow down to execute turns and conduct braking activities.
The Green River Campground is located in the Dinosaur National Monument on the Utah side, not far from the Cliff Ridge Hang Gliding Area. This campground is open from April to October and provides 80 reservable sites. The campground is situated at an elevation of 4795 feet near the Split Mountains which soar to the north, and the famous Dinosaur Quarry.
The Split Mountain Boat Ramp is accessible in the area and provides access to the Green River for rafting trips. Campsites do not have RV hookups and there is no water tank fill up or RV dump station facilities. There are restrooms with flush toilets but no showers. Sites have picnic tables and fire rings, and firewood can be purchased at the park. Sites accommodate up to eight people per site.
During the peak season, ranger programs are available some evenings, highlighting the park's features. Night sky programs are sometimes available at the Split Mountain Group Campground to the north, which is accessible by hiking trail. The Split Mountain Campground has four group sites and is open year-round.
The Cliff Ridge Hang Gliding Area is the ideal place to ride the wind from the 8150-foot staging area on the Blue Mountain Plateau, over the deep canyons of the Green and Yampa Rivers. Hang gliding aficionados flock to this excellent site which provides warm updrafts from the canyons below and spectacular scenery.
The area has been the site of the Hangliding National Finals in 1990, 1996, and 1998, and the 1999 and 2000 Pre and Pan American International Competitions.
We don't mean real-life dinosaurs of course, but the fossil remains and tracks of the dinosaurs that once frequented the region. Cliff Hang Gliding Area is associated with the Dinosaur National Monument which spans the Colorado and Utah border. There are over 1500 fossil remains in the Dinosaur Quarry at the west end of the monument in Utah, not far from the hang gliding area.
Head to the Quarry Visitor Center where shuttles take visitors to the quarry in the summer. At other times of the year, the quarry is accessible in ranger-led caravans.
Hiking in the BLM Cliff Ridge Hang Gliding area is a popular pastime with spectacular views from the plateau to the canyons and rivers below. There are no designated trails, but natural trails used by visitors along the cliffs are popular for enjoying the wilderness views and, if you're lucky, you can spot some colorful hang gliders riding the winds!
For more formal hiking trails, venture north to the main sections of Dinosaur National Monument on the Utah side. From the Green River Campground, you can take the River Trail north along the Green River to the Split Mountain Group Campground, and the Desert Voices Nature trailhead is also located in the area.
The Dinosaur National Monument and public lands in the region are snow-covered with sub-freezing temperatures in the winter. Some of the region is closed and inaccessible during the winter months. However, there are designated areas that allow snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing on winter trails.
Bring your own equipment and supplies to enjoy this winter wonderland during the off-season. You will need to dress warmly; layers are usually recommended for outdoor winter activities, and ensure you have appropriate safety equipment for winter sports.
The public BLM lands and Dinosaur National Monument permit hunting in the appropriate season for hunters with the required licenses and permits. The area is part of Game Management Unit #10, and a limited number of permits are released annually for hunting in the area.
Large elk and mule deer roam the area as do antelope, coyotes, mountain lions, sage grouse, and the occasional bear. Be aware that private property around the public lands is off-limits to hunters without permission. Carry detailed maps and GPS units to ensure you are in the correct areas, and follow all hunting regulations and firearms safety practices carefully.
Numerous backcountry naturally-surfaced roads thread through the area around the Cliff Ridge Hang Gliding Area, and up into the main Dinosaur National Monument areas. These roads traverse semi-arid Utah wilderness with views of canyons and rivers from higher elevations.
During the spring when wet weather occurs, these roads may only be accessible for off-highway vehicles, and four-wheel-drive vehicles with high clearance. During the winter, many of these routes are inaccessible and are closed. Ensure your vehicle is equipped to handle the conditions and terrain and that you have spare tires, tools, and supplies in case of mechanical breakdown.