• Camarasus skull in the cliff face, rafters on the Green River, McKee Springs petroglyphs

    Dinosaur

    National Monument CO,UT

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Self Guided

Self-guided field trips do not require a reservation. However, you should contact the Monument in advance to apply for an academic waiver for entrance fees. For more information on academic fee waivers and how to obtain one visit our page on fee waivers.

The following are some suggestions and recommendations for self-guided student activities during your to Dinosaur National Monument.

Utah side of Monument, near Jensen:

  • Quarry Visitor Center: The visitor center features exhibits that introduce the variety of resources found throughout the monument. A 12 minute park film is also available. This is also your starting point for trips to see the fossil wall at the Quarry Exhibit Hall.
  • Desert Voices hiking trail (1½ mile loop; moderately easy): This trail begins near the boat ramp at the Split Mountain Campground. The trail offers excellent views of Split Mountain and several adjacent rock layers. Geology is the outstanding feature on this trail. Signage on the trail was written and drawn by children for children. There is no shade.
  • Fossil Discovery hiking trail (½ mile one-way; moderately easy): The Fossil Discovery Trail Guide brochure provides information about the rock layers along the trail. The trail cuts through tilted rock layers, exposing a great variety of rocks and fossils. The Morrison Formation stop features an outcropping of several small pieces and a few large pieces of dinosaur bones.
  • Tour of the Tilted Rocks auto tour (11 miles one-way, accessible by bus): Along this route, students can discover pictographs (painted designs) and petroglyphs (scratched or carved designs) from the Fremont Culture, tilted rock layers, and an historic homesite. Numbered posts along the route correspond to information printed in the Tour of the Tilted Rocks guide (available for $.50 at the visitor center or in an honor box just after the entrance station). Two other brochures, Josie Bassett Morris and Petroglyphs and Pictographs provide more in-depth information about the sites along the route. At the end of the route, two hiking trails lead into box canyons that Josie used to corral her livestock. The trail into the box canyon named Box Canyon begins at the restroom. This trail is a shaded, easy ½ mile, one way, route that reveals nice exposures of the craggy sandstone of Split Mountain. The trail into the box canyon named Hog Canyon begins by the pond. This ¾ mile trail, one-way, is also easy and shaded for most of the route. A spring-fed creek runs through the canyon and numerous wildflowers bloom during the spring season.
  • Junior Ranger Program: The Junior Ranger Program encourages students to learn more about the park they are visiting. The Junior Ranger Activity Book contains age appropriate activities about fossils, animals, and people associated with Dinosaur National Monument. Please call (435) 781-7701 in advance to arrange for free program booklets. Your students may also enjoy participating in WebRangers, an on-line Junior Ranger Program that they can do anytime they like.

Colorado side of Monument, near Dinosaur:

  • Canyon Area Visitor Center: This visitor center features a 12-minute film that provides an overview of the park. This visitor center is generally only open late spring to early fall.
  • Harpers Corner auto tour (32 miles one-way, accessible by bus): Along this route, various stops provide dramatic views of the river canyons and surrounding area. Numbered posts along the route correspond to information printed in the Harpers Corner auto guide (available for $.50 at the visitor center or in an honor box just after the park entrance). The Harpers Corner hiking trail is an easy/moderate 1 mile (one-way) trail located at the end of the auto tour road. An overlook at the end of the trail provides an outstanding view into three river canyons and the interesting geology of the area. There are a few steep drop-offs along the trail.
  • Plug Hat trail (¼ mile loop; easy): This level trail on the top of a butte begins across the road from the Plug Hat picnic area. The trail affords excellent views of the surrounding landscape and provides an introduction to the pinyon pine-juniper community. The trail is paved and wheelchair accessible. The Plug Hat picnic area is also wheelchair-accessible.
  • Junior Ranger Program: The Junior Ranger Program encourages students to learn more about the park they are visiting. The Junior Ranger Activity Book contains age appropriate activities about fossils, animals, and people associated with Dinosaur National Monument. Please call (435) 781-7701 in advance to arrange for free program booklets. Your students may also enjoy participating in WebRangers, an on-line Junior Ranger Program that they can do anytime they like.

For more information, call (435) 781-7701.

Did You Know?

Picture of dinosaur skull.

Dinosaurs were a remarkably successful group of animals. They lived on the Earth for 160 million years. The fossils at Dinosaur National Monument represent only 10 of the many dinosaur species that existed during that long era.