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Winter Road Maintenance at Dinosaur National Monument
Contact: Dan Johnson, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, (435) 781-7702
Dinosaur, CO – The arrival of the first snowfall means that winter has arrived at Dinosaur National Monument and visitors' access to some areas of the monument may be limited.
On the Utah side of the monument, the roads around the Quarry Visitor Center and Exhibit Hall are maintained to provide visitor access to the buildings. The Cub Creek Road is plowed to a parking area 1.3 miles past the Chew Ranch. The road to Josie Morris Ranch is now gated for the winter, but is open to hiking, and if snow conditions permit, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
On the Colorado side, Harpers Corner Road from the Echo Park Road turnoff to the end of Harpers Corner is now closed to public access. The Harpers Corner Road will be kept open to the Echo Park Road turnoff until December 31 so that hunters may access nearby lands outside the monument. On January 1, the road will close at Plug Hat Butte, which is five miles from US Highway 40. Once the road closes to vehicular traffic for the winter, portions of the Harpers Corner Drive will be open to snowmobiling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing if snow conditions permit.
Other roads such as the Echo Park Road, Yampa Bench Road, Island Park Road, and the road to Gates of Lodore are not maintained and travel on them is not advised during the winter.
The Quarry Visitor Center and Exhibit Hall north of Jensen, Utah are open daily 9:00 am to 5:00 pm except for Christmas and New Year's Day. Due to limited staffing, access to the Quarry Exhibit Hall is by car caravans at 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm. 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm. The Canyon Visitor Center near Dinosaur, Colorado is closed for the winter.
Remember that Dinosaur's weather is unpredictable and can change rapidly. Visitors should always be prepared for a range of conditions and check the current forecast before heading out. Road maintenance may be very limited during storms or on weekends. Please ensure that someone knows where you are going and when you are expected to return. Spending a night or more in your vehicle stuck in a winter storm until either your family or employer wonders where you are, can be a life-threatening situation. Be prepared with appropriate clothing and supplies for any unexpected incidents. Blue jeans and tennis shoes without a jacket are not the best clothing for walking three to four miles to get assistance if you become stuck in two feet of snow.
For the properly prepared, winter is a wonderful time to visit Dinosaur National Monument. Days are cold, but may be sunny. Solitude is readily available. Wildlife, like deer, elk and bighorn sheep, may be seen along the rivers. Please be alert for animals crossing roads particularly at dawn and dusk.
Did You Know?
Mormon crickets are wingless grasshoppers that swarm across roads through the summer in the western United States. These flightless insects can form such large swarms that the road appears to move and change colors where they cross.