• Split Mountain lights up with the sunrise. Jacob W Frank photo

    Dinosaur

    National Monument CO,UT

Places To Go

 

Dinosaur National Monument offers a lifetime of places to explore. Like spokes on a bicycle wheel, roads penetrate the monument's interior. Some of these are paved while others require the use of a high-clearance vehicle or a four wheel-drive. Depending on your interest and time, you can discover dinosaur fossils, Native American rock art, homesteader cabins, early 20th century ranches, remote canyons, dramatic vistas, peaceful rivers, or windswept peaks. Some places are easily accessible from the monument's roads while others may require extended hikes or river trips.

The Quarry Exhibit Hall on the Utah side of the monument is the place for getting up close to the huge dinosaur bones that are exposed in the rock. The historic fossil quarry is covered by a modern building, which provides visitors with a comfortable environment to experience the world famous fossils.

Harpers Corner on the Colorado side of the monument provides dramatic vistas over the monument's canyon country. From the Harpers Corner Trail, you can watch the tiny dots of river rafts drift by over 2,000 feet below.

If you want to get away from people and experience a wild western landscape, head to Rainbow Park and Island Park. Located on the northwestern corner of the monument, this less developed area provides thousands of acres of wide open space to roam. You can check out the Fremont petroglyphs at McKee Springs, watch for elk and mule deer, or wander around the remains of Ruple Ranch.

Gates of Lodore serves as the starting point for those heading out to raft the Green River. Just south of the campground, the Green River slices into the mountains and enters the steep-walled Canyon of the Lodore. In addition to the campground and boat launch, a short trail provides a scenic view of the river as it enters the gates.

Echo Park sits at the heart of Dinosaur National Monument. The Green River winds around the monolith know as Steamboat Rock. Sheer cliffs rise all around. Just upstream, the wild Yampa River joins the Green River. In addition to the peaceful campground, primitive trails take hearty hikers to Mitten Park, the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers, or into Sand Canyon.

 
Hiker on Split Mountain
A hiker enjoys the view from the summit of Split Mountain.
Dan Johnson

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