Thing to Do

Drive the Yampa Bench Road

The Yampa River flows through Dinosaur\'s rugged sandstone canyons.
The rugged Yampa Bench Road offers a getaway to the quieter side of Dinosaur's canyon country.

NPS / Jake McFee

High-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles are strongly recommended.

The unpaved 18 mile (29 km) Yampa Bench Road connects the Echo Park Road with the monument's southeast boundary. From there, Moffat County dirt roads lead to US Highway 40. The Yampa Bench Road runs along a large "bench" (flat area) above the Yampa River. Several viewpoints, trails, and historic sites provide access to the area's dramatic scenery and history. Wildlife such as mule deer, elk, pronghorn may be occasionally seen. 

Camping is not permitted along the Yampa Bench Road. All vehicles and bikes must remain on roads. The following vehicle types are prohibited: all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off highway vehicles (OHVs), utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), and non-street legal dirt bikes.  

Driving Conditions: 
The road is winding with some narrow and steep sections. A few small stream crossings may hold water and mud for extended periods. The road crosses soft sand deposits in several places. In dry conditions, the Yampa Bench Road is considered relatively easy for high-clearance, four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicles. The road impassable for all vehicles when wet and during the winter.

Amenities: 
There is no food, fuel, restrooms, paved areas, or services along the entire length of the Yampa Bench Road. Cell phone service is not reliable. In the event of an emergency, it could take several hours for help to reach you. Let someone know where you're going and when to expect you back. Bring snacks and supplies, and pack out all waste.

  • Drive carefully! Make sure your vehicle is in good shape and that you drive appropriately for the terrain and road conditions. Visitors caught in the backcountry with disabled vehicles may face towing fees in excess of $1,000.
  • Bring water! There is no potable water along the entire length of the Yampa Bench Road. This is an arid environment. Summer temperatures often exceed 100°F (38°C). Bring at least 1 gallon (4 liters) of water per person, per day. Bring more if you'll be active.
Details
Due to the rugged nature of this road, it generally takes about 2 hours to drive one-way without stopping, under good conditions. Recreational activities, such as viewing scenery, stopping at overlooks, and hiking will add more time to your trip.
Leashed pets are allowed at overlooks and along roads. Handlers must clean up after pets and pack out waste. 
Visitors must pay the park entrance fee or show a valid pass at the Entrance Station or Quarry Visitor Center. There is no separate or additional fee for this activity.
The Yampa Bench Road connects the Echo Park Road with the monument's southeastern boundary near Thanksgiving Gorge. The road is 18 miles (28 km) in length.
The Yampa Bench Road is impassable to all vehicles when wet with rain or snow. It may take several days to become passable after inclement weather. The road is generally impassable in winter. 
Accessibility Information
Wheelchair Accessibility: 
No sites of interest along this road are paved or wheelchair accessible.

Restroom Information: 
There is no potable water and no restrooms along the entire length of the Yampa Bench Road. The nearest in-park restroom is located at the Echo Park Campground.

Dinosaur National Monument

Last updated: November 30, 2021