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Dinosaur National Park

Echo Park was named by John Wesley Powell in 1869 during his first scientific expedition into the Colorado Plateau. It is here that the Yampa River, the last free flowing river in the Colorado River System, joins the Green River. This is home and critical habitat for the endangered peregrine falcon, bald eagle, Colorado pike minnow, and razorback sucker. Indian rock art in Echo Park testifies to the allure these canyons and rivers had for prehistoric people. In 1825, William H. Ashley and his fur trappers were the first Europeans to enter Echo Park. In 1883, Patrick Lynch, a hermit, was the first to homestead in this canyon. 
In his book, The Immense Journey, Loren Eisley wrote, "Once in a lifetime, perhaps, one escapes the actual confines of the flesh. Once in a lifetime, if one is lucky, one so merges with sunlight and air and running water that whole eons, the eons that mountains and deserts know, might pass in a single afternoon without discomfort."



Most people visit the monument in June, July, and August. One of the charms of Dinosaur National Monument is its uncrowded and easy going atmosphere. The best weather is in September and early October. 
Dinosaur National Monument is located in northwest Colorado and northeast Utah, straddling the border of these states. About two-thirds of the park is in Colorado. Dinosaur is 210,000 acres in size; plenty of room for you to find solitude, magnificent scenery, hike a wild landscape, and renew your relationship with nature. 
4545 E. Highway 40
Dinosaur, CO 81610-9724


-Headquarters Visitor Center: Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and is closed on federal holidays during fall, winter, and spring months. Open 8 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. on weekends during summer. 

-Quarry Visitor Center: Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years days. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day the Quarry is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Trails, auto tours, campgrounds, and backcountry areas are open all the time except when limited by weather conditions. 

Dinosaur's climate is semiarid. In the summer it is hot (95 degrees), but the evenings are cool (lower 50s). During the summer, occasional afternoon thunderstorms occur. Elevations within the park vary between 4500 and 9000 feet. Thus, a hot summer day at the Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center can be pleasantly cool at Harpers Corner, which is at a higher elevation. During winter, most moisture falls as snow and temperatures are often cold. 

The arid, often hot summer climate means you should always carry and drink water. During summer it is wise to wear broad-brimmed hat and carry sun screen. 

Visitors should wear clothing appropriate for the season and activity in which they are participating. A good stretegy is to wear clothing in layers. Suitable footwear for hiking in rough terrain is important. 

Locate and travel to U.S. Highway 40. 

Monument Headquarters and Visitor Center is 1 mile east of Dinosaur, Colorado, just off US 40. This is the center for information on the canyon country of the park. There are no dinosaur bones in this area. 

The Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center is 7 miles north of Jensen, Utah, on Utah State Highway 149. Many people miss the turn onto UT 149 in Jensen so be watchful. This is the only area of the park where dinosaur bones can be seen. 

There are no transportation services to the park such as a taxi or bus. You must have your own transportation. 
For private river runners vehicle and passenger shuttle service is available from Wilkins Bus lines (435) 789-2476 and River Runners Transport (435) 781-1120.
The park entrance fee is $10.00 per vehicle. Special fees for commercial tours and buses apply. Phone (435) 789-8277 for an educational group entrance fee waiver or more detailed information. 

Camping fees vary depending on the season and facilities. Be prepared to pay from $6.00 to $12.00 per night. Rates for the reservation-only group campsites at Split Mountain group campground are higher. For more information on campgrounds see the Camping Facilities section. 

Fees and non-commercial river permits are required for private white water river trips on the Green and Yampa rivers within the park. For information on fees, equipment and experience requirements, and how to apply for the permit lottery, call (970) 374-2468.

Visitor Centers and Exhibits: 
Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center contains exhibits on the Jurassic dinosaurs that lived here, their ecosystem and the science of paleontology. Ranger talks are given during summer months and there is a fine book store. 

Headquarters Visitor Center contains exhibits on what to do, river canyons, and human history of the park. There is a 10-minute orientation slide program and book store. 

Self-Guiding Auto Tours: 
There are two self-guided, paved road tours (tour guide booklets are available at visitor centers or beside the road at the start of the tours): 

-- Near Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center is the "Tour of the Tilted Rocks", a 22-mile round-trip drive that exposes the complexity and beauty of Dinosaur. The drive takes 1 to 2 hours and will guide you to prehistoric petroglyph sites, a nature trail, up-turned rocky scenery of Cub Creek, and the shaded, cool, historic Morris homestead. 

-- Near Monument Headquarters Visitor Center is the "Journey Through Time", a 62-mile round-trip drive along the Harpers Corner Road that takes you up and across the beautiful Blue Mountain Plateau. The drive takes 2 to 4 hours and will guide you along a gently winding paved road to spectacular scenic overlooks, several nature trails, picnic grounds, and the steep unpaved Echo Park Road that drops into Echo Park and the Yampa Bench, the heart of the monument (not passable when wet). If you hike Ruple Point Trail or drive down to Echo Park, plan to spend the entire day. The Harpers Corner Road is the entrance into the canyon backcountry of Dinosaur. 

Self Guiding Nature Trails: 
Desert Voices Nature Trail is near the Dinosaur Quarry. It is 1 1/2 miles long and is moderately difficult. The trail is an introduction to issues and management of Dinosaur N.M. and has trail signs for kids, written and illustrated by kids. 

Sound of Silence Route is near the Dinosaur Quarry. It is 3 miles long and difficult to hike. You will learn to find low impact hiking routes in the backcountry and how to hike safely. This is a great route to experience silence. 

Cold Desert Trail located at Monument Headquarters. It is 1/2 mile long and an easy walk. The trail is an introduction to flora and fauna of the desert shrub community. 

Plug Hat Trail is along the Harpers Corner Road. It is 1/4 mile in length and an easy walk. The trail is an introduction to flora and fauna of the pinion and juniper forest community and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. 

Harpers Corner Trail is at the end of Harpers Corner Road. It is 1 1/2 miles in length and moderately difficult. The trail is an introduction to dramatic geologic features and leads to breathtaking views of the canyons of the Green and Yampa rivers. 

Gates of Lodore Trail is at the end of the campground road at the Gates of Lodore. It is 1 mile in length and an easy walk. The trail offers spectacular views of the river gorge and introduces you to some of the plants and geology of the area. 

Brief ranger talks are presented about dinosaurs and paleontology at the Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center every day during summer months. A variety of longer talks and guided walks are offered each day throughout the park during the summer. These programs take you to the most interesting parts of the park. You will discover wildlife, geology, Indian cultures, rare plants, and historic characters of the park. Evening talks are presented at the Green River Campground most nights during the summer. 
Lodging and camping facilities: 
There is no lodging in Dinosaur National Monument. There is, however, camping. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Green River Campground ($12 per night) usually does not fill up during the summer. Limit of stay is 14 days. Vehicles or trailers in excess of 35 feet are prohibited. No RV hookups. Water is turned off in the fall to prevent freeze-up and is turned on in the spring. When water is not available, a camping fee is not charged. Green River Campground has one wheelchair accessible site. 

 Groups can reserve a group campsite at the Split Mountain Group Campground in the spring and summer months. The group campground contains four sites, water, and modern restrooms. Sites are available only by reservation (fee required). Phone (435) 789-8277 for information and to make a reservation. 

No food, beverage or other supplies are available within the monument. Full services are available in Vernal, Utah and Craig and Rangely, Colorado. Limited supplies and services are available in Dinosaur, Browns Park and Maybell, Colorado, and Jensen, Utah. 
Other Concessions, NPS-Managed Visitor Facilities and Opportunities:
The non-profit Dinosaur Nature Association operates bookstores at Monument Headquarters and Dinosaur Quarry visitor centers. To order materials or a catalog phone (800) 845-DINO. We recommend you review the following information before you visit: 
Park approved commercial river concessionairs provide one day and multi-day white water river trips down the Green and Yampa rivers. River trips are one of the best ways to experience the monument.



The Monument Headquarters Visitor Center is fully accessible. The Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center is minimally accessible. The ramp at the Quarry Visitor Center was not designed for wheelchairs. A free pamphlet describing the upper level exhibits is available. Restroom facilities are moderately accessible. Disabled visitors can drive directly to the Quarry Visitor Center and avoid the summer shuttle bus. Primitive accessible toilet facilities are available at Lodore Campground and at the end of Harpers Corner Road. A fully accessible campsite is located at Green River Campground. There is an accessible trail at the Plug Hat picnic area.



The resources of Dinosaur are so varied and numerous that there is something here to interest and surprise almost anyone. Activities range from bird watching, photography, sightseeing and fishing to general sloth and lollygagging; from sight seeing by car to walking, backpacking, and white water river running. 
For commercial concession river trips: Reservations are strongly recommended, walk-ins for day trips are often available. 
The following activities require a permit:



-- Private non-commercial river permit phone (970) 374-2468.

-- Backcountry camping and horse packing permit phone (970) 374-3000.

-- Research collecting permit phone (970) 374-3000. 

-- Special events permit phone (970) 374-3000. 

-- Commercial photography or filming permit phone (435) 789-2115 ex 4002. 

-- Commercial activity permit phone (970) 374-3019. 
On arrival at Dinosaur you will be disappointed if you do not allow a full day to a week for your visit. At a bare minimum allow 1 to 2 hours to see the fossil dinosaur bones and unique exhibits at the Dinosaur Quarry. 

 Next, drive the Tour of the Tilted Rocks auto tour which begins near the Quarry. The drive takes 1 to 2 hours and will allow you to begin to appreciate the beauty of the park. To see rugged and spectacular canyon landscapes drive the Journey Through Time auto tour which begins at Monument Headquarters and takes 2 to 4 hours to complete. 

Along your travels you will come to six different nature trails within the park. 

Explore for hidden surprises in the Deerlodge area. After the middle of July, the Deerlodge Campground is one of the quietest places in the park. Angling for catfish, visiting the many historic cabins in the area, and hiking into Disappointment Draw are activities to soothe the soul. 

Become absorbed by the alternating sun and shadow, calm and wind of Steamboat Rock in Echo Park. Ponder the ancients or a fat trout in Jones Hole. Adventure out the mysteries and unsurpassed views of the primitive Yampa Bench Road. 

Spend the night at the Gates of Lodore Campground in Browns Park, a quiet, little-used campground. Lodore and Browns Park are remote areas, often overlooked by visitors. The imposing red, vertical rocks of Lodore Canyon loom on the horizon of the gentle Browns Park valley. Tucked away aloof, and hidden, are petroglyphs, historic copper mine coke ovens, an historic cemetery, a swinging bridge over Green River, Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge, and the reconstructed historic Jarvie Ranch which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. 

Jones Hole canyon, originally cleft by a geologic fault, is today caressed by a crystal clear, spring-fed creek. A well placed artificial lure or fly could bring a battle (special fishing regulations apply and a Utah license is required). Jones Hole is one of the prettiest spots in the park. A fish hatchery, petroglyphs, waterfall and more await. This is a great place for a family to spend the day. 

Consider taking a commercial river trip which are available from 1 to 6 days in length. 

No special events or programs are planned at this time. 
The desert is fragile. Think about your impact, multiplied by hundreds of thousands of people each year. Set a good example and learn about the special nature of the desert. Use good judgement. Support the National Park Service mission of preservation of our nation's natural and cultural heritage. Fear your own actions more than you fear the law. If you have any question about the impacts you might have or about the laws involved , ask a ranger before you do it. 

Collecting any cultural or natural object (arrowheads, rocks, flowers, bugs, etc.) removes the object so others cannot enjoy it and is not allowed. Hunting or disturbing wildlife is not allowed. Placing your name and date, or other graffiti, on cabins and rock faces, or other cultural and natural features is not allowed. Driving your vehicle off maintained roadways will scar the soil and damage plants. Treat the park and what is in it as if it is your own property, because it is yours to care for. 

Utah Field House of Natural History State Park, 

     Vernal, UT                                   (435) 789-3799

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, 

     Vernal, UT                                   (435) 885-3315

Ashley National Forest, Vernal UT                 (435) 789-1181

Bureau of Land Management, Craig CO               (970) 824-4441

Bureau of Land Management, Vernal UT              (435) 789-1362

Expedition Island Park, Historical Museum, 

     Green River, WY                              (307) 872-6435

John Jarvie Historic Ranch (BLM) 

     Browns Park, UT                              (435) 885-3307

Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge              (970) 365-3613 

White River History Museum, Meeker, CO            (970) 878-9982

Rangely History Museum, Rangely, CO               (970) 675-2612 

Meeker CO Chamber of Commerce Colorado            (970) 878-5510

Craig CO Chamber of Commerce                      (970) 824-5689

Vernal UT Chamber of Commerce                     (435) 789-1352

Dinosaurland Travel Board (Utah)                  (800) 477-5558

Dinosaur CO Welcome Center                        (970) 374-2205