On the northwestern edge of Colorado in Dinosaur National Monument, a 2,500-foot gash known as the Yampa River Canyon winds through sky-scraping red-sandstone cliffs that was virtually unexplored until 1928.
DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT - Canyons and Vicinity
“The mountains, desert and untamed rivers flowing in deep canyons, support a vast array of life. Petroglyphs hint at earlier cultures. Later, homesteaders and outlaws found refuge here. Whether your passion is science, adventure, history or scenery, Dinosaur National Monument offers so much to explore.” – NPS
Please note that DNM has two entrances... The fossils/quarry and the canyons/scenery entrance. The Colorado entrance has the views, but no fossils. The fossils quarry is accessible from the Utah entrance, in Jensen, Utah, 20 miles to the west of Dinosaur
The Dinosaur National Monument entrance is located two miles east of the Town of Dinosaur. Often referred to as the "hidden gem of the National Park System", the original Dinosaur National Monument was a small 80-acre tract located north of Jensen, Utah. What made this small parcel of land so remarkable, was the thousands of dinosaur bones that were found there in 1909, prompting President Woodrow Wilson to proclaim the newly discovered dinosaur beds as a National Monument in 1915. It wasn't until 1938, that the Monument was expanded to include over 200,000 acres that now included the Northwest corner of Moffat County Colorado. The Monument was expanded because of the epic beauty of the canyon lands, and the historical significance of the Indian artifacts found here. Places such as Echo Park, Canyon Overlook, Browns Park and the Zenobia Basin are just a few of the places that you can reach when you enter the park just outside of Dinosaur, Colorado and take the beautiful drive on Harpers Corner Road. Along this drive you will find numerous turnouts showcasing amazing views and signage that tells the rich history of this wonderful place. Make no bones about it , the Colorado side of the park has NO dinosaur bones, but what it does have are epic canyon views, breathtaking hikes, and ample wildlife viewing. Not to mention rafting, camping, petroglyphs and geological formations that cannot be missed. For more information, maps, hours of operation and schedules please visit the Dinosaur National Monument webpage.
Thanks to those first explorers who paddled the river and shared their stories and photographs, Yampa River Canyon became the object of preservationists, ultimately leading to a presidential proclamation by Franklin D. Roosevelt to name the 210,000-acre river corridor a national monument in 1938.
The publicity also enticed thrill-seekers to plan a ride down the river through Dinosaur National Monument solely for recreation. This was the beginning of Colorado’s whitewater rafting industry. Today, you can still float down the Class III–IV Yampa waters, as well as the Green River (also found within the monument), with several outfitters or get your own permit through a lottery system; however, availability is limited so competition is fierce.
THINGS TO DO IN THE DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
|• Popular hiking and biking trails start near the Canyon Visitor Center, and there are many scenic places with picnic areas.
|• The monument offers an array of accessible facilities and destinations, including exhibits, pathways, overlooks, picnic areas, campgrounds and trails.
|• Backcountry camping opportunities abound for experienced backpackers.
|• Fishing and horseback riding are permitted within the monument.
|• A network of scenic roads can also take you through the rugged country, including Harpers Corner Road, a 32-mile one-way drive with views of the Green and Yampa rivers.
|• The National Park Service offers free Junior Ranger and Junior Paleontology programs. Participants earn a free badge when they complete a booklet of activities.
|• Dinosaur remains can be found in the Utah entrance red rocks; take a ranger-led hike to discover them. You can also see 1,500 dinosaur fossils still encased in the rocks they were found in at the Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall.
|• There are also 1,000-year-old petroglyphs and pictographs in several areas of the monument. Left by the Fremont people, many of the designs are fairly easy to access.
Getting to the Dinosaur National Monument
Take Hwy. 40 east from Dinosaur for 2 miles to get to Dinosaur National Monument’s Canyon Area Visitor Center (closed in winter). Pass the park headquarters building (open year-round) and follow Harpers Corner Road for approximately 31 miles where the road ends. Access the walking trail. Hike for about .5 miles to Steamboat Rock, which offers a beautiful view where the Green and Yampa rivers converge.