Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument's cultural history dates back 10,000 years. The Yampa and Green Rivers have provided water for survival in an arid country. Indian rock art in the form of petroglyphs and pictographs provide evidence that many people have come before us. The Fremont Indians lived in the canyons in Dinosaur National Monument 800 - 1,200 years ago. Following the Fremont were the Ute and Shoshone, who are still found in the area today. Early settlers left their mark on the landscape with their homesteads. Those who had access to the rivers and a constant flow of water survived, while others dried up with drought and moved away. Now, many of the remains of homesteads are found along side the Indian art work of the past.
The diversity of life in Dinosaur's rugged environment is a reflection of climate, geography, and the complexity of the landscape itself. The monument provides habitat for more than 1,000 native species of plants and animals and includes more than 200,000 acres of river canyons, mountains, and basins. Elevations range from under 4,750 feet (1,448 meters) near the Quarry to over 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) at Zenobia Peak. Twenty-three exposed geological strata combine with elevation and topography to create the many habitats that support plant and animal life.
Popular things to see while visiting Dinosaur National Monument include fossils, petroglyphs, pictographs, scenic vistas, and historic homesites. There are also many recreational opportunities for the adventure seeker such as hiking, fishing, and one of the most popular activities, river rafting.
NOTE: Dinosaur National Monument is located on the Colorado and Utah border and has entrances in both states. See the driving directions section for more details.
Seasonality / Weather
Dinosaur's climate is semiarid. Moderate snow, foggy days, and subzero nights occur in the winter. Thunderstorms with locally heavy rain are common spring through fall.
Dinosaur National Monument is located in both Colorado and Utah. Each state also provides a chance to visit very distinctive areas of the monument. The east side of the monument located in Colorado provides access to deep canyons along the Green and Yampa rivers. Dramatic views are available along the Harpers Corner Road. The west side of the monument located in Utah features the world-famous dinosaur quarry where visitors can see over 1,500 fossils still embedded in the cliff face.
The Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall and Quarry Visitor Center, one-half mile from the Quarry, are open year round. They are found by taking Highway 149 north from Jensen, UT to the park. Rangers lead visitors up to the Quarry by car caravans between October and April.
The Canyon Visitor Center is located just off U.S. Highway 40, two miles east of Dinosaur, CO. There are no fossil displays in the canyon area of the park. This visitor center closes during winter; call ahead for hours. The Colorado Welcome Center is located 2 miles from the Canyon Visitor Center and they are open daily through November, but closed during the winter. The Welcome Center is located in the town of Dinosaur, CO.
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.