The Best Places in Dinosaur National Monument

When starting a blog with a name like Parkasaurus, I immediately began thinking about at what point I would blog about Dinosaur National Monument – which is the only national park site dedicated to interpreting dinosaur fossils.   Fortunately, the folks over at the Destination Isolation Blog have just put up a great post on their Top 8 Sites in Dinosaur National Monument, and it is very much worth checking out.

The centerpiece of Dinosaur NM is the Carnegie Quarry Hall where around 1,500 dinosaur bones have been left in situ, in the rock, just where paleontologists would have found them. Destination Isolation’s post is a good reminder, however, that Dinosaur NM is about so much more than just gazing at dinosaur fossils and exhibits.  This park actually has more than 300 square miles to explore, including petroglyphs, desert peaks, and rafting on the Green and Yampa Rivers.   In fact, the #3 site on their list is the rock art at Echo Canyon, about which they write: “we have seen many rock art sites in our travels but this was our favorite. There are not many but they sure are unique.”   I have to agree, be sure to click on their post to see the photograph.   This will definitely be a site on my “to-do list” the next time I am able to make a return visit to northeast Utah and northwest Colorado.

For those of you in the Passport to Your National Parks program, Dinosaur National Monument has traditionally had two passport stamps to collect:

  • Jensen, UT – at the Quarry Visitor Center on the western side of the park, in Utah; and
  • Dinosaur, CO – at the Canyon Area Visitor Center on the eastern side of the park, in Colorado.

Ironically, despite the name of the town in Colorado, if you are primarily interested in seeing the dinosaur fossils, you need to go to the Utah side of the park at the Quarry Exhibit Hall.  After being closed for more than two years due to structural damage to the old Quarry Exhibit Hall, a brand new Exhibit Hall and brand new Quarry Visitor Center were opened in 2011.

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