It was just a 66 mile drive from Flaming Gorge to Dinosaur National Monument, but it took over two hours due to the climb over an 8,400’ pass through almost zero visibility due to low clouds, rain and 20 mph switchbacks. I drove the Subaru ahead of Jim and was glad I did.
Our site in the Green River Campground on the Utah side of the park.
No hookups, no dump, but there are flush toilets and drinking water. We don’t normally like sites where you have to just pull off the road but this one is huge with no site across from it. $9 with Jim’s senior pass.
We visited Dinosaur National Monument in 2010 but the Quarry Exhibit Hall was being rebuilt so we didn’t get to see the displays. We remembered that we liked it here so wanted to return and check out the places we missed the first time.
Views of Split Mountain and red rock from our site.
The day we arrived we hiked a mile along the River Trail, which goes from the Green River campground to the Split Mountain group campground. Excellent views of the Green River, which is now red with mud from the recent heavy rains. In fact it rained during our first night and into the next morning.
Looking back over the campground where you can see more rain on its way.
Jim had to get to the highest point.
Since it was cold and rainy on Saturday we made the 20 mile drive to Vernal for laundry and grocery shopping, which seemed to take nearly all day. Nice little town with a decent laundromat.
On Sunday we went to the visitor center to check out the quarry.
You can see how it was constructed around this wall of rock.
The 150’ wall contains over 1,500 fossilized dinosaur bones. It is thought that a devastating volcanic/flood event carried the bones and deposited them here during the Jurassic Period, some 150 million years ago.
It was fascinating to see. The park ranger stationed there answered several of our questions.
Actually 5000 fossils have been discovered in this area but the rest are in collections all over the world, including at the Carnegie Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian.
But the dinosaur fossil exhibit is just a small part of this 210,844 acre park located in northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado. When we visited the first time we checked out the pictograph/petroglyph sites so we skipped that this time. We also drove to the Colorado side for the scenic views and a hike so this time we just hung around and hiked the trails closest to the campground.
Sounds of Silence trail, 3.3 miles made difficult by the fact that the heavy rains turned parts of it to mud and washed away some trail markers.
River trail to Desert Voices trail, a 6 mile loop right from the campground.
I was trying to test the water temperature but slipped in the mud. I didn’t realize Jim caught me in the act. Just happy I didn’t go into the river.
Green River float trips end here.
This was some of the most colorful hiking we’ve done in awhile. We enjoyed our second visit to Dinosaur National Monument as much as we did the first time. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.
Today we’re heading to Colorado National Monument for more red rock.