Dinosaur National Monument allows visitors to experience prehistory, hands-on. Visitors travel from all over the world to experience this unique park in Northeastern Utah where evidence of dinosaurs has been preserved for millions of years. Some refer to it as Dinosaur National Park, but technically it is a national monument.
Spanning over 200,000 acres, Dinosaur National Monument is located on the border of Utah and Colorado. There are sites and attractions in both states. The incredible amount of dinosaur fossils, footprints, and other prehistoric sites is what gives Vernal and the surrounding Utah community the nickname “Dinosaurland”. This area is proud to be among the top destinations in the world for dinosaur and prehistory enthusiasts!
Jump to a section if you know what you’re looking for:
- History of the Monument
- Things To Do In Dinosaur National Monument
- Location and Directions
- Brochures and Itineraries
Dinosaur Monument History
In 1909, a man named Earl Douglas discovered just how important this piece of land would eventually be. He was searching for fossils on behalf of a museum when he found a deposit of multiple prehistoric fossils. In order to continue searching the area and studying the fossils, he established a quarry and continued his excavation.
Earl Douglas and his team eventually unearthed thousands of fossils, establishing this area around Vernal, Utah as one of the hotspots for paleontological research worldwide. In 1915, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson made the Dinosaurland fossil beds an official national monument. Today, the site has been developed to allow visitors a chance to see the evidence that dinosaurs were really here while also learning about what life was like here millions of years ago. It’s more than a fun dinosaur park—it’s a piece of prehistory!
Besides all of the dinosaur fun, this area of Dinosaurland also offers evidence of human cultures from the past. While visiting the monument, you can also spend some time viewing the many ancient petroglyphs (carvings in stone) and pictographs (paintings on stone) left by the Fremont people, an ancient civilizations that inhabited this area before the 14th century.
Things to do at Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument and the rest of Dinosaurland is rich with history and excitement!
The Wall of Bones
On the Utah side of the monument, visitors can interact with a deposit of real dinosaur fossils called the “Wall of Bones”. Over 1,500 fossils are on display, still embedded in the cliff-side where the ancient creatures came to rest millions of years ago during the late Jurassic period.
Ready to play like a paleontologist? At the Wall of Bones site, you can actually touch real dinosaur fossils! This two-level exhibit allows you to see more dinosaur fossils in one place than you’ll likely see anywhere else. All visitors to Dinosaur National Monument will want to make sure they check out The Wall of Bones. It’s hard to miss!
The Quarry Exhibit Hall
More real fossils and footprints are available for viewing at The Quarry Exhibit Hall. This is the site where dinosaur fossils were first discovered in the area in the 1909. Some of the fossils available include a rare baby Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Apatosaurus and more!
Canyon and River Views
On the Colorado side if the monument area, the Yampa and Green Rivers flow through deep, majestic canyons. These are some of the most beautiful scenic views in the West. Don’t miss Harpers Corner Road for amazing views of the river below. The nearby Canyon Visitor Center provides more information to help you fully experience Dinosaur National Monument.
Rainbow Park and Island Park
These parks are located in the northwestern corner of Dinosaur National Monument. You’ll want to stop by this section if you are interested in viewing the Fremont petroglyphs. It’s amazing to see art made by humans that has been preserved for so long! It makes you wonder what it was like to live in this area back when they were here.
These parks have some camping and picnic areas available amid the more scenic part of Dinosaurland. Deer and other animals can often be seen here.
Rafting the Green River
For some next-level adventure, book a rafting through the canyon and down the Green River! For visitors who love a good adrenaline-rush, this whitewater adventure is just as exciting as it is beautiful. As you float down the river, you’ll pass right by Steamboat Rock, a huge monolith in the center of Dinosaur National Monument that towers over the water.
In 2019, the International Dark-Sky Association officially designated Dinosaur National Monument as an International Dark Sky Park. These are special areas where there are strict limits on light pollution so as to protect the incredible night-sky view of the stars above. The night sky views in Dinosaur Monument are breathtaking. So, if you ever get the opportunity to visit at night, don’t forget to look up!
Where is Dinosaur National Monument located?
Dinosaur National Monument spans the border between Utah and Colorado. The Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center is located at 11625 E 1500 S Jensen, Utah 84035. Various sites and attractions are scattered across the monument area. While the monument headquarters are located in the town of Dinosaur, Colorado, the actual dinosaur fossils are located in Utah.
If you are using GPS to find your way, the Quarry Visitor Center is at:
Latitude: N 40° 26′ 17.0277″
Longitude: W 109° 18′ 25.6701″
To get to the monument, take US 40 to Vernal, which is located at the intersection of US 40 and US 191. From there, you can head a number of different directions depending on what you want to see and do.
Monument Hours and Additional Information
Please visit the National Parks Page for complete and current hours.
How Much Does Dinosaur National Monument Cost?
The cost of visiting Dinosaur National Monument varies depending on the vehicle you use to enter or if you park outside the monument area and walk-in on foot. The rates are as follows:
Private Vehicles = $25
Walk-in Visitors = $15
Motorcyclists = $20
You can also purchase an Annual Monument Pass for $45, which allows you to enter as often as you’d like during the year.
The weather in Dinosaur National Monument is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, typical of Northeastern Utah. Snow is common during winter months. There is occasional rain, but this area is still considered desert.
If you will be visiting the outdoor sites, it is a good idea to dress in layers.
Brochures and Itineraries
Free Utah Travel Planner
Once you have finished exploring Dino Monument, there are so many more fun things to do in Utah’s Dinosaurland! Fill out the form below to receive a free travel planner and get all the info you need to get the most out of your trip to Uintah County, Utah – The Origin of Adventure!