Dinosaur National Monument

Experience prehistory hands-on at Dinosaur National Monument, Utah. 

Visitors travel from around the world to experience this unique park 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 number of dinosaur fossils, footprints, and other prehistoric sites gives the nearby town of Vernal and Northeastern Utah the nickname “Dinosaurland.” 

Image courtesy of Google Maps

This area is proud to be among the top destinations in the world for dinosaur and prehistory enthusiasts!

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Dinosaur Monument History

In 1909, Earl Douglas discovered the first dinosaur bones in Utah while searching for fossils on behalf of a museum.

Earl Douglas and his team started a quarry to continue his excavation. They eventually unearthed thousands of fossils, which established the 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 to see evidence that dinosaurs were here, while learning what life was like millions of years ago. It’s more than a fun dinosaur park—it’s a piece of prehistory!

Besides all the dinosaur fun, Dinosaurland is home to evidence of human cultures. 

Many ancient petroglyphs (carvings in stone) and pictographs (paintings on stone) were left by the Fremont people, an ancient civilization 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 dinosaur bones 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 paleontologist? You can touch real dinosaur fossils at the Wall of Bones site! This two-level exhibit allows you to see more dinosaur bones in one place than you are likely to 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

The Quarry Exhibit Hall is on the site of the famous dinosaur quarry where Utah’s first dinosaur fossils were discovered in 1909. It houses the famous Wall of Bones—but that’s not all. Visitors can also see the remains of famous dinosaurs from the later Jurassic period, including:

  • Stegosaurus
  • Diplodocus
  • Allosaurus
  • Apatosaurus
  • Camarasaurus

These bones are more than 149 million years old. You can even touch some of them! The Exhibit Hall is open all year round and rangers are on hand to answer your questions. 

Canyon and river views

On the Colorado-side of the monument area, the Green and Yampa 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 staff can provide you with more information to help you fully experience Dinosaur National Monument. There are also information boards and a film to help you get the best out of your visit. 

You can contact the visitor center at (970) 374-3000. 

Rafting the Green River

Take your adventure to the next level—book a rafting tour 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. 

Night-sky stargazing

In 2019, the International Dark-Sky Association officially designated Dinosaur National Monument as an International Dark Sky Park. 

These are special areas with strict limits on light pollution to protect the incredible night-sky experience 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! 

Dinosaur National Monument Camping

Image courtesy of NPS

Dinosaur National Monument is the ideal place to get closer to nature and enjoy a camping trip. 

There are six main campgrounds to choose from. Because they are in the National Monument area, they are all set in beautiful scenery but have limited facilities. 

Green River Campground

Image courtesy of NPS

✔️Potable water (seasonal)
✔️Trash and recycling facilities (seasonal)
❌Food storage
✔️Staffed (seasonal)
✔️Cellphone reception (seasonal)

The Green River Campground is located in the west of Dinosaurland. It is a scenic, shady site located on the banks of the Green River, with views of Split Mountain. It’s also just eight miles from the Quarry Exhibit Hall, where you can see the famous Wall of Bones. 

With 80 sites in total, Green River Campground is very large. However, it’s fairly basic, with running water and toilets but no showers or RV hookups. Be careful with kids here though, as the river can be dangerous. 

Echo Park Campground

Image courtesy of NPS

✔️Potable water (seasonal)
❌Trash and recycling facilities (seasonal)
✔️Food storage
❌Cellphone reception

Echo Park Campground lies at the heart of Dinosaur National Monument. The location is stunning, with huge cliffs rising up above the Green River, including the iconic Steamboat Rock. There are several Fremont petroglyphs on the nearby canyon walls. On clear nights, campers are treated to stunning views of the stars and the Milky Way. 

One of the most exciting parts of camping at Echo Park is the journey to get there. It lies at the end of a 13-14 mile trail that requires an SUV or truck to navigate. However, this track is impossible to cross in wet conditions. 

The campground has 22 sites. But it is basic, with vault toilets and a seasonal supply of water. Don’t forget to bring the bug spray for this one!

Rainbow Park Campground 

Image courtesy of NPS

❌Potable water
✔️Trash and recycling facilities (seasonal)
✔️Food storage
❌Cellphone reception

Located in a scenic area in the northwestern corner of Dinosaur National Monument, Rainbow Park Campground is near the fascinating Fremont petroglyphs at McKee Springs. The campground is on the banks of the Green River at the head of Split Mountain Canyon. 

Rainbow Park is quiet and very secluded. It has picnic tables and enough room for four tents. These four sites are quite close together, so it’s good for those who like to meet their neighbors. The dirt access road becomes impassable when wet, so visiting in summer is best. 

Split Mountain Group Campground

Image courtesy of NPS

✔️Potable water (seasonal)
✔️Trash and recycling facilities
❌Food storage
✔️Firewood (seasonal)
✔️Staffed (seasonal)
✔️Cellphone reception

Split Mountain Campground is close to Green River Campground. It’s much smaller, with just four sites, and is closer to Split Mountain. If you plan to go rafting, this is a great spot, since the Split Mountain boat ramp where you would disembark is nearby. As with the Green River Campground, take care with young children as the river is not suitable for swimming and can be dangerous.

Deerlodge Park Campground

Image courtesy of NPS

✔️Potable water (seasonal)
❌Trash and recycling facilities (seasonal)
❌Food storage
✔️Staffed (seasonal)
❌Cellphone reception

Deerlodge Campground is in the far east of Dinosaur National Monument, at the head of the Yampa Canyon. It provides tent camping only and has seven sites, with picnic tables, drinking water, and vault toilets. The Yampa and Green Rivers are popular spots for rafters, so this is an ideal campground if that’s on your itinerary. 

The river is calm in late summer and may be suitable for swimming—but check with the National Park Service before doing so. Be careful in wet conditions as the campground often floods during spring and becomes difficult to access.  

Gates of Ladore Campground

✔️Potable water (seasonal)
❌Trash and recycling facilities (seasonal)
❌Food storage
✔️Staffed (seasonal)
❌Cellphone reception

Located in the far north of Dinosaurland, this campground gets its name from its position at the head of the Ladore Canyon. It is another site that is popular with rafters. Be sure to take the short hike to the top of the Gates of Ladore trail to see breathtaking views of the canyon. 

Wildlife in Dinosaur National Monument

Image courtesy of NPS

Dinosaur National Monument is home to some of North America’s most iconic animals, including:

  • Deer
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Bobcats
  • Mountain lions
  • Prairie dogs
  • Peregrine falcons
  • Great Basin spadefoot toads
  • Lizards
  • Rattlesnakes
  • Desert cottontail rabbits
  • Beavers
  • Coyotes
  • Black bears

⚠️Wildlife caution!

Wildlife encounters in Dinosaur National Park should be enjoyed from a distance. Don’t approach the animals and never feed them. 

Use proper food storage to ensure that you do not attract animals. Bears are particularly attracted by the smell of food. You should be aware of what action to take if you see one. 


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 situated 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 reach a number of different attractions.

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 a desert. 

Dressing in layers is a good idea if you visit outdoor sites during winter.

Brochures and Itineraries

Download: 1-Day Dinosaur National Monument Itinerary

Download: “Dinosaurland” Brochure

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!