Take in the Scenery
Vernal, UT is surrounded by three state parks, each one offering fun and exciting experiences, from boating to picnicking to walking in the footsteps of dinosaurs. Take in the local flora and fauna as you venture out and enjoy the beautiful landscapes and unique geology of the region.
- Red Fleet State Park
- Address: 8750 North Hwy. 191 Vernal, UT 84078-7801
- Phone: 435-789-4432
Park – Scenic Area. $7 for day use, $13 for camping. Open year-round, Picnic Area
Red Fleet State Park is located in the heart of Dinosaurland, 10 miles north of Vernal on Utah Highway 191. The park name was inspired by three large Navajo sandstone outcrops jutting up from the landscape as if a fleet of ships. At an elevation of 5,600 feet, Red Fleet offers camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing and boating. Red Fleet State Park is also known for the Dinosaur Trackway. Two hundred million years ago, this area looked like the Sahara Desert. And like the Sahara, the area had oases of shallow desert lakes called playas. Dinosaurs journeyed to the small playas among the dunes. We know this from the tracks left behind in the wet sand. Hundreds of dinosaur tracks now lay exposed for you to see in the Navajo sandstone. Juniper, sagebrush, native grasses, and cactus dominate the area. Red Fleet is home to mammals such as rabbits, ground squirrels, bobcats, badgers, coyotes, and mule deer. Golden eagles can be seen sunning themselves on sandstone cliffs. Other birds include magpies, hawks, mountain bluebirds, pinion jays, vultures, owls, and an occasional osprey. Bald eagles visit the area during winter months.
- Starvation State Park
- Address: PO Box 584 Duchesne, UT 84021-0584
- Phone: 435-738-2326
Park – Scenic Area. $7 for day use, $10-16 for camping. Open year-round.
Secluded and peaceful, Starvation State Park provides access to brilliant blue waters and 23 miles of sandy shoreline of Starvation Reservoir. Enjoy days of fishing, boating or waterskiing, and evenings of camping. Resting at an elevation of 5,720 feet, Starvation State Park is located four miles northwest of Duchesne, just off U.S. Highway 40.
- Steinaker State Park
- Address: 4335 North Highway 191 Vernal, UT 84078-7800
- Phone: 435-789-4432
Park – Scenic Area. $7 for day use, $13 for camping. Open year-round, modern restrooms, hiking, off-roading, and biking are all nearby activities.
Steinaker State Park is a desert oasis in the heart of Northeastern Utah. Visitors come to fish, water-ski, camp, picnic or relax on the beach. At an elevation of 5,520 feet, the park is located seven miles north of Vernal, Utah, off State Highway 191. The surrounding area intrigues anyone interested in geology, paleontology or archaeology. From high points in the park, you can see millions of years of geologic formations. A bank of the Morrison Formation runs along the east shore of the reservoir. This layer of strata was deposited 130 million years ago during the Jurassic Period, when dinosaurs inhabited the area. The layer of rock may contain dinosaur fossils. Juniper and sagebrush dominate Steinaker’s vegetation. Cottonwoods and aspen grow near the water. In the spring, the park blooms with wildflowers including larkspur, penstemon, Indian paintbrush and Utah’s state flower, the sego lily. Many wildlife species live in the park. Mammals include mule deer, jack rabbits, cottontails, porcupines and ground squirrels. Elk, coyote and bobcat make rare appearances. Common birds are magpies, robins, scrub jays, pheasants, western grebes, loons, various ducks, Canada geese, turkey vultures, ospreys and golden eagles.
- Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum
- Address: 496 E Main Street Vernal, UT 84078
- Phone: 435-789-3799
- Website: stateparks.utah.gov
Park – Scenic Area, $6 for adults, $3 for children. Open year-round 7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Modern restrooms, visitor center and picnic area available.
Utah’s newest dinosaur museum and dinosaur park, the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum opened in June 2004. New exhibits and displays cover the 22,000-square-foot facility, inside and out. Vivid murals and tile floors help visitors connect geological time to real-time places in Vernal. Life-size replicas of dinosaurs peek into the museum through windows looking out onto the new Dinosaur Gardens. Curious visitors, both young and old, can do their own investigating with books, models, puzzles, and bones and chisels. Try your hand at fossil hunting and see how a real paleontologist works.