Date: October 10, 2019
Memories are made in Dinosaurland! It is an outdoor wonderland jammed packed with beauty, history, and of course adventure. And while the possibilities are endless on your next visit to Vernal, Utah let us suggest the top 10 things to do here and what you won’t want to miss out on.
1- Play like a Paleontologist
Vernal, Utah is dinosaur country so much so that it is referred to as Dinosaurland. With a name like Dinosaurland you know that there is going to be some great exhibits and remains of dinosaurs from millions of years ago. Visitors of the Dinosaur Nation Monument’s Carnegie Quarry will be amazed by the “Wall of Bones,” containing over 1,500 dinosaur fossils. Not only are visitors able to see dinosaur fossils but there are several places where you can touch a real 149 million year old dinosaur fossils! While at the Dinosaur National Monument take the time to hike, visit an old homestead cabin, and see Fremont Indian rock art. Another must see is the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum located on main street in Vernal. Visitors will be able to enjoy hands on fossil digs, puppet shows, lifelike models, and a new observation window overlooking the fossil preparatory lab. The museum also features a unique Dinosaur Garden that has life-size dinosaur replicas on display. And no dinosaur adventure would be complete without seeing over 200 dinosaur tracks at the Red Fleet State Park’s Dinosaur Trackway. The 2.5 mile hike leads through beautiful red rocks and cedar trees finishes at the shoreline with tracks zig zagging across. Pro-tip scoop a handful of water and pour it into the track impression for better clarity.
Local tips: the BLM office will have information on where you can do a bit of fossil digging. And Dinosaur Hunting Licenses can be picked up at the Dinosaur National Monument and the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum. If you haven’t had enough dinosaurs stop and get a picture by Dinah the pink dinosaur on the east side of town welcoming everyone to the city of Vernal.
2- Take in the Gorge
Whether you like to boat, fish, bike, white water rafting, or hike, make your way up the Flaming Gorge-Uintas National Scenic Byway. Stop by Red Canyon Overlook, drive the Sheep Creek Canyon Loop, and get a good look inside the Flaming Gorge Dam. During the months of April 15th through October 15th visitors can enjoy a FREE tour of the Flaming Gorge Dam. Get views that you would only be able to get on the tour! Beginning around mid-August and continuing throughout October is an annual spawning run of Kokanee Salmon out of the Lake Flaming Gorge to their final destination up Sheep Creek. An easy accessible viewing area is just off the road at Sheep Creek with paved parking, restroom, signs and a viewing bridge. Watch the large fiery red salmon as the swim up creek to spawn and eventually die. There is also plenty of wildlife to make your trip interesting. Be on the look out for big horn sheep, wild turkeys, deer, elk, and even the occasional moose.
3- Picture This!!
Dinosaurland is home to the longest corridor of the 1,000 year old Fremont Indian petroglyphs and pictographs in the world at Nine Mile Canyon. “The world’s longest art gallery,” has more than 1,000 rock art sites displaying over 10,000 individual images! If that isn’t enough, Dry Fork Canyon, Jones Hole, and Echo Park are full of ancient wonders waiting to be explored. Some are over 200 feet high! Hike the scenic trails that lead to the ancient rock art and see if you can interpret the meaning of the drawings. But please remember to not touch the rock art! Touching the artwork damages it!
4- Run the River
Take a ride down Dinosaurland’s Green or Yampa rivers for a thrill you’ll never forget. Whether you’re looking for excitement and adventure or a more leisurely trip, our guides and outfitters will get you and your family down the river in style.
5- Hit the Trails
Trails, trails, trails, and more trails. In Dinosaurland, you can cruise through mountain meadows, blaze across high desert canyons, or climb alpine forests. Need another reason to head to Dinosaurland? When the summer months bring sizzling temperatures at the valley below, biking in the Uintas is at its best with small crowds and great trails. Uintah offers trails for all recreations including hiking, biking, ATV, and horseback riding. You will love the diverse scenery that Uintah County has to offer.
6- Hook a Worm
Catch record-breaking trout at Flaming Gorge, fly fish at Jones Hole, or cast a line into our 600 lakes and rivers. The bottom line is: fishing at Dinosaurland is the “reel” deal.
7- Stir up the Wild West!
From rodeos to pow wows and outlaw trail rides to professional bull riding, the Wild West is alive and strong in Dinosaurland. Join in the fun as we celebrate our culture and western heritage through unique historical sites, the Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo, and more.
8- Roast a Marshmallow and Enjoy the Camp Fire
With so much open space and public land, it’s hard not to find a place to camp in Dinosaurland. We have just the spot for you! There is a verity of camping locations including: two Utah State Parks, Dinosaur National Monument scenic campgrounds, in town at local RV parks, and in the wilderness in perfect seclusion. We have campsites that vary from full hook ups to backpacking into the remote wilderness. Whatever your camping style, Dinosaurland has you covered! Don’t forget to bring the marshmallows and campfire stories. Campers will also be able to experience some serious stargazing!
9- Dig up the Past
Shop at John Jarvie’s general store where outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid once stocked up on supplies. It’s one of the many historical museums in the area. Make sure you visit the Uintah County Heritage Museum, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, and Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum for tales of pioneers, outlaws, and rugged mountain men of America’s Old West.
10- Beat the Summer Heat
With three state park reservoirs in Dinosaurland, there are countless opportunities for rafting, boating, and other water activities. Pack your swim bags; there is plenty of water at Red Fleet, Steinaker, and Starvation reservoirs for everyone!