Situated on the Utah-Colorado border, Dinosaur National Monument is a place to gawk at incredible rivers, canyons, rock formations, petroglyphs, and fossils. There is a lot to see in this park so get over there and hike to the confluence at Dinosaur National Monument!
Dinosaur National Monument is a cool place to visit for a handful of reasons. It has amazing geology! The rock formations here are striking. You can admire them long before you arrive at the Utah-side of the park. That reminds me. There are two sides to this park. One part in Utah. The other in Colorado.
There is an interesting history at Dinosaur National Monument. Aside from a rich geologic natural history, the park has hundreds of petroglyphs and pictographs left behind by the Fremont Culture 1,000 years ago. You can hike up to see these in several areas of the park.
Another reason for visiting the park is obvious. It has a huge conglomeration of dinosaur fossils, presented to you in the lovely Quarry Exhibit Hall. There is even a trolly that will take you there from the Visitor’s Center. But don’t worry, if you like to hike, skip the trolly and travel along the Fossil Discovery Trail.
Fossil Discovery Trail
This 2.4-mile round trip out-and-back hike up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall and back is unique because of the geologic features you can view along the way. This trail is on the Utah-side of the park. It is a bit of an interpretive trail and will give you a nice introduction to the park. There is some mild elevation gain. You can see small fossil fragments and some dinosaur bones in their natural state along the trail.
Up at the top of the climb, you can enter the Quarry Exhibit Hall to view the wall of 1,500 dinosaur bones. You will see several species, including Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, and Stegosaurus. These fossils are 150 million years old!
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Hog & Box Canyon Trails
Hog Canyon Trail is a 2.5-mile roundtrip, easy, out-and-back hike. It is a pleasant walk with nice vegetation that culminates in a box canyon. You can see the sandstone cliffs along the way. At the trailhead, you can visit the Josie Morris settlement and cabin. This trail does a good job of putting you in touch with the more recent history of European settlement. You can still see the remnants of the corral fence along the path.
Box canyons were used by settlers as a natural corral for hogs and other livestock. The Box Canyon Trail is nearby and was used as such along with Hog Canyon. The Box Canyon Trail is only a 1-mile out-and-back trip into a box canyon with dramatic views of sandstone cliffs. These hikes are also on the Utah side of the monument.
Josie Morris is quite a character. To read her story, click here.
The Confluence at Dinosaur National Monument
The Harpers Corner Trail was definitely the highlight of this park for us. This 3-mile out-and-back will take you to an epic viewpoint above the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers. This trail is paved most of the way and is easy. The payoff is excellent! Driving there is pleasant. Enjoy the 31-mile scenic road to Harpers Corner and the confluence at Dinosaur National Monument.
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We’re Melony and Travis LaCoss. Better known on the trail as Stretch and RamboJuice, hikertrash bloggers, photographers, and all-around dirtbags.
A few years ago, we took a giant leap away from our conventional lifestyle to backpack in the United States. After spending 5 months on the Pacific Crest Trail, we started our blog Hikerlore to share stories and provide useful information to backpackers, hikers, and outdoor travelers.
We plan to hike as much as we possibly can. During that time, we’ll write articles about our experiences and share photographs. Some of our posts will be narrative in nature, others will review backpacking gear and offer advice to hikers. Recently, we bought an old service van and converted it into a sweet travel van.
We are adventure seekers who hike national scenic trails, visit national parks, and travel around in a van blogging about outdoor travel. We have thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (2,200 miles), Florida Trail (1,100 miles), and half the Pacific Crest Trail (1,400 miles). Our adventures have led us to over 50 national parks and monuments.
In 2019, we put over 20,000 miles on VANilla (our sweet travel van that we built ourselves). Above all, Hikerlore’s articles are a service intended to provide good information and inspire our readers to get outside and have fun!
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