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Dinosaur National Monument

Saturday, October 24, 2009

On Saturday morning, Amanda and I set off early and headed north through the Book Cliffs. Our destination this weekend was Dinosaur National Monument. This area has been on our to-do list for quite a while, but after visiting the park it makes me wonder why we didn’t head up there sooner. We will definitely be spending more time up there in the future 🙂

After a quick stop in Rangely to top off my tank, we made our way to the Colorado Visitors Center just outside of Dinosaur, CO. We looked around and got an official map (I can never have enough maps) of the park before heading further east on US 40 to our starting point off the pavement.

We took a left onto Wolf Creek Road and made our way into Dinosaur National Monument.


We followed the road across the Yampa Bench until we reached the spur to Wagon Wheel Point. This point offered great views down into the Yampa River canyon.





Our next stop was the Harding Hole Overlook


This overlook had a great view over gooseneck of the Yampa with the river winding it’s way into the distance.


Along the Yampa Bench Road

Castle Park Overlook was the final overlook along this stretch of road.






Soon we reached the turnoff to Echo Park and made our way down the canyon to the Yampa.


Amanda spotted the Picasso Face


Then we stopped to check out the very cool Whispering Cave that sat at the base of a sheer cliff face.






Finally we reached Echo Park (Pats Hole) and Steamboat Rock.




We stopped at the old Chew Ranch on our way back to the Yampa Bench Road



After we made it back to the Yampa Bench Road, we continued on until we reached the paved Harpers Corner Drive. We took this road out to Harpers Corner where we took the short hike at the end. On the way back we stopped at a few of the overlooks along the way. We took a right onto the gravel Blue Mountain Road and headed southwest into Utah where we eventually met up with US 40 again.

Our next stop was at the Utah ‘temporary’ Visitors Center where we actually got to see a few real dinosaur bones. We had a nice chat with the ranger there, who gave us a lot of great information for future trips this way. We were thinking about hiking to some more dinosaur bones near the closed Dinosaur Quarry, but the weather got worse and it started to rain, so we cancelled that idea. Instead, we took the paved auto tour though this part of the park that lies to the south of Split Mountain.

It was starting to get late and we were hungry by the time we finished the auto tour, so we made our way to Vernal for the evening, where we had hotel reservations for the night.

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