repository of ancient bones straddles the Utah/Colorado
border near Vernal, Utah. The park headquarters and
visitor center are just across the border in Colorado, on
Highway 40. There are four entrances to the Monument,
although the two most popular sites are in the south off
Highway 40. This is a vast arid country of high cliffs,
rolling uplands, deep gorges and whirlpools.
to See & Do
is now the national monument was a river in ancient
times. In the sands of this former river are the
fossilized remains of creatures far older than the
dinosaur. In this area, the prehistoric Fremont people
lived and carved their rock pictures on the cliffs some
3,000 years ago. Paleontologist Earl Douglass came to the
area in 1908, searching for dinosaur remains. He wasn't
disappointed for in 1909 he saw tail bones from a
brontosaurus. Thousands of bones and several almost
complete skeletons have been taken from the sands of the
Quarry Site, near Vernal, was declared a national
monument in 1915. A tour bus takes visitors to the
Quarry, where the quarry building is a gallery --
displaying the sandstone face of the cliff, with its bone
bearing layer. During summer months, paleontologists
continue to work on uncovering dinosaur bones and are on
hand to interpret the Quarry exhibit.
monument also includes the canyons of the Yampa and Green
rivers and this area is reached by driving into Colorado
and turning off Hwy. 40 and heading north along the
Harper's Corner Scenic Drive, to the Canyon
Overlook and beyond to the Island Park and Iron Springs
overlooks. At the end of the Scenic Drive is Harriers
Corner, where you can walk a trail to catch dramatic
views of the canyons below.
Deerlodge Park access gate is farther east in Colorado,
north of Hwy. 40. This is a summer only route. The
northern viewpoint, Gates of Lodore, is reached via
Highway 318 -- from either Utah or Colorado.
with four-wheel-drive and high clearance cars may wish to
drive the 13 miles of Echo Park Road which leads
west from the Harper's Corner Drive. This spectacular
hack country drive leads to yet more canyon views.
Beware: this hackroad is not driveable when wet.
campsites are available inside the monument. Split
Mountain Campground, open year round, is near the
Quarry at the Utah end of the monument. The Green
River Campground -- a summer operation -- is also in
this area. Primitive campgrounds are located at Echo
Park, Gates of Lodore and Deerlodge Park.
and other accommodations are available in nearby