Covering 210,000 acres of canyon country in Colorado and Utah, Dinosaur National Monument is an archeological, scenic, and cultural wonder. The Green and Yampa rivers form spectacular canyons, which are home to cliffside dinosaur remains and ancient Native American petroglyphs and pictographs. Visitors can see these sites by hiking down into the canyon, strolling along the rim or booking a rafting trip with a local outfitter. Just remember, this is desert country, so summers are brutally hot and winters bitterly cold.

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Green River in Dinosaur National Monument Chris M Morris
Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. Photo Credit: Chris M Morris

History:

Some 150 million years ago, the area was a lush jungle home to many dinosaur species. More “recently,” it has been visited by humans for at least 10,000 years, and the area became a national monument in 1915 to protect fossil quarries.

RELATED: Did you know that Colorado has a State Dinosaur?

What You’ll Find at Dinosaur National Monument:

Along the rivers, expect to see stunning canyons and experience everything from gentle floats to exciting whitewater. Along the canyon rims, you’ll find long views, scenic drives and, at the Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall, more than 1,500 fossils.

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Yampa River Canyon - Dinosaur National Monument. Photo Credit: John Fielder - OutThere Colorado.
Yampa River Canyon – Dinosaur National Monument. Photo Credit: John Fielder

Fun Fact:

In the 1950s, the federal government proposed a dam that would have flooded much of the National Monument. The ensuing fight became a victory for conservationists and set a precedent for protecting such places from dam construction.

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Most Accessible Hiking Trail:

The Harper’s Corner Trail, which starts at the end of Harper’s Corner Road, is a moderate three miles round-trip on mostly level ground. The end of the trail features an overlook with sweeping views of the Green River canyon network 2,500 feet below.

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