Irish Canyon Campground in the far northwestern corner of Colorado is a lonely camping area in a dramatic and scenic canyon. Irish Canyon is a south to north-trending canyon on the eastern edge of Browns Park, north of Dinosaur National Monument. The primitive BLM campground on the west side of the canyon road has six campsites with picnic tables and fire grates, a vault toilet, but no water. Pack out your trash. Limestone Ridge on the southern end of Cold Springs Mountain defines the west wall of Irish Canyon and 12 distinct geological formations, spanning over 600 million years, are exposed in the canyon. Irish Canyon is named for three Irishmen who robbed a saloon in Rock Springs and hid out in the canyon to drink their spoils. The canyon offers hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, wildlife observation, and Native American rock art.
- Irish Canyon Campground is reached from Maybell and U.S. 40 in northwestern Colorado. Turn north on Colorado Highway 318 and drive 41 miles to Browns Park. Turn right or northeast on Moffat County Road 10N. Drive the dirt road from 4.5 miles to Irish Canyon. The campground is on the west side of the road midway up the canyon.
- There is lots of hiking in the canyon and on the surrounding ridges, but no established trails. Hike to the top of Limestone Ridge on the west for great views. Continue north on the ridge to the summit of 8,636-foot South Limestone Ridge. Other hikes go into the wild Vermillion Creek drainage southeast of Irish Canyon and the five-mile Matt Trail up Cold Spring Mountain.
- Fremont culture petroglyphs are on a sandstone block by the canyon entrance. Park at a pullout on the right side of the road and follow a short trail to a square boulder with rock art on both the sides and top of the boulder. The Fremont images are over 1,000 years old, while more recent ones were made by Ute Indians.
- Browns Park is a great off-the-beaten track place to visit. Highlights are the Gates of Lodore and the Green River on the northern edge of Dinosaur National Monument; Lodore Hall and Cemetery; Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge; a one-lane, eight-foot six-inch wide swinging bridge over the Green River; Crouse and Swallow canyons; and the historic 1880 John Jarvie Homestead.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
—Stewart M. Green