Dinosaur National Monument is a quarry of thousands of dinosaur fossils, Fremont petroglyphs, and more near Vernal, Utah and Dinosaur, Colorado.
Take UT-149 about 25 minutes east of Vernal, Utah or 30 minutes northwest of Dinosaur, Colorado. This is near the Yampa and Green Rivers. The dinosaur fossils are only on the Utah side.
Wall of Bones at the Quarry
The main attraction at Dinosaur National Monument is the “Wall of Bones” Quarry Exhibit Hall. The dinosaur fossil beds were discovered in 1909 by paleontologist Earl Douglass. Around 1,500 dinosaur bones were found in here. This includes the remains of numerous species, such as Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, and Stegosaurus.
Nearly 150 million years ago, this area was a river bed. Dinosaurs gathers here to drink and in times of drought, they died. In years of heavy rains, the bones were pushed downstream and covered in sediment. Now there is an incredible collection of bones all in one place!
Begin your tour at the Dinosaur National Monument Quarry Visitor Center. From here there are shuttles to drive the short distance to the Quarry Exhibit Hall.
This new Quarry Exhibit Hall was built in 2011 after the old one had structural issues.
There are many smaller exhibits in and around the Quarry Exhibit Hall.
The highlight is the Wall of Bones, which is a giant rock layer 150 feet long and 45 feet high that contains all the bones!
There are even some dinosaur bones that you are invited to touch!
Swelter Shelter Petroglyphs
The Swelter Shelter Petroglyphs are only a few minutes from the Quarry Visitor’s Center.
The walk is a flat 200 feet to the collection of Fremont Petroglyphs. Here are some of the details.
Cub Creek Petroglyphs
Another 15 minutes down the road is the Cub Creek Petroglyphs.
These are less than 50 feet off the road.
Josie Morris Cabin
Another few minutes down the road is the Josie Morris Homestead. She built the cabin in 1924 and it is quite well preserved.
It was fun to explore the interior and neighboring grounds.
There are informational panels.
There is also a small hike along the Hog Canyon and Box Canyon Trail. I wish we would have had time to hike it.
If you have more time on your visit you can also explore Harper’s Corner and other areas in Dinosaur National Monument.
Seasons to hike – Year-Round
Permits needed – $20 per car for a 7-day pass (or a National Parks Pass)
Pets allowed – No