OK, I'll confess. The greatest-named town in Colorado, Dinosaur, is…not really that cool. A couple of rundown, abandoned dinos-made-of-cement parks and well, not much else to write home about. The good news? You're super close to Dinosaur National Monument and it's grrrrrreat!
To be honest, I wasn't expecting much. The National Park Service does dinos? How would that even work? However, I sensed we were on the right track to something cool earlier in the day as we passed through towns that had added dinosaurs to every sign possible (pictures above). When we finally arrived at the main NPS Dinosaur National Monument visitor center (visitor center…like in Jurassic Park!), I could tell the trip was going to be totally worth it.
I'll quickly add that Dinosaur National Monument is a giant and amazing park even without the dinosaurs - hiking, biking, camping, rafting, you name it. It stretches across the border of Utah & Colorado. The Yampa & Green rivers cut through the park and leave steep cliffs and white-watery goodness all over the place. But come on, we're here on this trip for one thing…dinosaurs! Just like in Jurassic Park, there's a little anticipation that builds after the visitor center…no fossils yet...they put you on a trolley!
This is where the magic happens - the Quarry Exhibit Hall. If your trolley doesn't get bulldozed by a T-rex on the way up the hill, you'll make it to this fancy building built literally on the side of a mountain…a mountain side full of dinosaur fossils and real live paleontologists digging…spared no expense!
Park rangers are all about the place answering questions and laser pointing cool stuff on the fossil wall. Some fossils you're even allowed to touch! Some skeletons are assembled opposite the wall and more are in giant slabs.
Our minds are officially blown. The park is amazing and worth the trek over from Moab, even with the not-so-great Dinosaur, Colorado detour. Next tour through dino country we're definitely driving the entire dinosaur diamond…until then, the road trip continues!!!
~Paul & Amber ETC
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway
Our full road trip route
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