VISITATION: Most people visit the monument in June, July, and August. One of the charms of Dinosaur National Monument is its uncrowded and easy going atmosphere. The best weather is in September and early October.
LOCATION: Dinosaur National Monument is located in northwest Colorado and northeast Utah, straddling the border of these states. About two-thirds of the park is in Colorado. Dinosaur is 210,000 acres in size; plenty of room for you to find solitude, magnificent scenery, hike a wild landscape, and renew your relationship with nature.
4545 E. Highway 40
Dinosaur, CO 81610-9724
OPERATING HOURS: Open 24 hours a day, year-round
Headquarters Visitor Center: Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and is closed on federal holidays during fall, winter, and spring months. Open 8 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on weekends during summer.
Trails, auto tours, campgrounds, and backcountry areas are open all the time except when limited by weather conditions.
CLIMATE & RECOMMENDED CLOTHING: Dinosaur’s climate is semiarid. In the summer it is hot (95 degrees), but the evenings are cool (lower 50s). During the summer, occasional afternoon thunderstorms occur. Elevations within the park vary between 4500 and 9000 feet. Thus, a hot summer day can be pleasantly cool at Harpers Corner, which is at a higher elevation. During winter, most moisture falls as snow and temperatures are often cold.
The arid, often hot summer climate means you should always carry and drink water. During summer it is wise to wear broad-brimmed hat and carry sun screen.
Visitors should wear clothing appropriate for the season and activity in which they are participating. A good strategy is to wear clothing in layers. Suitable footwear for hiking in rough terrain is important.
DIRECTIONS: Locate and travel to U.S. Highway 40.
Monument Headquarters and Visitor Center is 1 mile east of Dinosaur, Colorado, just off US 40. This is the center for information on the canyon country of the park. There are no dinosaur bones in this area.
TRANSPORTATION: There are no transportation services to the park such as a taxi or bus. You must have your own transportation. For private river runners vehicle and passenger shuttle service is available from Wilkins Bus lines (435) 789-2476 and River Runners Transport (435) 781-1120.
FEES, COSTS & RATES: The park entrance fee is $10.00 per vehicle. Special fees for commercial tours and buses apply. Phone (435) 789-8277 for an educational group entrance fee waiver or more detailed information.
Camping fees vary depending on the season and facilities. Be prepared to pay from $6.00 to $12.00 per night. Rates for the reservation-only group campsites at Split Mountain group campground are higher. For more information on campgrounds see the Camping Facilities section.
Fees and noncommercial river permits are required for private white water river trips on the Green and Yampa rivers within the park. For information on fees, equipment and experience requirements, and how to apply for the permit lottery, call (970) 374-2468.
FACILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Visitor Center/Exhibits: Headquarters Visitor Center contains exhibits on what to do, river canyons, and human history of the park. There is a 10-minute orientation slide program and book store.
Trails, Roads: Desert Voices Nature Trail is near the Dinosaur Quarry. It is 1 1/2 miles long and is moderately difficult. The trail is an introduction to issues and management of Dinosaur N.M. and has trail signs for kids, written and illustrated by kids.
Sound of Silence Route is near the Dinosaur Quarry. It is 3 miles long and difficult to hike. You will learn to find low impact hiking routes in the backcountry and how to hike safely. This is a great route to experience silence.
Cold Desert Trail located at Monument Headquarters. It is 1/2 mile long and an easy walk. The trail is an introduction to flora and fauna of the desert shrub community.
Plug Hat Trail is along the Harpers Corner Road. It is 1/4 mile in length and an easy walk. The trail is an introduction to flora and fauna of the pinion and juniper forest community and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
Harpers Corner Trail is at the end of Harpers Corner Road. It is 1 1/2 miles in length and moderately difficult. The trail is an introduction to dramatic geologic features and leads to breathtaking views of the canyons of the Green and Yampa rivers.
Gates of Lodore Trail is at the end of the campground road at the Gates of Lodore. It is 1 mile in length and an easy walk. The trail offers spectacular views of the river gorge and introduces you to some of the plants and geology of the area.
Lodging and camping facilities: There is no lodging in Dinosaur National Monument. There is, however, camping. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Green River Campground ($12 per night) usually does not fill up during the summer. Limit of stay is 14 days. Vehicles or trailers in excess of 35 feet are prohibited. No RV hookups. Water is turned off in the fall to prevent freeze-up and is turned on in the spring. When water is not available, a camping fee is not charged. Green River Campground has one wheelchair accessible site.
Groups can reserve a group campsite at the Split Mountain Group Campground in the spring and summer months. The group campground contains four sites, water, and modern restrooms. Sites are available only by reservation (fee required). Phone (435) 789-8277 for information and to make a reservation.
Food/supplies: No food, beverage or other supplies are available within the monument. Full services are available in Vernal, Utah and Craig and Rangely, Colorado. Limited supplies and services are available in Dinosaur, Browns Park and Maybell, Colorado, and Jensen, Utah.
Other Concessions/NPS-Managed Visitor Facilities and Opportunities:
The nonprofit Dinosaur Nature Association operates bookstores at Monument Headquarters. To order materials or a catalog phone (800) 845-DINO. We recommend you review the following information before you visit:
Park approved commercial river concessionaires provide one day and multi-day white water river trips down the Green and Yampa rivers. River trips are one of the best ways to experience the monument.
Accessibility: The Monument Headquarters Visitor Center is fully accessible. Primitive accessible toilet facilities are available at Lodore Campground and at the end of Harpers Corner Road. A fully accessible campsite is located at Green River Campground. There is an accessible trail at the Plug Hat picnic area.
RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES & PARK USE: The resources of Dinosaur are so varied and numerous that there is something here to interest and surprise almost anyone. Activities range from bird watching, photography, sightseeing and fishing to general sloth and lollygagging; from sight seeing by car to walking, backpacking, and white water river running.
For commercial concession river trips: Reservations are strongly recommended, walk-ins for day trips are often available.
The following activities require a permit:
Private noncommercial river permit phone (970) 374-2468.
Backcountry camping and horse packing permit phone (970) 374-3000.
Research collecting permit phone (970) 374-3000.
Special events permit phone (970) 374-3000.
Commercial photography or filming permit phone (435) 789-2115 ex 4002.
Commercial activity permit phone (970) 374-3019.
BASIC VISIT RECOMMENDATIONS:
On arrival at Dinosaur you will be disappointed if you do not allow a full day to a week for your visit. Drive the Tour of the Tilted Rocks auto tour which begins near the Quarry. The drive takes 1 to 2 hours and will allow you to begin to appreciate the beauty of the park. To see rugged and spectacular canyon landscapes drive the Journey Through Time auto tour which begins at Monument Headquarters and takes 2 to 4 hours to complete.
Explore for hidden surprises in the Deerlodge area. After the middle of July, the Deerlodge Campground is one of the quietest places in the park. Angling for catfish, visiting the many historic cabins in the area, and hiking into Disappointment Draw are activities to soothe the soul.
Become absorbed by the alternating sun and shadow, calm and wind of Steamboat Rock in Echo Park. Ponder the ancients or a fat trout in Jones Hole. Adventure out the mysteries and unsurpassed views of the primitive Yampa Bench Road.
Spend the night at the Gates of Lodore Campground in Browns Park, a quiet, little-used campground. Lodore and Browns Park are remote areas, often overlooked by visitors. The imposing red, vertical rocks of Lodore Canyon loom on the horizon of the gentle Browns Park valley. Tucked away aloof, and hidden, are petroglyphs, historic copper mine coke ovens, an historic cemetery, a swinging bridge over Green River, Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge, and the reconstructed historic Jarvie Ranch which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Jones Hole canyon, originally cleft by a geologic fault, is today caressed by a crystal clear, spring-fed creek. A well placed artificial lure or fly could bring a battle (special fishing regulations apply and a Utah license is required). Jones Hole is one of the prettiest spots in the park. A fish hatchery, petroglyphs, waterfall and more await. This is a great place for a family to spend the day.