Dinosaur National Monument Ready For Spring Visitors

Warmer weather is bringing hikers out to Dinosaur National Monument. NPS photo.

With April having arrived, facilities are opening and visitor center hours are extending at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado.

On the Utah side of the monument, the Quarry Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The visitor center features exhibits, a film, and a sales outlet for the Intermountain Natural History Association; it also serves as the departure point for car caravans to the Quarry Exhibit Hall with its wall of dinosaur fossils.

Caravans leave from the visitor center at scheduled times throughout the day. Visitors must first stop at the visitor center before driving to the Quarry. In addition to the fossil wall, the Quarry Exhibit Hall features exhibits about dinosaurs and other life during the Jurassic Period.

Beginning May 18, the shuttle that transports visitors between the visitor center and exhibit hall will begin operations. For more information about seeing the dinosaur fossils, please visit the monument website or call (435) 781-7700.

The Split Mountain Group and Green River campgrounds are scheduled to begin providing water and restrooms starting Friday, April 12. With the return of water and restroom services, camping fees will be charged. For the Green River Campground, the fee is $12 per night, per site. Each site can accommodate up to 8 people. Reservations are not accepted at this time.

The Split Mountain Group Campground has four group sites. Each site can accommodate up to 25 people and six vehicles. The fee for Split Mountain is $25 per site, per night.

Reservations for the sites at Split Mountain Group Campground are accepted through the online system managed by Recreation.gov or calling 1 (877) 444-6777 (10 a.m. - Midnight, Eastern Time).

The Split Mountain and Green River campgrounds are located approximately four miles east of the Quarry Visitor Center on the Cub Creek road. More information on the campgrounds is available at this site.

Also on the Utah side of the monument, the Cub Creek Road is a 12-mile scenic drive beginning near the Quarry Visitor Center. Visitors in this area can see numerous petroglyph sites, explore the Josie Morris homestead, look for wildlife, or take a hike on several trails.

On the Colorado side of the monument, the Harpers Corner Road will open on Friday, April 12, for the season. The Harpers Corner Road is a scenic 32-mile one way drive that leaves U.S. Highway 40 two miles east of Dinosaur, Colorado.

“Though the road is currently closed to vehicular traffic, bicyclists and hikers may travel on the road,” said Superintendent Mary Risser. “But you should use caution and watch out for any snow removal equipment.”

Cycling on the Harpers Corner Road may give visitors the opportunity to see an array of wildlife, including elk, deer, and grouse. The Canyon Visitor Center, located at the start of the Harpers Corner Road, is currently closed, but will open on Saturdays and Sundays starting April 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and daily beginning on May 24.

While there are no dinosaur fossils in the Colorado portion of the monument, overlooks along the road provide sweeping views of the Uintah Basin and into the canyons of the Green and Yampa Rivers. Several trails provide a closer look not only at the monument’s scenery and but also its plant and animal life.

Dirt roads leading off the Harpers Corner Drive are not maintained and are usually impassable when wet. Check at the visitor center before venturing onto the unpaved roads for road conditions. Visitors venturing into this portion of the monument should check the forecast prior to their visit and be prepared for rapidly changing conditions.

The Gates of Lodore Campground, located 106 miles north of the Canyon Visitor Center on the Green River at the head of Lodore Canyon, is scheduled to begin providing water and restrooms starting May 24. Once the water is turned on, camping fees of $8 per night, per site will be charged.

That date, May 24, is also when water is scheduled to be turned on at the Echo Park Campground, located 38 miles north of the Canyon Visitor Center near where the Yampa River meets the Green River, and at the Deerlodge Park Campground located 53 miles east of the Canyon Visitor Center on the Yampa River at the head of Yampa Canyon. Camping fees for both campgrounds are $8 per night, per site.

Entrance fees for Dinosaur National Monument are as follows: $10 per vehicle, valid for up to seven days; $5 per person for someone on a motorcycle or bicycle. Frequent visitors to the monument may want to purchase a Dinosaur Annual Pass for $20.00, which is great value for those who come often or bring family and friends when visiting the area.

Remember that Dinosaur's weather is unpredictable and can change rapidly. Visitors should always be prepared for a range of conditions.

Wildlife, like deer, elk and bighorn sheep, may be seen along the rivers. Please be alert for animals crossing the roads, particularly at dawn and dusk.