Dinosaurland and Eastern Utah

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Dinosaurland and Eastern Utah - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Dry Fork Canyon

    An impressive array of Native American petroglyphs and pictographs adorn the 200-foot-high cliffs in Dry Fork Canyon, making the 22-mile round-trip drive from Vernal well worth your time. Two trails leading to the rock art are on McConkie Ranch, a privately owned property that asks only for a $5 per vehicle donation and respect for the site. Make sure to bring sturdy shoes because both short paths have steep and rough spots. If you call the ranch's number, Jean McConkie McKenzie, who was born and still lives here, will show you her collection of arrowheads and antiques. Her mother, Sadie, first opened the rock art to the public in 1930.

    3500 Dry Fork Canyon Rd., Vernal, Utah, 84078, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $5 per vehicle donation requested
  • 2. Mirror Lake Scenic Byway

    This scenic road begins in Kamas and winds its way up to the High Uinta country. The 65-mile drive follows Highway 150 through heavily wooded canyons past mountain lakes and peaks, cresting at 10,687-foot Bald Mountain Pass. Because of heavy winter snows, much of the road is closed from October to June. A three-day pass is required to use facilities in the area. You can purchase a pass at self-serve sites along the way, or at the Chevron, Kamas Food Town, or Samak Smoke House in Kamas. You can buy a guide to the byway from the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest's Kamas Ranger District office in Kamas.

    50 E. Center St., Kamas, Utah, 84036, USA
    435-783–4338-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Kamas Ranger District

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $6 for 3-day pass
  • 3. Nine Mile Canyon

    The hundreds of petroglyphs etched into the boulders and cliffs of Nine Mile Canyon may be one of the world's largest outdoor art galleries. They're attributed to the Fremont and Ute peoples, who lived in much of what is now Utah more than a thousand years ago. The canyon also shelters the remnants of many early homesteads, stage stops, and ranches. It's important not to touch the fragile rock art because oils from your fingers can damage them. The scenic drive through Nine Mile Canyon spans about 100 miles round-trip.

    Nine Mile Canyon Rd., Price, Utah, 84501, USA
  • 4. Quarry Exhibit Hall

    The Monument's astoundingly large collection of fossils was discovered by Earl Douglass in 1909, when he stumbled upon eight enormous dinosaur vertebrae exposed on a sandstone ridge. Although most of the park's acreage is in Colorado, the Utah side features its prime attraction: the Quarry Exhibit Hall. Here you can view more than 1,500 genuine fossils, displayed in their original burial positions in an excavated river bed, several stories high, 150-feet long, and now enclosed by a large, airy museum. A "touch wall" allows you to run your hands over some of the ancient bones, and various displays and dinosaur replicas help you put the jumble of bones in their prehistorical context. Before going to the Exhibit Hall, stop by the Quarry Visitor Center near the Monument's west entrance. There you can view a short video and see displays that give an overview of the site and its paleontological significance. Then hop a shuttle (in summer) or drive (in winter) up to the Exhibit Hall. Use one of the interactive kiosks to identify the massive bones embedded in the wall, or, better yet, flag down a ranger, who can add interesting tidbits about the bones and their excavation.

    Hwy. 149, 20 miles east of Vernal, Dinosaur National Monument, Utah, 84035, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $25 per vehicle to enter monument
  • 5. San Rafael Swell Recreation Area

    Tremendous geological upheavals pushed through the Earth's surface eons ago, forming a giant oval-shape dome of rock about 80 miles long and 30 miles wide, giving rise to the name "swell." Over the years, the harsh climate beat down the dome, eroding it into a wild array of multicolor sandstone and creating buttes, pinnacles, mesas, and canyons that spread across nearly 1 million acres—an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Swell offers visitors spectacular sights similar to those in Utah's national parks but without the crowds. In the northern Swell, the Wedge Overlook peers into the Little Grand Canyon with the San Rafael River below, for one of the most scenic vistas in the state. The strata at the edges of the southern Swell are angled nearly vertical, creating the San Rafael Reef. Both are known for fantastic hiking, canyoneering, and mountain biking. As recently as 2018, proposals have been made to designate the Swell a national monument; until then, the San Rafael Swell remains one of the little-known natural wonders of the American West. Interstate 70 bisects the San Rafael Swell and is the only paved road in the region. Although there are many off-road opportunities, the main gravel road and many of the graded dirt roads through the Swell are accessible to two-wheel-drive vehicles. The Swell is about 25 miles south of Price (typically considered the main gateway to the Swell), and the setting is so remote that it's essential you bring whatever supplies you might need, including plenty of water, food, and a spare tire. For directions on how to access the San Rafael Swell viewing area from Green River, turn to the Green River section of the Moab and Southeastern Utah chapter.  Always keep your wits about you, as flash flooding can be deadly, especially in the Swell's narrow slot canyons.

    125 S. 600 W, Price, Utah, 84501, USA
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  • 6. Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum

    Around 150 million years ago, this was the stomping ground of dinosaurs, and you can see rock samples, fossils, Fremont and Ute nation artifacts, and a viewing lab where you can watch paleontologists restore actual fossils. The biggest attraction for kids is undoubtedly the outdoor Dinosaur Garden with its 18 life-size models of prehistoric creatures, including a T. rex and a woolly mammoth. The Field House also doubles as a visitor center for all of Dinosaurland, so stop here for maps and guides for the entire area.

    496 E. Main St., Vernal, Utah, 84078, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $8
  • 7. Browns Park Recreation Area

    If you're looking for a glimpse of the Wild West, head to Browns Park. Lying along a quieter stretch of the Green River and extending into Colorado, this area features plenty of high-desert scenery, a national waterfowl refuge, and a history complete with notorious outlaws of the late 1800s. You can explore several buildings on the John Jarvie Historic Ranch site and visit the museum, where a video details the ranch's history. Buildings date from 1880 to the early 1900s, and there's also a cemetery containing the graves of a few men who met violent ends nearby. In addition to his ranch, Jarvie ran a post office, store, and river ferry, and his spread was a major hideout on the so-called Outlaw Trail. The area also includes several campgrounds, OHV (off-highway vehicle) trails, and river-rafting opportunities. Reach Browns Park by driving 65 miles north of Vernal on U.S. 191, then 22 miles east on a gravel road, following signs to the ranch.

    Browns Park Rd., Browns Park, Utah, 84078, USA
    435-885–3307-John Jarvie Ranch

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 8. Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry at Jurassic National Monument

    Paleontologists and geologists have excavated more than 12,000 dinosaur bones from the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, making this the densest concentration of Jurassic fossils ever found. Since the quarry's discovery by herders in the 1920s, scores of dinosaur remains have been uncovered here, and much of what the world knows about the Allosaurus was discovered on these grounds. Although many of the bones found in the quarry now reside in museums around the world, a trip to the remote landscape surrounding the quarry pit is worth the journey. Paleontologists still come here for digs every year. The visitor center, which generates its own electricity from rooftop solar panels, has a reconstructed dinosaur skeleton and exhibits about the quarry, and the area has some short hiking trails. The center is 15 miles on a gravel road from the nearest services, so bring food and water and dress for desert conditions. It's 33 miles south of Price: take Highway 10 south to the Cleveland/Elmo turnoff and follow the signs. There's free admission for ages 15 and younger.

    Off Hwy. 10, Price, Utah, 84518, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $5, Closed Mon.–Wed. and Nov.–Mar.
  • 9. Cub Creek Road

    This scenic 20-mile round-trip drive goes from the Quarry Visitor Center east to the Josie Morris Cabin. Josie's sister, Ann Bassett, was reputedly the "Etta Place" of Butch Cassidy legends. Morris lived alone for 50 years at her isolated home. Along the drive, watch for ancient rock art, geological formations, views of Split Mountain, the Green River, and hiking trails. The route is dubbed the "Tour of the Tilted Rocks" in the $1 guidebook sold at the visitor center.

    Dinosaur National Monument, Utah, 84035, USA
  • 10. Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum

    This museum provides a window into the daily lives of the pioneers. The large collection of artifacts (most donated by descendants of the area's early settlers) range from a working loom to guns to a mortician's tools. Most everything is displayed in period rooms, including a shop, a house, and a doctor's office.

    186 S. 500 W, Vernal, Utah, 84078, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Sept.–May and Sun.–Tues.
  • 11. Flaming Gorge–Uintas National Scenic Byway

    Past Red Fleet Reservoir north of Vernal, U.S. 191 begins to ascend the eastern flank of the Uinta uplift as you head toward Flaming Gorge. The section of U.S. 191 and Highway 44 between Vernal and Manila, Utah, is known as the Flaming Gorge–Uintas National Scenic Byway. Within a distance of 30 miles the road passes through 18 uptilted geologic formations, including the billion-year-old exposed core of the Uinta Mountains, with explanatory signs. The route also provides plenty of opportunity for wildlife-watching and fossil hunting, with several nature trails. Before setting out, pick up a guide at the Utah Field House of Natural History.

    U.S. 191, Vernal, Utah, USA
  • 12. Helper's Mining & Railroad Museum

    Located within the old Hotel Helper in the town's National Historic District, this excellent museum doubles as a visitor center. A labyrinth of rooms spread over four floors depict everyday activities of Helper's past and include uncountable trinkets, toys, clothing, and tools from the various businesses and homes here. Some visitors come just for the incredible historic photographs, including several by Dorothea Lange of a nearby coal camp in the 1930s. The museum also features one of the best collections in the state of WPA paintings from Utah artists, including Price's own Lynn Fausett. An exhibit on railroad and mining equipment is located outdoors.

    294 S. Main St., Helper, Utah, 84526, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $8 suggested donation, Closed Sun.
  • 13. Indian Canyon Scenic Byway

    This section of U.S. 191 climbs north from the Price and Helper vicinity, cresting at Indian Creek Pass at an elevation of 9,100 feet. It then begins a long descent into the Uinta Basin area, ending at Duchesne. The winding, 43-mile route takes you through canyons, over plateaus, and into the heart of the geology and natural beauty that define this part of Utah. Take it slow and watch for fallen rocks and rockslides, which often litter the road. There are plenty of scenic viewpoints along the way. Expect at least one hour of driving.

    U.S. 191, Helper, Utah, USA
  • 14. Island Park Road

    A scenic drive on the unpaved Island Park Road, along the northern edge of the park, passes not only some impressive Fremont petroglyph panels but also the Rainbow Park Campground, a beautiful place to spend a night or two on the banks of the Green River. Be sure to check with the visitor center about road conditions as it can be impassable when wet and there is no winter maintenance.

    Dinosaur National Monument, Utah, 84035, USA
  • 15. Mirror Lake

    A mile north of the crest of Bald Mountain Pass on Highway 150, this is arguably the best known lake in the High Uintas Wilderness. At an altitude of 10,000 feet, it offers a cool respite from summer heat. It's easy to reach by car, and families enjoy fishing, hiking, and camping along its rocky shores. Its campgrounds provide a base for hikes into the surrounding mountains, and the Uinta Highline Trail accesses the 460,000-acre High Uintas Wilderness Area to the east.

    UT 150, mile marker 32, Utah, USA
  • 16. Ouray National Wildlife Refuge

    Established in 1960, this refuge consists of 11,987 acres of land along the Green River. Here you can see more than 200 species of migratory birds in spring and fall, mule deer and golden eagles year-round, and bald eagles in early winter. An information kiosk at the refuge has a bird checklist and other leaflets. The best times to visit are in the early morning and early evening. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.

    19001 E. Wildlife Refuge Rd., off Hwy. 88, Randlett, Utah, 84063, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Visitor center is closed weekends, though the park is open daily
  • 17. Outlaw Trail Theater

    In late June and early July, enjoy musicals, melodramas, or comedies under the stars. Shows typically run Monday through Saturday.

    302 E. 200 S, Vernal, Utah, 84078, USA
  • 18. Price Mural

    The 200-foot-long mural inside the Price Municipal Building is a visual narration of the history of the town and of Carbon County, beginning with the first trappers and white settlers. The painting took artist Lynn Fausett almost four years to complete back in the late 1930s.

    200 E. Main St., Price, Utah, 84501, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 19. Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area

    A scenic 13-mile drive on paved and gravel roads crosses the Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area, which is full of upturned layers of rock, craggy pinnacles, and hoodoos. Watch for a herd of bighorn sheep, as well as a popular cave alongside the road. In the fall, salmon return to Sheep Creek to spawn; a kiosk and several bridges provide unobtrusive viewing. The area, 28 miles west of Greendale Junction off U.S. 191 and Highway 44, is open from May to October.

    Forest Service Rd. 218, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Wyoming, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Nov.–Apr.
  • 20. Spirit Lake Scenic Backway

    This 17-mile round-trip add-on to the Sheep Creek Canyon Loop road leads past the Ute Lookout Fire Tower, which was in use from the 1930s through the 1960s.

    Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Wyoming, USA

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