Dinosaur National Monument

Trekked to this National Monument in Vernal, Utah. This area is one of the world’s richest beds of dinosaur fossils from the Jurassic Period dating 150 million years ago. The tour starts at the Visitor Center with a tram taking patrons to the fossil building.

Visitor Center

Once inside the fossil wall reveals various dinosaur bones imbedded in stone. The exploration of this area for dinosaur bones came from Andrew Carnegie’s desire to have a dinosaur collection in his Pittsburgh Natural History Museum. In 1909, Earl Douglass was sent to explore the area after a survey indicated the possibility of dinosaur remains. Bones were found on August 17, 1909, and within 5 days scores of people came to view the find.

Fossil Wall

Visitors are able to touch a dinosaur bone which is quite a thrill for young ones, and old ones as well..

In this area a shallow sea once covered the region with much fish. Rocks date to 104 million years ago. Other interesting facts from the displays:

  • 4 million years ago the first humans in Africa
  • Dinosaurs extinction occurred 65 million years ago
  • Shallow seas covered Utah 95 million years ago
  • Flowering plants evolved 140 million years ago
  • Sauropod Dinosaurs dominated 150 million years ago

There is a 40 minute hike from the fossil building to the visitor parking through fossil areas. While the hike is essentially flat wear sneakers, a hat, and bring water. There is signage explaining the fossils in the rocks, however, I was unable to locate these fossils. The Fremont Indians did carve petroglyphs in some of the rocks, see below.

After the hike take the 10 mile scenic drive through the Park. There are several hiking trails, and a campground on this drive. The Park extends into Colorado where there are river trips and a campground as well. This is known as the Canyon Visitor Center, however, no fossils are located here.

Rock formations seen on the 10 mile scenic drive.

The Turtle

What a pleasant visit.

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