149 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed Colorado and Utah at the convergence of the Green and Yampa rivers. Their fossilized bones are visible in the cliff face at Quarry Exhibit Hall in Dinosaur National Monument.
The mountains, deserts, and rivers of Colorado and Utah support a wide variety of life just as it did millions of years ago. Early native peoples left behind petroglyphs on the rock faces to document what they saw. As European settlers, homesteaders and outlaws also left their mark on the area.
So if your passion is science, adventure, history, or scenery, Dinosaur National Monument has something for you.
Quarry Exhibit Hall: The Quarry Exhibit Hall is an enclosure that you can view approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones in a comfortable space. On display are many different species of dinosaurs including Allosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, and Stegosaurus, to name a few.
The exhibits include an 80-foot long mural that tells the story of these dinosaurs that lived in the area during the late Jurassic period. They even have several exhibts where you can touch a 149 million-year-old dinosaur fossil.
River Rafting: The area has remote canyons and wilderness where you can river raft on the Green and Yampa rivers.
Camping: The monument has a total of six campgrounds giving visitors a variety of camping options.
Hiking: If you are into hiking, the area offers numerous trails and is a great way to view the scenery and rugged landscape of Dinosaur National Monument.
Petroglyphs: The park also preserves traces left by early native peoples who lived in the area. Several petroglyph sites are easy to access from the main road.
History of the Dinosaur National Monument
- August 17, 1909: Earl Douglass, Carnegie Museum paleontologist, discovers eight vertebrae of an Apatosaurus, the first skeleton discovered and excavated at the Dinosaur Quarry
- October 4, 1915: President Woodrow Wilson signs presidential proclamation establishing 80 acres surrounding the Dinosaur Quarry as Dinosaur National Monument
- July 14, 1938: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Presidential proclamation expanding monument by approximately 200,000 acres to include the canyons of the Green and Yampa rivers
- June 1, 1958: Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center is dedicated and opened to the public
- September 8, 1960: Congress adjusts and affirms Dinosaur National Monument’s boundaries, giving the monument additional statutory protection beyond that afforded by the 1915 and 1938 presidential proclamations
- 1965: Monument Headquarters Visitor Center and Harpers Corner tour road are dedicated and opened to the public
- December 4, 1974: President Gerald Ford recommends to Congress that 165,341 acres of Dinosaur National Monument be added to the National Wilderness Preservation System
- May 11, 1978: An enlarged wilderness recommendation for 205,672 acres is sent to Congress, and becomes Dinosaur’s official Recommended Wilderness
- October 4, 2011: The Quarry Exhibit Hall and Quarry Visitor Center are reopened after a 5½ year closure.