Dinosaur
National Monument
Colorado-Utah
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FLOWING LIVING WILD RIVERS AND CANYONS

Steamboat Rock marks the spectacular meeting place of the Green and Yampa rivers. As the rivers cut deep into the underlying rock layers, they exposed a dramatic geologic history of faults, folds, and uplifts. These events created the colorful array of living landscapes, soils, and water sources that you see today.

Rock layers preserve ancient plant and animal fossils from land and sea. Sandstone cliffs bear perplexing artworks that whisper of a more recent, human past. Falcons soar above waters where rare fish swim and bighorn sheep linger. Such riches led President Franklin Roosevelt, in 1938, to add over 200,000 acres of canyon country to the original 80 acres.

The Green is greatly increased by the Yampa...and the waters waltz their way through the canyon, making their own rippling, rushing, roaring music.

—John Wesley Powell, 1869

BURIED FOSSILIZED EXPOSED ANCIENT LIFE

Dinosaur National Monument includes one of Earth's richest known dinosaur fossil beds. These remains are from the Jurassic period 150 million years ago. During a drought, many dinosaurs died near a river's edge. When rains returned, flood waters carried the jumbled bones of over 500 dinosaurs, representing ten species, here.

Ancient river sediments, now called Morrison sandstone, entombed the dinosaur bones. Minerals then filled the bones (though some organic material survived) and cast them in stone. Erosion eventually exposed the fossils. In 1909 Earl Douglass, of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum, declared this site "the best-looking dinosaur prospect I have ever found."

VISITING DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENTM

park map

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The park straddles the border of Utah and Colorado—a remote area on the edge of the Uinta Basin. Its riches include the namesake Jurassic fossils, multi-hued canyons, and two rivers. Over one billion years, geologic lifting, warping, and erosion created a surprising, varied landscape where many plant and animal species thrive and the remains of ancient life can be seen. The park includes benchlands of the Green and Yampa rivers, which carved the deep canyons that thrill rafters, hikers, and wildlife and scenery lovers.

Accessibility We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information go to a visitor center, ask a ranger, call, or check our website.

Wilderness Over 90 percent of the park is managed as wilderness, a gift to people today and to future generations. A formal designation by Congress as wilderness could protect forever the land's wild character, natural conditions, opportunities for solitude, and scientific, educational, and historical values. In wilderness people can sense being a part of the whole community of life on Earth.

UTAH
Quarry Visitor Center Open year-round, this is the main visitor center. Start here—whether you've come to see dinosaur fossils or to learn about other places to explore.

Quarry Exhibit Hall Marvel at the great wall of bones with over 1,500 fossils embedded in the rock. You can even touch some of the 149-million-year-old fossils. Rangers are on duty to answer questions.

Cub Creek and Split Mountain offer hiking trails, ancient petroglyphs and pictographs, and homesteader cabins.

COLORADO
Canyon Visitor Center Open seasonally, this visitor center, two miles east of Dinosaur, CO, is the gateway to the park's canyon country. It offers a film, bookstore, and information. This part of the monument has no dinosaur fossils.

Harpers Corner Road winds 31 miles across sagebrush-covered plateaus to the brink of sheer-walled canyons. Several overlooks, some featuring trails, provide stunning views. Hike the two-mile round-trip Harpers Corner Trail for a culminating experience. Echo Park and Yampa Bench roads are unpaved and require high-clearance vehicles. Roads may be impassable when wet—ask about current road conditions at a visitor center. Gas, food, lodging, and supplies are unavailable inside the park.

Deerlodge Park, on the monument's eastern end, is the launch point for river trips (permits required) on the naturally flowing Yampa River. Spend a night at the campground and hike the primitive trails in this far corner of the park.

Gates of Lodore at the park's northern tip is the starting place for river trips (permits required) on the Green River. In 1869 John Wesley Powell floated through this dark, foreboding canyon. A majestic view rewards you at the end of a short hike from the campground.

Driving distances to park sites

Quarry Visitor Center to:Canyon Visitor Center to:
Canyon Visitor Center29 mi47 km Quarry Visitor Center29 mi47 km
Deerlodge Park80 mi129 km Deerlodge Park51 ml82 km
Echo Park66 mi106 km Echo Park37 mi60 km
Gates of Lodore135 mi217 km Gates of Lodore106 mi171 km
Harpers Corner60 mi97 km Harpers Corner31 mi50 km
Jones Hole45 mi72 km Jones Hole73 mi117 km
Josie Morris Cabin10 mi16 km Josie Morris Cabin38 mi61 km
Rainbow Park25 mi40 km Rainbow Park46 mi74 km
Ruple Ranch30 mi48 km Ruple Ranch51 mi82 km
Split Mountain4 mi6 km Split Mountain32 mi51 km

Safety and Regulations
Summer temperatures can exceed 100°F, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Carry and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. • Do not disturb or remove natural, historic, or cultural features. • Do not feed, hunt, trap, or harass wildlife. • Pets must be leashed at all times. They are not allowed in public buildings, on most trails, on the river, or in the backcountry.

Never leave pets in vehicles. • Firearms are subject to state law. For regulations check the website. • Off-road driving is illegal. ATVs and UTVs are not permitted on any park roads. • Camp only at designated sites. Permits are required for all overnight backcountry trips and all river trips.

Emergencies call 911

Source: NPS Brochure (2015)


Establishment

Dinosaur National Monument — Oct. 4, 1915


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Brochures ◆ Site Bulletins ◆ Trading Cards expand section

Documents

A New AĆ«tosurian Reptile from the Morrison Formation of Utah (Charles W. Gilmore, extract from Annals of the Carnegie Museum, Vol.16 No. 9, 1926)

A New Species of Apatosaurus (W.J. Holland, extract from Annals of the Carnegie Museum, Vol. 10 Issue 1-2, 1915)

A New Species Camptosaurus (Ornithopoda: Dinosauria) From the Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic) of Dinosaur National Monument, Utah, and A Biomechanical Analysis of Its Forelimb (Kenneth Carpenter and Yvonne Wilson, extract from Annals of Carnegie Museum, Vol. 76 No. 4, February 29, 2008; includes correction, October 15, 2008)

Administrative History: Dinosaur National Monument (R.G. Beidleman, 1968?)

Administrative History: Dinosaur National Monument (R.G. Beidleman, 1968?, retyped 2014 by Beth Sugan, notes added 2021 by Kenneth Carpenter)

"Age of Reptiles": Uncovering the Mesozoic Fossil Record in Three Intermountain National Parks (Vincent L. Santucci, Adam Marsh, William Parker, Dan Chure and Don Corrick, extract from Crossroads in Science, Spring 2018)

Annotated Checklist of Vascular Flora, Dinosaur National Monument NPS Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NCPN/NRTR-2009-225 (Walter Fertig, July 2009)

Archaeological Excavations in Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado-Utah, 1964-1965 University of Colorado Studies Series in Anthropology No. 17 (David A. Breternitz, ed., August 1970)

Archaeological Investigations at Two Sites in Dinosaur National Monument: 42UN1724 and 5MF2645 Selections from the Division of Cultural Resources—Rocky Mountain Region No. 4 (James A. Truesdale, 1993)

Data Recovery at Juniper Ledge Shelter (42UN1724) (James A. Truesdale with Linda Scott Cummings and Clay Johnson, 1993)

Archeological Testing at Site 5MF2645 and Data Recovery of the Pool Creek Burial (James A. Truesdale, 1993)

Bernard DeVoto and His Forgotten Contribution to Echo Park (Glenn Sandiford, extract from Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 59 No. 1, 1991; ©Utah State Historical Society)

Big Rivers Monitoring within Dinosaur National Monument NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NCPN/NRR-2018/1635 (Michael L. Scott, Dustin W. Perkins, David M. Merritt and David J. Cooper, May 2018)

Cranial anatomy of Allosaurus jimmadseni, a new species from the lower part of the Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic) of Western North America (Daniel J. Chure and Mark A. Loewen, extract from PeerJ, 8:e7803, January 24, 2020)

Depositional Environments of the White Rim Sandstone Member of the Permian Cutler Formation, Canyonlands National Park, Utah USGS Bulletin 1592 (Brenda A. Steele, 1987)

Description of a New Species of Tortoise from the Jurassic of Utah (Charles W. Gilmore, extract from Annals of the Carnegie Museum, Vol. 10 Issue 1-2, 1915)

Dinosaur Country (G.E. Untermann and B.R. Untermann, extract from Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 26 No. 3, 1958; ©Utah State Historical Society)

Dinosaur National Monument: Split Mountain Gorge campground: Drill A Test Well: Project Manual (May 28, 1985)

Dinosaur Park History Study (Frank B. Sarles, Jr., 1969)

Dinosaur National Monument: Geological Evaluation Report (2006)

Excavations at Hells Midden, Dinosaur National Monument University of Colorado Studies Series in Anthropology No. 3 (Robert H. Lister, September 1951)

Expedition to the Dinosaur National Monument, Utah (Charles W. Gilmore, extract from Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 10, 1924)

Field notes for a gravity survey in Dinosaur National Monument, Moffat County, Colorado and Uintah County, Utah USGS Open-File Report 88-579 (D.M. Kulik, 1988)

First complete sauropod dinosaur skull from the Cretaceous of the Americas and the evolution of sauropod dentition (Daniel Chure, Brooks B. Britt,, John A. Whitlock and Jeffrey A. Wilson, extract from Narurewissenschaften, January 16, 2010)

Foundation Document, Dinosaur National Monument, Utah-Colorado (July 2015)

Foundation Document Overview, Dinosaur National Monument, Utah-Colorado (March 2016)

General Management Plan, Development Concept Plans, Land Protection Plan, Environmental Assessment: Dinosaur National Monument Review Draft (February 1986)

Geologic Map of Dinosaur National Monument and Vicinity, Utah and Colorado USGS IMAP 1407 (Wallace R. Hansen, Peter D. Rowley and Paul E. Carrara, 1983)

Geologic Resource Evaluation Report, Dinosaur National Monument NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NRPC/GRD/NRR-2006/008 (March 2006)

Historical Aspects of Dinosaur National Monument (Harry B. Robinson, January 1954)

Historic Resources Study: Dinosaur National Monument, Final report (Steven F. Mehls, July 31, 1985)

History, Sedimentology, and Taphonomy of the Carnegie Quarry, Dinosaur National Monument, Utah (Kenneth Carpenter, extract from Annals of Carnegie Museum, Vol. 81 No. 3, May 16, 2013)

Hydrologic Conditions Related to the Hog Canyon Riparian Restoration Project, Dinosaur National Monument NPS Technical Report NPS/NRWRD/NRTR-92/13 (Larry Martin and Joel Wagner, October 1992)

John Jarvie of Brown's Park (HTML edition) Utah BLM Cultural Resources Series No. 7 (William L. Tennent, 1981, reprinted September 1984)

Junior Ranger Book, Dinosaur National Monument (2016)

Koparion douglassi, a New Dinosaur from the Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic) of Dinosaur National Monument; The Oldest Troodontid (Theropoda: Maniraptora) (Daniel J. Chure, extract from BYU Geology Studies, Vol. 40, 1994)

Love Among the Fossils: Earl and Pearl Douglass at Dinosaur National Monument (Susan Rhodes Neel, extract from Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 83 No. 4, Fall 2015; ©Utah State Historical Society)

Museum Management Plan: Dinosaur National Monument (Jonathan Bayless, Kent Bush, Ann Elder, Lynn Marie Mitchell and Marilyn Ostergren, September 2002)

National Register of Historic Places Nomination Forms

Chew Ranch Complex (Steven F. Mehls, June 24, 1985)

Denis Julien Inscription (Steven F. Mehls, June 20, 1985)

Douglass Lab/Office (Steven Mehls, May 13, 1985)

Josie Bassett Morris Cabin (Steven Mehls, May 15, 1985)

Mantle's Cave (Jonathon C. Horn and Alan D. Reed, September 1, 1989)

Quarry Visitor Center (Sara Allaback and Ethan Carr, September 1, 2000)

Upper Wade & Curtis Cabin (Steven Mehls, August 21, 1985)

Natural Resource Condition Assessment, Dinosaur National Monument NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/DINO/NRR-2021/2245 (David S. Jones, Roy Cook, John Sovell, Matt Ley, Jill Handwerk, Hannah Shepler, John Kemper, David Weinzimmer, Carlos Linares and B. Maynard, April 2021)

Neogene Tectonics and Geomorphology of the Eastern Uinta Mountains in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming USGS Professional Paper 1356 (Wallace R. Hansen, 1986)

"Newton Drury and the Echo Park Dam Controversy" (Susan R. Neel, extract from Forest & Conservation History, Vol. 38, No. 2, April 1994; ©Forest History Society and American Society for Environmental History)

On a Newly Mounted Skeleton of Diplodocus in the United States National Museum (Charles W. Gilmore, extract from Proceedings of the National Museum, Vol. 81, 1932)

Osteology of Apatosaurus, with Special Reference to Specimens in the Carnegie Museum (Charles W. Gilmore, extract from Memoirs of the Carnegie Museum, Vol. XI No. 4, 1936)

Osteology of Ornithopdous from the Dinosaur National Monument, Utah (Charles W. Gilmore, extract from Memoirs of the Carnegie Museum, Vol. X No. 4, 1925)

Paleontological Survey of the Jurassic Morrison Formation in Dinosaur National Monument (George F. Engelmann, extract from The UW National Parks Service Research Station Annual Reports, 1990)

Paleontological Survey of the Jurassic Morrison Formation in Dinosaur National Monument (George F. Engelmann, extract from The UW National Parks Service Research Station Annual Reports, 1991)

Paleontological Survey of the Jurassic Morrison Formation in Dinosaur National Monument (George F. Engelmann, extract from The UW National Parks Service Research Station Annual Reports, 1992)

Park Newspaper (Echoes): 1996-19972002-2003

Quarry Visitor Center: Historic Structure Report (October 2003)

Rangeland Health Assessments of Grazing Allotments in Dinosaur National Monument: Focused Condition Assessment Report NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/DINO/NRR-2021/2218 (Kevin Jablonski, Paul Meiman, Miranda Flora, Justin Lambert, Jesse Wooten, Susan Melzer and Tim Covino, January 2021)

Report on Sullys Hill Park, Casa Grande Ruin; the Muir Woods, Petrified Forest, and Other National Monuments, Including List of Bird Reserves: 1915 (HTML edition) (Secretary of the Interior, 1914)

Resource Brief: Invasive Exotic Plant Monitoring at Dinosaur National Monument, 2019 (D.W. Perkins, November 2021)

Rocky Start of Dinosaur National Monument (USA), the World's First Dinosaur Geoconservation Site (Kenneth Carpenter, extract from Geoconservation Research, Vol. 1 No. 1, January-June 2018)

Shaded Relief Map: Dinosaur National Monument, CO, Side Two, Dinosaur National Monument Scale: 1:62,500 (USGS, 1973)

The Archaeology of Castle Park, Dinosaur National Monument University of Colorado Studies Series in Anthropology No. 2 (Robert F. Burgh and Charles R. Scoggin, October 1948)

The Braincase Assigned to the Ornithopod Dinosaur Uteodon McDonald, 2011, Reassigned to Dryosaurus Marsh, 1894: Implications for Iguanodontian Morphology and Taxonomy (Kenneth Carpenter and Matthew C. Lamanina, extract from Annals of Carnegie Museum, Vol. 83 No. 2, November 15, 2015)

The Dinosaur Quarry (HTML edition) Natural History Handbook (John M. Good, Theodore E. White and Gilbert F. Stucker, 1958)

The Dinosaur Quarry Natural History Handbook (John M. Good, Theodore E. White and Gilbert F. Stucker, 1961)

The First Ninety Years of Adventure: The Green River 1776-1869 (F.A. Patterson, 1966)

The Geologic Story of the Uinta Mountains USGS Bulletin 1291 (William R. Hansen, 1975)

The History of a Portion of Yampa River, Colorado, and Its Possible Bearing on that of Green River USGS Professional Paper 90-K (E.T. Hancock, February 20, 1915)

The Morrison Formation Extinct Ecosystem Project: Final Report (December 18, 1998)

Late Jurassic Ecosystem Reconstruction During Deposition of the Morrison Formation and Related Beds in the Western Interior of the United States (Christine E. Turner, Fred Peterson and The Morrison Research Team)

Morrison Vertebrate Paleontology: Final Report (Daniel J. Chure)

Paleosols in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation—Implications for Paleoclimate, Paleohydrology, and Sequence Stratigraphy: Final Report (Timothy M. Demko)

Laustrine Carbonate Deposits in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the Western Interior: Final Report (Stan P. Dunagan)

Stable Isotope Studies in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the Western Interior: Final Report (Douglas D. Ekart and Thure E. Cerling)

A Survey of Paleontological Resources in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation in National Park Service Units of the Western Interior: Final Report (George F. Engelmann)

Paleoenvironmental Implications of Freshwater Gastropod Faunas in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the Western Interior—An Enigma Between Geologic and Biologic Evidence; Final Report (Emmett Evanoff)

Paleontologic Resources in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Curecanti National Recreation Area, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument, Colorado: Final Report (Anthony R. Fiorillo)

Bivalves as Tools for Paleoenvironmental Analysis—Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the Western Interior; Final Report (Steven C. Good)

Synthesis of Terrestrial and Freshwater Trace Fossils, Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, Rocky Mountain Region, UsaƱwhat Organism Behavior Tells Us About Jurassic Environments and Climates: Final Report (Stephen T. Hasiotis)

The Isotopic Age of the Morrison Formation in the Western Interior; Final Report (Bart J. Kowallis, Eric H. Christiansen, Alan L. Deino, Fred Peterson, Christine E. Turner, Michael J. Kunk and John D. Obradovich)

Palynological Evidence on the Age of the Morrison Formation in the Western Interior U.S.; Final Report (Ronald J. Litwin, Christine E. Turner and Fred Peterson)

The Paleoecological Framework of the Upper Part of the Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic), Fruita Paleontological Resource Area, Colorado; Final Report (Dennis L. Newell)

Biostratigraphy, Paleoecology, and Biogeography of Charophytes and Ostracodes from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the Western Interior; Final Report (Michael E. Schudack, Christine E. Turner and Fred Peterson)

Characterization and Paleoenvironmental Interpretation of Pedogenic Carbonate at the Jurassic-Cretaceous Boundary, East-Central Utah and West-Central Colorado; Final Report (Gary L. Skipp)

Stratigraphy of the Morrison Formation and Related Beds in the Western Interior; Final Report (Christine E. Turner and Fred Peterson)

Stratigraphy of the Upper Jurassic Ralston Creek and Morrison Formations Near Denver, Colorado (Fred Peterson and Christine E. Turner)

Biostratigraphy of Dinosaurs in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the Western Interior, USA (Christine E. Turner and Fred Peterson)

Late Jurassic Lacustrine Deposits and Implications for Paleohydrology—Deposition to Early Compaction (Christine E. Turner and Neil S. Fishman)

Conclusions

Publications of the Morrison Research Team

Theropod- and prosauropod-dominated ichnofaunas from the Navajo-Nugget Sandstone (Lower Jurassic) at Dinosaur National Monument: Implications for prosauropod behavior and ecology (Martin G. Lockley, from New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin No. 53, 2011, ©New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, all rights reserved)

Topographic Map: Dinosaur National Monument, CO, Side Two, Dinosaur National Monument Scale: 1:62,500 (USGS, 1983)

Two-Dimensional Computer Modeling of Green River at Dinosaur National Monument and Canyonlands National Park (Dan Gessler and Eric Moser, July 19, 2001)

Utah, the National Park Service, and Dinosaur National Monument, 1909-56 (Mark W.T. Harvey, extract from Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 59 No. 3, 1991; ©Utah State Historical Society)

Ute Ladies'-tresses Orchid (Spiranthes diluvialis Sheviak) Inventory, Dinosaur National Monument and Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge (Judy Ward and Tamara Naumann, 1998)

Vascular Plant Species Discoveries in the Northern Colorado Plateau Network: Update for 2008-2011 NPS Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NCPN/NRTR-2012/582 (Walter Fertig, Sarah Topp, Mary Moran, Terri Hildebrand, Jeff Ott and Derrick Zobell, May 2012)

Vegetation Along Green and Yampa Rivers and Response to Fluctuating Water Levels, Dinosaur National Monument [Final Report] (W. Timothy Fischer, Mollie S. Toll, Anne C. Cully and Loren D. Foster, April 30, 1983)

Vertebrate Paleontology in Utah Utah Geological Survey Miscellaneous Publication 99-1 (David D. Gillette, ed., 1999)

The History of Dinosaur National Monument's Douglass Quarry: The Park Service Years (Ann S. Elder)

Upper Jurassic Lizards from the Morrison Formation of Dinosaur National Monument, Utah (Susan E. Evans and Daniel J. Chure)

Water resources of Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado and Utah USGS Open-File Report 76-580 (C.T. Sumsion, 1976)

Water-resources investigations in Dinosaur National Monument, Utah-Colorado, fiscal year 1970 USGS Open-File Report 71-271 (C.T. Sumsion, 1971)

Yampa and Green Rivers Water Temperature Simulation: Dinosaur National Monument Water Resources Field Support Laboratory Report No. 84-1 (J.S. O'Brien and W.J. Miller, June 1984)

Yampa Canyon in the Uinta Mountains, Colorado USGS Professional Paper 374-I (Julian D. Sears, 1962)



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Dinosaur National Monument



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Last Updated: 28-May-2022