Dinosaur National Monument. On the northwestern edge of Colorado in Dinosaur National Monument, a 2,500-foot gash known as the Yampa River Canyon winds through sky-scraping red-sandstone cliffs that were virtually unexplored until 1928.
Dinosaur National Monument is a 2,500-foot canyon on the northwestern edge of Colorado. It’s an incredibly scenic area that was virtually unexplored until 1928.
The unique places with a history, culture, and memories of the country’s early days often get lost among all the hustle and bustle. Thanks to those first adventurers who made it out to Yampa River Canyon.
Yampa River Canyon became a protected area thanks to those first explorers who paddled the river and shared their stories and photographs. This ultimately led to a presidential proclamation by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who named the 210,000-acre river corridor in 1938 the Yampa Valley National Monument.
If you love adventure, you’ll be excited to hear what happened next: the publicity sparked a new breed of outdoor recreationists who wanted to try out Colorado’s rapids as a recreational activity. Today, several outfitters, including Hometown Rafting, offer guided trips down the Yampa River and the Green River. However, availability is limited, so competition is fierce.
The publicity the Dinosaur raft company received enticed thrill seekers to plan a ride down the river. This was the beginning of Colorado’s whitewater rafting industry. Today, you can still float down the Class III-IV Yampa river with various outfitters or get your permit through a lottery system; however, availability is limited, so competition is fierce.
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THINGS TO DO AT DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
Have you visited the Colorado National Monument yet? It’s one of my favorite places to hike, and there are many scenic places with picnic areas near the Canyon Visitor Center. The Monument offers accessible facilities and destinations, including exhibits, pathways, overlooks, picnic areas, campgrounds, and trails. With its many backcountry camping opportunities for experienced backpackers and fishing and horseback riding options allowed in the Monument, this is a great destination.
The Canyons National Park offers many scenic hiking and biking opportunities. The Visitor Center is in the heart of Canyon Country, with easy access to the park’s famous attractions. The Monument has a variety of accessible attractions, including exhibits, paths, overlooks, picnic areas, campgrounds, and trails. Backcountry camping is possible for experienced backpackers, and fishing and horseback riding are permitted in some areas of the Monument. Scenic roads can also take you through the rugged country- Harpers Corner Road being a 32-mile one-way drive with views of the Green and Yampa Rivers and Restarick Mountains.
There are also 1,500 dinosaur fossils embedded in the rock where they were found at the Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall, as well as thousands of ancient petroglyphs left by the Fremont people. See just how tough life was for our ancestors in several ancient pictographs throughout the Monument.
GETTING TO DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
Take east from Dinosaur to get 2 miles to the Canyon Area Visitor Center entrance, which is closed in winter. Go past the park headquarters building and follow Harpers Corner Road for approximately 31 miles, where it ends. Continue on a paved, accessible dirt trail for about .5 miles to a fantastic view of Steamboat Rock and the intersection of the rivers.