After the longest driving day of the roadtrip, we finally arrive at Dinosaur National Monument...which totally blew away our expectations. Here's a quick run down and pictures of Dinosaur National Monument.

After a very long all day drive from Zion National Park to Dinosaur National Monument (read that story here),  we arrived in the Monument with just a few hours left until closing.  But with hours of daylight left, we rallied and decided that we still had a window to see the sights, before heading to our campground.  This was another one of those parks that we were very, very lucky to get a confirmed campsite, but we only had that site for one night, so we made the most out of the visit.

We started at the Visitors Center. (above)  There’s no driving to the Quarry Exhibit Hall so we quickly boarded the free shuttle bus and wooshed up the grade, not knowing the incredible ahead of us.

Quarry Exhibit Hall (thanks to the U.S. National Park Service for the picture)

If you’re going to Dinosaur just to explore and see the Dinosaur Exhibits…then the “Quarry” is the place to go.  The second iteration of a protective building to cover the Quarry Wall and actual excavated site, the exhibit hall is a modern building specifically designed to enhance the viewing of original, real large dinosaur bones.  These particular bones were large enough to wash down a river until they hit a soft sinkhole, with enough weight to sink in this particular area.  Small animals and dinosaurs….not so much because they were too light to be trapped and sink into the sinkhole…so they continued to go downstream.  The building modern and designed for most anyone to have access to see the Quarry area, it was impressive.

Quarry Exhibit Hall

The Quarry Exhibit Hall covers a piece of carved out cliff that’s chocked full of real, petrified (large) dinosaur bones.  When the the bones were first discovered and excavated in the early part of the century, some were removed for study but the digging continued, as did the discoveries.  Eventually the hill was dug into a quarry full of bones that were left in place, basically naturally cemented into the rock face.  So they’re still there.  You can see them, study them and even touch a real bone.  Wanna see…check out my pictures:

The Quarry Exhibit Hall is very impressive to say the least.
Quarry wall full of dinosaur bones.
Quarry wall full of dinosaur bones.
Quarry wall full of dinosaur bones.
One of the few nearly complete skeletons found.

Yep,  just had to touch a dinosaur bone.

Camping in Dinosaur- Green River Campground

While the monument sits between two states and has six different campgrounds, we were only able to get reservations in the stunning Green River Campground, which I would absolutely love to go back to.  Just a beautiful and peaceful area, this was a treat, even for just one night.

Yup, after the massive drive and then our absolute fixation with seeing the bones of ancients, we were pretty happy to be in camp.

Our site, Green River Campground at Dinosaur, Utah.

Petroglyphs and Pictographs at Dinosaur

Dinosaur National Monument is chocked full of ancient petroglyphs and pictographs.  One of the easiest sites to access is known as the “Swelter Shelter” and is just about 100 yards off the main road right near the main entrance to the monument. Here’s a few pictures that we took as we explored the area just before heading out to do the long trip to Cheyenne.

The truck parked at the “Swelter Shelter” turn off.  The Green River makes a turn in the background.
The experts say this might be both petroglyphs and pictographs in one location.

With this post we continue to post stories about traveling slow and traveling with kids.  This was only the second place we visited on this two week long road trip throughout the western United States, so there’s more to come.  Got Questions?  Let us know. 


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