Dinosaur National Monument
Near Dinosaur, Colorado and Jensen, Utah – Point of Geological Interest #F6
Dinosaur National Monument contains a wild landscape of mesas, hogbacks, and river gorges astride the Colorado and Utah border. The Colorado section of the Monument preserves scenic canyons carved by the Green and Yampa Rivers, and huge, well-displayed folds (monoclines). Indeed it could just as well have been aptly named monocline national monument. Beautiful exposures of thick, ancient sand dune deposits can be seen at Echo Park.
The world-famous Douglas Quarry Visitor Center, which sits on the Utah side of DNM, preserves 1,400 dinosaur bones left in place as they were deposited 145 million years ago. More than half of all the different kinds of dinosaurs that lived in North America in the late Jurassic Period are found in this quarry. Besides the huge plant-eating sauropods Apatasaurus, Camarasaurus, Barosaurus, and Diplodocus, which compose three-quarters of all of the fossils in the exposed quarry wall, the dinosaurs of the quarry include other plant-eaters ranging from large to small, with a few meat-eaters as well.
This centerpiece visitor center also houses exhibits about the bones and their burial and preservation, a preparation laboratory, research facilities, and a bookstore operated by the Intermountain Natural History Association (open during the summer) that specializes in dinosaur and natural history books. A second visitor center near Dinosaur, Colorado, features an orientation movie and a bookstore.
Tel: (970) 374-3000
On the web: Dinosaur National Monument
Activities include guided ranger-led walks, evening talks, self-guiding nature trails, and two guided auto tours: “Tour of the Tilted Rocks” and “Journey Through Time.”
Photo of the famous quarry wall at Dinosaur National Monument, courtesy the National Park Service. Yes, it’s located just over the Utah border, but that’s close enough for us!