Dinosaur National Monument: More than just bones
After our lovely time in Great Basin National Park we drove across Utah towards Price Canyon Recreation Area, a BLM area with some nice bouldering and a quiet campground. But at the turnoff we were greeted with a chained gate and a “CAMPGROUND CLOSED” sign. Since we still had plenty of daylight left we decided to continue on the extra couple of hours to Dinosaur National Monument where we found ourselves a decent campsite just before dark. It was primarily an RV-filled campground but it was quiet and peaceful, set just along the Green River.
In the morning we quickly packed up the truck and started down the Tour of the Tilted Rocks road to a cliff filled with petroglyph panels. The petroglyphs here are characterized by animal figures, human figures, decorative clothing (necklaces, headdresses) and abstracts. I was especially interested in the human figures because we don’t see those in the areas I’m used to visiting.
The rock art was fascinating and different than what we have seen before, so we spent quite a while exploring and photographing the panels. I’m not sure which was my favorite – it was either the giant (2ft+) lizard pictured above and an equally large kokopelli.
Eventually we moved on and worked our way back down the road to the Sounds of Silence Trail, a 3 mile loop that passes through various geologic formations. It was nice to hike a bit through some scenic terrain.
We then drove out of the park and stopped at the temporary visitor’s center. Our timing was perfect as a shuttle bus was just getting ready to depart for the Fossil Discovery Trail and we decided to hop on. I originally thought we wouldn’t get a chance to see the actual dinosaur bones in Dinosaur National Monument due to the temporary closure and remodeling of the Visitor’s Center, but this was a great opportunity to explore a wall of bones with the guidance of a docent. The most impressive wall of bones is part of the Visitors center so we’ll have to go back and catch that one sometime.
After lunch we headed west again, driving into the Rockies and ending up at a hotel in Grand Lake, Colorado, just on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Along the way we started to see some really good fall colors; I was looking forward to the photographic opportunities in the next few days.