Gateway to the Eastern Uintas
Most out of state visitors will come to Vernal to see the Dinosaurs. Dinosaur National Monument where so many of the first dinosaurs were discovered and sent away to museums back east is nearby. There is a great Utah State Park in the Field House Museum in Vernal which in many ways is better than the Monument's. However at the Monument you can see the bones in situ and there is something great about that as well. (The visitors center there is currently closed due to structural damage. Stimulus dollars may allow it to reopen soon). Dinosaurs mean geology and Vernal has buckets full. Pick up a "Drive through the Ages" pamphlet at almost any place in town and you can explore the earth's history as you drive north through the rock layers where it is exposed.
They also have other great drives to explore and visit this corner of the state:
The Uintas mean sports. Fishing in the many reservoirs and rivers and streams; hunting deer, elk and trophy game; hiking and backpacking in designated Wilderness, camping; horseback riding; birdwatching; RV'ing; boating in Flaming Gorge, rafting and whitewater adventures on the Green and Yampa Rivers; ATV'ing and 4 wheeling; rock climbing; snowmobiling. What is even better is that because the Eastern Uintas are fairly isolated from major population centers you will find fewer crowds, more wildlife opportunities, and solitude more easily than in the Western sections.
From the early human to modern cowboys there is much to explore in human history both recent and distant past. The early Fremont culture is present in places around Vernal. Great petroglyphs of the Classic Vernal style can be seen just north of town. Not too far away are the petroglyphs of Nine Mile Canyon.
More recently the area has been inhabited by the Northern Ute and Shoshone Tribes. The Uintah and Ouray Tribal Reservation is second largest reservation in size in the US. It covers most of the Uintah Basin with headquarters in Ft Duchesne.
Later came the fur trappers, among them William Ashley for whom the valley was named. He floated down the Green River in 1825. Other settlers began to drift in during the 1870's and in 1878 Jeremiah Hatch brought in his family and friends and the town began to be permanent. Evidence of old ranches and pioneering can be found throughout the area.