Vernal Things to Do

  • Green River Yampa River Dinosaur National Monument
    Green River Yampa River Dinosaur...
    by tcallantine
  • Yampa River Green River Dinosaur National Monument
    Yampa River Green River Dinosaur...
    by tcallantine
  • Green River Dinosaur National Monument
    Green River Dinosaur National Monument
    by tcallantine

Most Recent Things to Do in Vernal

  • White Water River Rafting Vernal, Utah

    by tcallantine Written Dec 17, 2014

    Vernal, Utah is famous for its dinosaur fossils but it is also home to some of the best white water river rafting in the United States. The Green River and Yampa River both start and end out of Vernal. These trips range from 1 to 5 days depending on the section of river you raft and the time restraints you have while traveling.
    The one day trip on the Green River begins at Flaming Gorge Dam and flows for 7 miles to Little Hole. This section of the river has fun class 2 rapids, incredible scenery and is a perfect introduction for families or someone unsure about a river rafting excursion.
    The Green River Gates of Lodore is a 3 or 4 day trip in the heart of Dinosaur National Monument following 44 miles of river. Along this stretch you will find breathtaking views that rival any natural landscape on the planet. Really fun class 2 to 4 rapids with names like Disaster Falls, Hells Half Mile and Moon Shine. Try your hand at an inflatable kayak and get right out in the middle of the action. The campsites are world class most with sandy beaches and perfect tent sites. The meals on these trips are scrumptious and not your typical camping fare. There will also be options to go on some excellent side hikes.
    The Yampa River is the last free flowing tributary of the Colorado River system. The Yampa River is best done over 4 or 5 days to fully experience this 72 mile river trip. The river winds its way through stunning sandstone canyons, splashes through class 2 to 4 white water and has hikes that lead to very spectacular vistas.
    Any of these trips are best done with a local outfitter. They have the knowledge, skills and equipment to make the trip perfect. Dinosaur River Expeditions is the areas only locally owned and operated outfitter. In business since 1979 they have take thousands of people on these journeys.
    Trips fill up fast you will want to reserve you space early.

    Green River Dinosaur National Monument Big Horn Sheep Dinosaur River Expeditions Green River Dinosaur National Monument Green River Yampa River Dinosaur National Monument Yampa River Green River Dinosaur National Monument
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    • Rafting
    • Kayaking
    • Adventure Travel

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    Classic Vernal Style Petroglyphs

    by Segolily Updated Dec 5, 2009

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    Northwest of Vernal about 10 miles on the McConkie ranch you can explore a large panel of petroglyphs left from the Fremont Indian era. The natives who lived in the Northern Colorado Plateau/ Uinta Basin area starting roughly about 500 years BC to about 1250 AD are known as the Fremont Culture. Though they may never have been a cohesive group they shared many cultural identifiers. One of the few reminders they left behind are petroglyphs. In what has become known as the Classic Vernal Style the petroglyphs at the McConkie ranch are valuable, plentiful and really quite amazing to explore. Classic Vernal style is "characterized by well-executed anthropomorphous (human-like figures), zoomorphs (animal-like figures), and abstract designs. The anthropomorphs typically have trapezoidal bodies, which may or may not include arms, legs, fingers, and toes. They are often elaborately decorated with designs suggesting headdresses, earrings, and necklaces, and they may hold shields or other objects."
    Noone has yet come up with any meaning for the petroglyphs. Why or during what event they were created, what they mean, who they are for provide endless discussions, but no concrete conclusions. Nevertheless, stick around Utah long enough and you see them almost everywhere you go.
    http://www.jqjacobs.net/rock_art/ne_utah1.html

    McConkie Ranch Petroglyph McConkie Petroglyph
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    • Family Travel
    • Archeology
    • Arts and Culture

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    Red Canyon Visitors Center

    by Segolily Written Dec 5, 2009

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    The most stunning portion of the Flaming gorge area is now known as Red Canyon. There is a wonderful Visitors Center overlooking this 1500 ft deep canyon with nice views, short walks, campground and lodge. Though small the visitors center is full of hands on exhibits to teach about the animals and people of the area. Open seasonally it is a great stop along the drive from Vernal to Manila. On a recent trip this is the only place we ran into crowds of people.

    Visitor Center Red Canyon 1500 ft down Visitor Center perched on cliff edge
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    • National/State Park
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    Flaming Gorge Dam and Reservoir

    by Segolily Written Dec 5, 2009

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    Finished in 1964 Flaming Gorge Dam holds back waters of the Green River for 91 miles. It is a mountain reservoir that is deep and cold and remote. At maximum capacity the water is at 6,040 ft above sea level. Fishing is the main activity here, though other water activities are available as well. The first white man to record the area was John W. Powell who floated through here in 1869 at the beginning of his exploration of the Green and Grand (now Colorado) Rivers. It was he who named the area Flaming Gorge as the steep red walls of the canyon flamed in the afternoon light.

    You can tour the dam which is 502 feet high. It is free and very educational. Though not as well known or as tall as Hoover Dam the concept is certainly the same and a lot easier to access.

    View of Reservoir and Cart Creek Bridge Turbine at the dam Dam and reservoir
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    • Family Travel
    • Fishing
    • National/State Park

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    Utah State Field House of Natural History

    by Segolily Written Dec 5, 2009

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    This has been a great museum for dinosaurs and prehistory since it was first opened. There is now a new building with all new exhibits and it is even better. Right on Main Street and easy to find the museum offers some impressive information about dinosaurs and other fossils found in the area. As you walk in the building you are on ground level with a Dipolodocus, one of the largest dinosaurs ever unearthed. Found in the Morrison formations of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming the dipolodocus is an impressive specimen. If you follow the winding ramp up to the second floor you come eye to eye socket with the skeleton's head.
    But that is for later. First you want to watch the movie "Uinta Fossil Journey" helping you to appreciate the landscape you drive through in the area. Then you can wander through a reconstructed fossil dig site before heading to the Jurassic Gallery and Children's Lab. Next is a walk down through time to the Eocene gallery where creatures closer to modern time live. There is also a nice exhibit featuring native peoples of the area.
    Outside is the Dinosaur Garden with life sized re-creations of several Jurassic species.
    Plan to spend an hour or two here to explore this geologic and paleobiologic wonderland.

    Dippy Rex Dinosaur Garden A giant welcom
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    • Museum Visits
    • National/State Park
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    Vernal Temple

    by Segolily Written Dec 5, 2009

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    While most people have heard about the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, many do not know that there are temples in other towns in Utah as well. Vernal's Temple is unique in that it was not built as a temple, but was converted in 1997 from another church building- the Vernal Tabernacle- and became one of the first "small" temples. The Vernal Tabernacle's foundation was constructed from local sandstone and the walls were built of four layers of fired brick from local clay. It was built with mostly donated labor from the fall of 1899 until it was dedicated on August 24, 1907. For ninety years it served as a meeting place for church members, a lecture hall, a musical venue and community center. Gradually though it became too small for the needs of the growing community and fell into disrepair. Preservationists prevailed and Church leaders decided that rather than tear it down they would restore it for use as a temple. Temples are not regular church buildings but rather dedicated to specific religious rites such as marriage and baptisms for the dead.
    It is a quiet and peaceful place, off the side of the main road through town.

    Vernal LDS Temple dedicated twice 1907 and 1997
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    Take a Mountain Drive: Red Cloud Loop

    by topmarmot Written Dec 15, 2005

    We found this by accident when we visited Vernal in August. Follow the brown signs from downtown or get the pamphlet from the local info places. High clearance vehicles are recommended, although we had no clue what we were getting into, and took our poky wee rental car up there. Don't tell Hertz hahahaha....

    Enjoy dirt roads, wide vistas (forest, meadows and mountain), elk, deer, various other nature. Just don't try this trip in the evening like we did, and did I mention making sure your car has some gas in it? The whole loop is 70 miles.

    Picture taken by my colleague Bill.
    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Road Trip

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    Dinosaur National Monument

    by doodles72 Written Feb 5, 2005

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    There is a new museum in town that they're still working on. It's interesting if you enjoy old dinosaur bones and archeology.

    The kids love looking at the dinosaurs models. and they have a kids section to "dig" in the museum.

    The Quarry is a few miles outside of town, about a half hour from downtown. There is a shuttle from the parking area up to the Quarry. They have an observation area for the palentologist to be working below. There is a pretty good gift shop at the monument. There are alot of hiking trails to see the petroglyphs and the scenary. You'll probably see a few bald eagles while you're hiking through the area.

    petrogylphs on the trails

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    Flaming Gorge

    by doodles72 Written Feb 5, 2005

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    This is the place for all your water sports, and world famous fishing. Be sure and take the time to go to the overlook. Its is definately worth the few minutes, the view is "awe inspiring" and thousands of photo oppurtunity. You might even see a moose or an elk on your adventure. A GREAT place to stop for dinner or lunch is the Flaming Gorge Lodge restaurant. They are mid range in price, but definately worth it. (They even have a stocked pond for the kids to fish from)

    a tiny part of Flaming Gorge

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    Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Mus

    by frank_delargy Updated Oct 4, 2004

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    We got an after-hours tour of this new facility by the curator who was a friend of a friend. I would recommend it for anyone interested in the natural history of the area, including, of course, dinosaurs. We were lucky to visit there as a group on paleontology field trip and got the royal treatment, but I would bet that it would be enjoyable on your own too.

    lobby
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology
    • Family Travel

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    Dinosaur National Monument

    by Roeffie Updated Sep 15, 2003

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    Dinosaur National Monument

    This park is named after the Dinosaur bones found in the Dinosaur Quarry, just north of the town of Jensen.

    They made a large building around a piece of rock with a lot of Dinosaurs bones in it. In the building you so the rock, like on the picture. There are some skeletons too. Everything is explained in an exhibition in the Quarry. You are brought by a little train.

    There is one death-end scenic road from the south to Harpers Corner and Echo Park, which is paved. It has a length of 50 km of which only 10 km is actually in the park.The best way to explore is a four-wheel drive, because you can take an other route back 'Yampa Bench Road' with a length of 60 km. The scenic road starts at approx. 1.5 miles east of Dinosaur, Colorado.

    The road to the quarry has a little side road to Josie Morris Cabin.

    The museum
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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Fossilized backbone of...

    by basstbn Written Oct 4, 2002

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    Fossilized backbone of Diplodocus, a large plant-eater, just one of twelve kinds of dinosaurs found around the quarry in this famous 140 million year old deposit.

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    Quarry Visitor Center,...

    by basstbn Updated Oct 4, 2002

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    Quarry Visitor Center, Dinosaur National Monument, Utah
    Interior of the quarry building showing the fossils on the cliff face. Quarry technicians can be seen at work here on occasion.

    Children, such my then elementary-age daughters, are fascinated by this exhibit.

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    Visit the Quarry Visitor...

    by basstbn Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Visit the Quarry Visitor Center at Dinosaur National Monument. Visitors may view a permanent exhibit of fossils. Twelve kinds of dinosaurs have been found in this area since 1909.

    Near the quarry is a short nature hike, a pleasant scenic drive and Indian petroglyphs (drawings on boulders or cliffs.)

    Related to:
    • Cycling

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Vernal Things to Do

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