Happy 4th of July! Or, well, it was when we went RVing to Dinosaur National Monument and Northwestern Colorado anyway. We left in the afternoon on July 3rd and made our way northwest for a 5 day road trip. This is part 1 of the trip: Dinosaur National Monument.
St. Louis Creek Campground
We stumbled on this campground while growing increasingly tired and ready to stop. We hadn’t driven far, but traffic slowed us down considerably. This campground is not far from Fraser, CO and is first come first served. We got the last spot and couldn’t have been more thankful!
On The Road: Small Towns on the 4th of July = Bad For Driving
Here’s a tip about driving through small towns on the 4th of July: don’t do it. In one town, the highway was closed for a 4th of July parade and traffic was rerouted through the town. Let’s just say it wasn’t flowing very well. Oh, did I mention it was lunchtime? Hangry anyone? There are no pictures or video of this, because a) we were to grumpy to film or take pictures and b) you don’t want to see that. 😉
Dinosaur National Monument
Canyon Visitor Center
This visitor center was smaller and fairly outdated, but there is a video that plays throughout the day. The Colorado Welcome Center in the town of Dinosaur sounds like it might be more up to date. Unfortunately, we missed it, but heard about it later. They have great Google reviews, so it’d be worth checking out. The reviews for the Canyon Visitor Center are also great, though, so perhaps we caught them at an off time.
BLM Land Near Dinosaur, CO
Echo Park Road and Steamboat Rock
The views were absolutely fantastic, and there were some interesting things to see along the way. The road is not paved, and we read that it’s impassable when wet. Use caution. A four wheel drive vehicle would be best if not an absolute must.
Bring bug spray. The good stuff. Or wait until later in the season when perhaps mosquitoes have died off. We got eaten alive in the short 10-15 minutes we were out of the truck at Steamboat Rock. I counted 69 bites on me alone by the time it was all said and done. Seriously.
Quarry Visitor Center
If you just want to see the dinosaur bones, skip on over to Utah and the Quarry Visitor Center. Hop on the shuttle from the Visitor Center up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall. Dogs are not allowed, so plan accordingly. We left our sweet Winston with the grandparents.
The Quarry Exhibit Hall is a fossil lovers dream. It’s neat to see them as they were found and not unearthed. There are some real fossils you can touch and some replicas of completely unearthed skeletons. On top of all that, the air-conditioning was a nice relief from the heat.
Fun fact: Paleontologists unearthed the diplodocus at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science from this quarry. Seeing where it was unearthed was cool since it’s one of our favorite dinosaurs at the museum.
Dinosaurs aren’t all there is to see near the Quarry. You can take a drive and search for Petroglyphs too. There are some on the Echo Park Road drive too, but more can be found on this drive.
On The Road Again
After mosquito attacks and other bugs at our campsite, we had enough RVing at Dinosaur National Monument. We decided to have a quick dinner at the RV and head down the road to Fruita, CO and the Colorado National Monument.
Amazingly, Jeremy was able to find a campground with an open spot for the night (remember, this was 4th of July weekend). The Monument RV Resort felt like a refuge after a long day. Electricity and a nice shower make everything a little better.
If you haven’t already, check out our YouTube video for the whole trip. It was a trip to remember!
Next time, we’ll explore the rest of our trip. We visit the Colorado National Monument and start heading back east toward home.
Until next time!