10 Amazing Things to do in DinosaurLand

By April 18, 2016Travel

I’m a huge fan of planning future amazing trips for my family and I’ve had Utah on my mind.  This Utah destination is brought to you by DinosaurLand.  All opinions and excitement to visit are my own.


Traveling to the Wild, Wild West has been on my mind for quite some time.  I mean, we all played Oregon Trail, right?  Since I was a child once and I have small children now, dinosaurs have been on the mind for quite awhile too.  And maps.  We talk a LOT about maps.  And dreams of the mountains in the west.  Still, I had never heard of DinosaurLand.  It’s in the gorgeous state of Utah on the Colorado / Utah border and it’s on our bucket list now.  If you love seeing the wonders of nature, adventure travel, ancient art, observing a perfect starry night and being where real dinosaurs roamed, DinosaurLand should be on your list too.  Let’s review 10 of the incredible things to do in NorthEastern Utah so we can all start planning!

Touch and See Dinosaurs

DinsosaurLand is the only place in the world where you can actually touch 150 million year old dinosaur bones.  My kids will go bonkers!  We have seen quite a few dino bones in our days and boy, we can name bunches of them.  However, this takes the cake.  The world-renowned dinosaur quarry is home to more than 1,500 fossils still embedded in the cliff face!


See the World’s Longest Art Gallery

More than 10,000 petroglyphs and pictographs remain in Dinosaur National Monument from the Fremont Indians more than 1,000 years ago.  I’ve never been on a hike like this and Uintah County is one of the best places in the country to see prehistoric art.


I found 2 ways to see these incredible pieces of ancient art. You can head to the McConkie Ranch Petroglyphs just north of Vernal, Utah. There is a requested $5 donation as this is private property.  The reviews of McConkie are amazing and I read plenty of family friendly feedback. Kids can hike these trails, though I note that people suggested a walking stick could be helpful as the trails are rocky and uneven in places. That’s the kind of trail we love to begin with, so we know this will be fun, beautiful and educational. AllTrails lists the McConkie Ranch Petroglyph Trail as 4 miles out and back.  As you may know, our rule of thumb for hiking with small kids is 1 mile for every year once they are walking up until about age 6 or 7 and then it is based on each child and their experience.

If you want to explore more than 40 miles of ancient petroglyphs head to Nine Mile Canyon, where you can drive, bike and hike through the gallery of 1,200 year old art.   Climb Utah has a very detailed itinerary and GPS instructions for the Nine Mile Canyon.

Hiking and Biking For Everyone

You could spend weeks hiking and biking some spectacular trails in and around DinosaurLand. From beginner to very advanced, there is something for everyone here.  I found trails from less than a mile overlooks to 20+ mile treks and everything in between. Check out this great list of trails in and around Vernal, Utah.  Here’s a 3 mile in and out hike known as Harper’s Corner.  I can’t even with the views around here.  This is truly mother nature in all her glory!

Harpers Corner

Utah is for The Adventure Lovers

The list of outdoor activities for the family goes on and on.  Whether you are traveling with small children or are an experienced adult adventurer, there are amazing experiences in and around the Dinosaur National Monument.  Hiking, biking, climbing, rafting, skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding and more are all at your fingertips. Any season, any age…you will find something that makes your heart race and your spirit soar. I’m not kidding.  I’ve been reading what people say about this area.  It is incredible.

Utah Family Rafting

Stargazing and Sunsets of Your Dreams

We live in a city, where the stars hide behind the bright lights of Uptown Charlotte.  I’ve heard of and dreamed of these black night skies, with clear views of all the constellations.  Utah has great night skies.  With the mountains surrounding you, the sun sets in an incredible display of color. Watching the sun set and the stars appear sounds magical to me.

Utah Sunset

Planning Your Trip to Utah and DinosaurLand

If you live in the area, and by area I mean within 5 hours or so, just head on over at your first chance.  I can’t believe you haven’t been here yet!  If you are already headed to one of the many incredible national parks in the area such as Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain or Arches National Park, be sure to schedule a stop in Vernal.  It is located centrally between these parks and should not be missed if you are traveling between them. For my family, coming from so far away, we plan to do as much as possible by the time we get all 5 of us somewhere.  This is a 29 hour drive for us or a flight with a rental car.  I’m leaning towards a fantastic road trip that hits all the big sites and provides the adventure vacation of a lifetime for my family.

We use Roadtrippers to plan our adventures and I can’t say enough about it.  I’m showing you our plans if we fly in to Denver and out of Rapid City.  If we drive to DinosaurLand, we’ll just add 29 hours worth of family time to the trip.  I start by putting in DinosaurLand and then hitting the Outdoors and Recreation button to see all those gorgeous green dots pop up.  You can see that when we get to Utah, we will hit Rocky Mountain National Park, DinosaurLand, Arches National Park, Yellowstone National Park and more as we head over to see Mount Rushmore and check South Dakota off our country map.  I won’t do a 9 hour drive in one day, so we’ll stop at some of those other green dots between Arches and Yellowstone.  Everything ’round these parts is stunning, so I’m sure we’ll be just fine. Doesn’t this trip look amazing?

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 9.11.32 PM

The Wild West is a bucket list trip for us and one we won’t miss.  If you are planning a trip or thinking about it, I highly recommend DinosaurLand and the many adventures that surround it.  This is a trip you will never forget.


Please let me know if you’ve been lucky enough to experience Utah and its splendor and if you are planning a trip and especially let me know if you live here.  We would just love to pop in for a visit!

I highly recommend checking out the DinosaurLand website for more information, itineraries, photos and tons of information about the area, the museums and the available activities.  You can also chat them up on twitter @DinosaurLandUT.

Let’s review 10 of the many things you can do in DinosaurLand, Ut.

  1. See and touch real dinosaurs
  2. Explore the world’s longest art gallery
  3. Amazing hiking for all ages
  4. Bike trails for everyone
  5. White water rafting
  6. Skiing
  7. Snowshoeing
  8. Horseback Riding
  9. Climbing
  10. Stargazing with almost no light pollution

Let’s see this beautiful world we live in!

Join the discussion 19 Comments

  • Anna

    I hope my new little guy is into dinosaurs! Wow!!!!

  • Andrea

    We are looking into a road trip with our kids since they won’t be home with us for much longer. This looks amazing! Now, to get my husband on board with a loooong car ride… 🙂

  • Kia says:

    Sounds pretty cool! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Suzi Earl says:

    I call Dinosaurland my hometown, it is amazing and i miss it. I’ve done everything on your list but skiing, i can’t believe i never went skiing!
    It was great to read your article, see your view point because i truly take it for granted and it’s a great place. Thank you

  • Brittany 2 says:

    Just a bit of info- if you’re looking to go to just Dinosaurland, flying into Salt Lake City will give you less of a drive. We’re about 3 hours from SLC, where it’s more like 5 from Denver. However, if you’re looking to go through Rocky Mountain National Park (which is gorgeous), then yeah, fly to Denver. But SLC is also the closet place to fly to for Arches as well.

    • Brittany says:

      We loved Arches so so so much. Hiking the Fiery Furnace was a top 10 for us ever. We flew into Grand Junction, which was super close. I love creating road trips where we can see as much as possible coming from the East Coast and I have another post where we fly into SLC. What’s great is that no matter where you land there is so much to see and do all around you!

  • Dallin says:

    I live in vernal and have most of my life, it really is an under utilised area and it us beautiful! You definitely should stop and take a trip down here!

    • Brittany says:

      I took this opportunity because I had never heard of Vernal and I can’t believe I hadn’t. I’m excited to share this place with other people who only know of the huge places to visit in Utah!

  • Kara says:

    I live in Dinosaurland (aka Vernal ;P) and it is pretty amazing. You may not have seen, but there is also the dinosaur museum-which is separate from the dinosaur quarry (the place you’ll go to actually touch the dinosaur bones). Thought I’d mention it since it’s also a hot spot . You can easily spend a few hours in the museum looking at everything and they have an activity book you can do as you go through to earn a patch for the kids.
    Hope your visit is spectacular!

    • Brittany says:

      My kids love earning the National Park patches and any place with learning for patches or stamps is high on our list. You live in quite a beautiful place my friend!

  • Brooke Callantine says:

    This is a beautiful place to visit! Eagerly anticipating our repeat visit scheduled for this summer! 5 days rafting through the Monument (with our kids this time)! It is as beautiful as Zion, but a lot less crowded! Take a trip with Dinosaur River Expeditions, they are Amazing! A trip you will never forget!

    • Brittany says:

      Thank you! I’m about to write about our rating experience in Utah and we are always looking for more. I’m so glad you loved it so much. Still, we also can’t wait to see Zion!

  • Delina says:

    You can always cut through Wyoming! If you want Dinosaurs, Thermopolis, WY has the largest Dinosaur Museum and you can sign up to go on actual digs! Not to mention, the thermal Hot Springs in the only FREE National Park in the country! 🙂 I know I am going to be looking into some of these for my boy who LOVES dinosaurs but I wanted to let anyone know that Wyoming has some pretty cool stuff in the Dinosaur department- you don’t have to travel around it!

  • terry says:


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