Road Trip: The Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway in Utah

Jan 26, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

 

There are an infinite number of road trips you can take within the United States, depending on how many destinations you choose and where you are driving from. If you have the chance, the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway should earn a spot on your next road trip. You can even turn this scenic route into an entire road trip. Drive there, enjoy the sites, and return home.

Key Stopping Points

The Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway is a National Scenic Byway that passes through Utah and Colorado. Along the way, you can stop and enjoy visits to active quarries where paleontologists still work to search for fossils hidden in the stone. You can also visit various backcountry sites, where dinosaur footprints and fossils are on view, or visit some museums along the way. While there, be sure to make a point to stop by Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum, Dinosaur National Monument, and the Utah Field House of Natural History.

Attractions that Aren’t Dinosaurs

When you need a break from all the dinosaur-related attractions, you will find plenty of recreational activities. Visit Nine Mile Canyon during the trip and take some time to admire the ancient Fremont art on the rocks. There is also gorgeous scenery along every mile of the road. You will drive right by the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, follow canyons by Moab, and see plenty of the Colorado River.

For those who are more adventurous, bring a car that’s big enough to hold a raft, bike, or camping supplies. There are plenty of areas along the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway for off-roading, whitewater rafting, biking, hiking, and camping. Raft on the Yampa, Green, or Colorado River or take your bike along Slickrock Bike Trail by Moab.

Following the Route

If you plan on following the entire Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway, you will be driving 480 miles, so plan to take several days. The route is typically closed after snow or rain because of unpaved roads along the way, so it is best to make this road trip between spring and fall. The most common place to start is by the Utah-Colorado border along US-40. You can start your journey in Dinosaur before taking US 40 west toward Vernal, where you will find several attractions. Next you will travel along the Price River until you reach Price, visit some sites, and continue on until you reach I-70. You will go east until you turn south onto US 191, before going onto other roads, including I-70 and US-40. Give yourself time to take brief detours to see more historic sites.

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