#mypubliclandsroadtrip travels the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway on the way to Dinosaur National Monument!

If you’re planning a trip to Dinosaur National Monument, take the scenic route and explore Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway. The byway winds through northern Colorado and a wealth of historic and prehistoric resources – fossils, Native American pictographs and early ranching territories.

In terms of fossils, drivers travel through several quarries, all with unique prehistoric resources. Stop and look for dinosaur remains at the Fruita Paleontological Area, where in 1998 82-year-old Wally Windscheffel found the remains of a dinosaur from the Jurassic Period. Or hike Dinosaur Hill, where a 1901 dig uncovered the remains of the Apatosaurus. The Mygatt-Moore Quarry and Trail through Time, also just off the byway, offer group digs and introductions to paleontology field work.  

North on the byway, drive through Canyon Pintado or Painted Canyon to symbols of hands, animals and more left behind by ancient Native American cultures.  After a nice hike, continue north to Rangely, first a Ute trading post and later a ranching outpost.

Finally, right along the Colorado-Utah border, the byway reaches its destination – Dinosaur National Monument managed by the National Park Service.  It showcases some of the best prehistoric resources in the world.


Sand Island Petroglyph Panel near Bluff, Utah

“The rock art on the large panel at Sand Island
Recreation Area is quite impressive because of the density of the
images, the style of the drawings, and the variety of zoomorphs and
anthropomorphs portrayed on the sandstone surface. Many of the images
are difficult to discern due to weathering and the angle of the sun.
Some of the images are high up on the panel, and will require binoculars
and zoom or telephoto lenses to capture.

This site is located just west of the town of
Bluff, on the San Juan River. It is a long panel which extends at least
150 yards along a red sandstone cliff. The site is complex, with several
different time periods represented. The hundreds of figures at the site
are all petroglyphs, densely packed on some panels or superimposed over
older figures. Seven recognizable styles include: Great Basin
Curvilinear; modern Ute; modern Navajo; Glen Canyon Style; Basketmaker
II (Chinle type); Early Pueblo (Pueblo I-II); and Late Pueblo (Pueblo
II-III). “ (more)

(Horses came with the Spanish around 1540, bows and arrows around 500)