art, Dinosaur National Monument, hiking, National Parks and Monuments, Utah

Dinosaur National Monument – The Petroglyphs

We had seen some petroglyphs at the Swelter Shelter site, but there are many more in the park. Looking at these on the east side of the Green River off Cub Creek Road, we definitely understand why this art evokes the idea of alien visits.

The first set was easy to get to and they were so amazing I thought that they might be all on that road. But noooooo…we had some climbing to do. It was getting hot and Sandy is not that fond of cliffside heights so I decided to see how far I would get before I chickened out. But I didn’t chicken out. I yelled down at Sandy not to climb up because it was scary. He thought I said “Come up here!” So we both hung out on the cliffside with a beautiful view around us and ancient art on the cliffs around us. The trail wound up gradually and was very pretty too.

There was a flute player and many lizards, painted and real, at this site, along with a ham-fisted fellow.

If only we had food and some more water and time, we would have loved to explore this area more. But in our enthusiasm, we had only eaten a couple of granola bars that day and we were getting a bit shaky.

We drove out to see Josie Morris’ cabin, the homestead of a very interesting woman, but due to hunger and our cameras being out of juice, we headed back to Dinosaur, Colorado, ate at a little diner, and drove six hours back to Broomfield, near Denver.

art, critters, Dinosaur National Monument, National Parks and Monuments, Utah

Dinosaur National Monument – The Landscape

After leaving the quarry, we only had time to take a scenic drive up Cub Creek Road. You can see the layers undulating through the hills. The park is huge and there is much more to see, but this road was a good choice for a day trip because it had a variety of features that were historical and beautiful. The first stop was at the Swelter Shelter petroglyphs and pictographs. Petroglyphs are carved or incised into the stone. Pictographs are painted using natural pigments on the stone.

If I go back, I’d like to hike on the trail going up into these rocks, the Sound of Silence Trail. Doesn’t that seem refreshing? On a cool day, anyway. I like quiet.

Then we came to the Split Mountain Campground, which is where I’d definitely want to camp after taking a guided raft on the Green River through its canyons.

Sandy was just ecstatic over this coyote that trotted along the road beside us, while I lost my mind about the semi-tame bunnies on the trail near the Quarry.

On to the main show, more petroglyphs!

Dinosaur National Monument, National Parks and Monuments, Utah

Dinosaur National Monument – The Bones

(This post refers to a trip we took in September.) Picking only a few photos from Dinosaur National Monument is a difficult task. We got there reasonably early in the morning, and when Sandy presented his ID with his credit card to the ranger for the entry fee, he was informed that he could get a senior lifetime pass to the National Park System for $10 that covers anyone in the car with him. So THAT was the first great thing.

We headed up a little ways to the Quarry House, where a cliff with embedded bones has been preserved in a building. In the parking lot, we found that we were just in time for a ranger-led hike down Fossil Discovery Trail, in which she explained the great variations in the geology of the park. There are twenty-three different rock formations exposed in the area dating back hundreds of millions of years. This area was once a shallow sea, and we saw clam fossils and rippled stones from the water.

The heavy rains from the day before made some of the trail slippery and we were advised not to go past a certain point, but we did get to see some bones out on the trail walls. An enormous number of large dinosaurs met their watery end in a flood here. Small dinosaurs too, but mostly they were swept downstream. They are making new discoveries constantly in this park.

There’s a vertebra under that little ledge there. Most of the bone fragments are brown and heavily worn on the rock surface.

In the Carnegie Quarry, the rock face is pretty amazing. You have to wonder what is left under there.

Anyway, at the risk of having to turn in my nerd badge, the dinosaurs were not the most exciting part of the DNM for me. Don’t get me wrong, they were fun and if I had actually been able to find some on my own, I would have been out of control. The landscape and the petroglyphs were what made me fall in love with this place.

Next: Dinosaur National Monument – The Landscape