The small city of Vernal, Utah, roughly 175 miles (280 km) east of Salt Lake City is known its beautiful scenery but offers a more interesting attraction to those whose interests lie in the strange and obscure. Or to people interested in in paleontology of course. Also known as Dinosaurland, Vernal is home to the largest quarry of prehistoric Jurassic dinosaur bones in the world and a collection of 200-million year old dino footprints.
Some of them may be seen at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum where a 90-foot-long Diplodocus will greet you at the door. The museum offers a five-day fossil field program where visitors can learn about how to properly dig for dinosaur bones and then go out to the Uinta Basin and mountains and put their new skills to the test.
Even though Vernal is famous for its dinosaur footprints, it may be more well known for the world-class fishing thanks to its myriad of streams. Backpacking, hiking, camping, and outdoor activities are also important pastimes in the region and actually attract more visitors. A lot more visitors… The Flaming Gorge Recreation Center to the north of Vernal hosts more than 2 million visitors each year.
Dinosaur National Monument, located just 20 minutes east of Vernal combines boutiques and shops with remnants of the Jurassic.
- Vernal locals are known to brag about the town being established 150,000,000 years ago.
- Red Fleet State Park features a 1.5-mile trail to 200-million-year-old dinosaur tracks.
- The Dinosaur Garden features 17 full-sized replicas of prehistoric animals.
- The Utah Field House of Natural History Museum State Park offers replicas of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.
- Go early in the morning or later afternoon as the tracks are difficult to see when the sun is directly above you.