Dinosaur National Monument has two identities. It was originally established as a national monument to protect an area that was one of the most productive sources of dinosaur bones in the world. This original area is home to the famous Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall, a structure built over an actual quarry, displaying some 1,500 exposed bones from 11 different dinosaur species. Visitors are allowed to touch and feel the bones embedded in the rock. Aside from dinosaurs, the monument also includes pleasant scenic drives, Indian petroglyphs and the Tour of Tilted Rocks, which takes you to the preserved cabin of a female homesteader Josie Basset Morris.
Dinosaur National Monument includes 300 square miles of great high desert canyon country through which the Green and Yampa Rivers flow. Viewed from the top, you can see the end of the Rockies and the start of the desert. This area, the Canyon Country, offers good scenery and some hiking and whitewater rafting opportunities on the two rivers. You'll want to explore Dinosaur National Monument thoroughly indeed.
Dinosaur National Monument straddles the Utah/Colorado border in the northwest corner of Colorado. The bulk of the canyon country area lies in Colorado. About 25% of the park, including the quarry area, is in Utah. There are a myriad of unpaved and nearly deserted roads available for exploration by car or bike. Rafting the Yampa River is also popular, with numerous outfitters that can simply shuttle you, or guide you on a multiple day trip. Depending on the time of year, the Yampa is a good river for beginners or the more advanced. There are numerous pristine petroglyphs in the area.
The Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall was closed for several years during reconstruction but was reopened in 2011. Visiting hours are from 9:15am to 4:45pm (last trip up to the quarry at 4:15pm) daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. The visitors center is located 1/2 mile from the Quarry Exhibit Hall and is open 9am - 5pm.
The Visitor's Center and Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall are found by taking Highway 149 north from Jensen, UT to the park. Rangers lead visitors up to the Quarry by car caravans between October and April. The nearest substantial town is Vernal, UT - about 14 miles to the northwest on highway 40.