Things to Do
Explore the past and present with an array of opportunities in and around Vernal.
- Explore the 1,500 bones in Dinosaur National Monument’s Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall, or enjoy outdoor adventure in the monument while hiking, camping or rafting, keeping an eye out for fossils and petroglyphs.
- Go for a dino dig, examine the exhibits, and immerse yourself in all things fossils and dinosaurs at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum.
- Enjoy fun on the water and on land at Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area as well as Utah’s state parks. Go camping, swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, enjoy water sports and more.
Ashley National Forest
Enjoy 1.3 million acres of national forest — including large swaths of wilderness areas — in the Ashley National Forest. Hike, ride horses, ATV, camp, fish or even search for ancient petroglyphs.
Buckskin Hills Recreation ComplexBuckskin Hills Recreation Complex offers year-round outdoor sports in Vernal. This includes mountain biking, ATV trails, a shooting range, drag strip and speedway, motocross, camping and a ski and snow tubing hill.
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
Located in the northeastern corner of Utah (and the southeastern corner of Wyoming), Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area offers opportunities for boating, water sports and fishing for trophy lake trout. There are dozens of established campgrounds and plenty of spots for primitive camping.
Red Fleet State Park
See 200 million year old dinosaur tracks, camp, picnic, boat, paddleboard, kayak and fish on Red Fleet Reservoir in Red Fleet State Park. This is sometimes referred to as a mini Lake Powell. Try out the Dinosaur Trackway hike!
Steinaker State Park
Steninaker State Park offers camping, swimming, hiking, boating, OHV options, fishing and more.
Hotels and Camping
Lodging: After a long day of exploring, find a place to rest your head at one of the many lodging options in Vernal, including hotels, motels, lodges and charming bed and breakfasts.
Camping: There are plentiful camping options near Vernal, including private campgrounds as well as options in the Ashley National Forest, Bureau of Land Management areas, Dinosaur National Monument and state parks.
Restaurants and Dining
Vernal features an abundance of restaurants to appeal to any palate, with sit-down fare and grab-and-go options, inlcuding Mexican, Chinese and American food. The town is also home to a variety of popular chains, buffets, a brewery and Freddy's, which specializes in steakburgers and frozen custards.
The Vernal area has a semiarid climate, with elevations of 4,700 to 9,000 feet in Dinosaur National Monument.
- Summers are hot, with temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and can bring thunderstorms and flash flooding.
- Winters can plunge to 0 degrees Fahrenheit and can be snowy.
- Spring and fall are more temperate seasons, though conditions can be quite variable.
Read the Stories
A First-ever Camping Trip on BLM Lands
As a new resident of the western United States, I’ve discovered the gift of recreating on public lands. Though daunting at first, after researching and waiting too long, the time finally felt right to try camping on BLM lands in Utah’s dinosaur country. There is no shame in trying something new.
A Guide to the Many Faces of Utah's Green River
The mighty Green River carves a path through a dramatic and varied landscape of mountains, canyons and desert for 730 miles across Utah. Whether you have a few hours or a few weeks, experience the diversity of this river yourself by getting on the water.
An Old Favorite Fishing Hole at the Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Visit Utah columnist Dan Potts takes us to his "secret" fishing hole on Utah's Flaming Gorge Reservoir, one of the world's most diverse fisheries set among the brilliant red rock walls of Red Canyon in the easternmost corner of the state. Along the way, Dan takes us through some of his favorite landscapes on the drive to and from Salt Lake City.
Chasing John Wesley Powell: Six Places to Explore Utah's Green and Colorado Rivers
One hundred and fifty years ago a one-armed Civil War veteran set off with nine mountain men on a scientific expedition to map one of the last blank spaces left on the U.S. map: The Green and Colorado rivers. Much of the river remains wild today. Follow Powell's journey here.
Dinosaurland Top 5
Vernal, Utah, is an adventure base camp to the best of eastern Utah. Uintah County around Vernal — called Dinosaurland — is home to diverse outdoor recreation and natural history at three state parks, Dinosaur National Monument and countless trailheads to the Ashley National Forest.
Dog-Friendly Utah: The Road to Mighty
Want to bring your furry friend on your next vacation? Utah is home to several great dog-friendly national parks and other fun destinations. Check it out and plan your trip!
Find a Winter Refresh in a Utah State Park
The best Utah state parks will entice you with ice fishing, white sand and snow-dusted scenery. Take a winter break to refresh with a visit to a few of these places.
Following the Dinosaur Tracks of Red Fleet
Explore Red Fleet State Park's cleverly built trail that crosses sandy washes, ribs of exposed stone and a dinosaur trackway.
Following the Markings of Native American History
This road trip across Utah to view ancient petroglyphs and pictographs will give you an incredible window into the past.
Get Your Spook On: Northern Utah's Most Haunted Places
Looking for a different kind of adventure? One seemingly outside the realms of possibility? Here are some of Utah’s most haunted places.
Guided Rafting Through the Gates of Lodore
Explore guided rafting expeditions through the Gates of Lodore, one of Utah's most sought-after whitewater rafting trips with Dinosaur River Expeditions.
How to Find a Guided Outdoors Experience
You might not be a pro climber, camper or explorer, but Utah’s diverse collection of outdoor guides has all of the expertise you need to have an adventure worth getting stoked about.
Remote Adventure on the Green River
150 years after John Wesley Powell mapped the Green, experience the same solitude and scenery with plenty of (safer) spills and thrills
The Real Story Behind the Dinosaur Quarry
What universal energy do you share with your terrestrial predecessors? At Dinosaur National Monument, you can touch 149-million-year-old fossils and feel for yourself.
The Story of Starvation Reservoir
Sprawling waters and local legends at Fred Hayes State Park at Starvation.
The Unknown & Otherworldly Near Vernal, Utah
UFOs, dinosaur bones, ghosts — there’s a chance to see all of them in the wild, weird and existential landscapes of Northeastern Utah.
Tracing the Outlaw Trail
Cowboys and dinosaurs don’t always come to mind in tandem. At Dinosaur National Monument in northeastern Utah, however, they do share one thing: an incredible landscape as a backdrop. This landscape, as well as some wild history, make Dinosaur a must-visit part of the state.
Two Trips, Two Worlds, Two Years Apart: Returning to Raft in Dinosaur National Monument
Nushin and her family of four returned to Utah's Dinosaurland for the "best four days ever!" of guided rafting on the Green River. Explore their journey today!
Vernal Equinox: A New Season in Vernal, Utah
Looking for things to do in Vernal, Utah? Read our guide to the town here for attractions, restaurants, breweries and more. Make plans to visit Vernal!
Why Backcountry Snowmobiling Is an Unforgettable Way to Experience the Uinta Mountains
The Uinta Mountains are about 100 miles east of Salt Lake City and just a few minutes from Vernal in Eastern Utah. It's one of the state's top snowmobiling destinations.