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Vernal

Dinosaur National Monument
  • Weather: Scattered Rain And Snow Showers, 39F
Travel back in time to explore the wonders of the past in Vernal — also known as “Dinosaurland” — where you can delve into the world of dinosaurs and fossils. The town is also a gateway to outdoor adventure.

Dinosaur National Monument

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.

Dinah the Dinosaur in Vernal, Utah, home to Dinosaur National Monument.

Photo: Marc Piscotty

Standup paddleboarding in Red Fleet State Park

Photo: Marc Piscotty

Pictographs at McConkie Ranch

Photo: Dean Krakel

Dinosaur Exploration 

Vernal is known as Dinosaurland for a reason. This small town is near Dinosaur National Monument, and the Utah Field House of Natural History and State Park Museum is right downtown. Any eager dinosaur enthusiast – from kids to adults — will find plenty of fossil and dinosaur fun in Vernal.

Utah Field House of Natural History State Park

Photo: Sara Hobbs

Utah Field House of Natural History State Park

Photo: Clark Goldsberry

Outdoor Adventures 

Not into dinosaurs? Plently of outdoor adventure awaits near Vernal. It is a gateway to a national recreation area, a national forest and several state parks with reserviors. Go hiking, biking, rafting, fishing, horseback riding, or just opt for a scenic drive. 

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. 

Steinaker State Park 

Steninaker State Park offers camping, swimming, hiking, boating, OHV options, fishing and more. 

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!

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.

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. 

Weather

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.
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