So one thing I now know about our travel style is that we don’t have one! We have a rough idea of the route we want to go on but are flexible to go wherever we feel like. Our original “plan” was to go to Salt Lake City to Antelope Island State Park, relax and do some paddle boarding. After talking with friends, we were told that the bugs were horrible, the water would not be paddle board worthy and there was a smell from the lake. So, our plans changed to go to Dinosaur National Monument!
Where we stayed
We wanted to go boondocking and found this amazing spot on Campendium https://www.campendium.com/harpers-corner-road on the Colorado side of the National Park. It is a 20 minute drive from the National Park Visitor Center on the Colorado side with the most scenic view going up. We got 3 bars AT&T LTE, which if you go up here, is rare as you will have a lot of no service zones. Only had 1 neighbour who was hardly at the site as they were here for elk hunting. It is on Blue Mountain road which is a gravel road that also goes down to the highway. I really enjoyed some runs and walks down it as it was a lot quieter than the Harpers Road behind us. Bonus, you will see over 4,500 stars here at night, just spectacular! One night we went out and starred at the sky in awe finding Mars and more stars than we had ever seen. Watching Annalise in this remote place, high up in Dinosaur National Monument and having this moment looking into the sky together was all what this trip was about.
What we did
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center
This place was nothing like we had ever seen for a dinosaur exhibit. You take a short trolley ride up from the visitor center to the Quarry Exhibit Hall where you will get to touch and see up close dinosaur bones in their original place before any excavation. It is quite amazing to see and we spent time just starring at the wall and looking at all of the bones. We opted to hike back to the visitor center to view the sights down along with some more dinosaur bones along the way. Now this was Labor Day weekend when we went and still VERY hot! I think we were all pondering our decision to hike down during the hottest part of the day, but it was still incredible all the same!
Lookout Points off of Harper’s Corner Road
After not being able to do the Harper’s Corner Trail (see below), we decided to opt for the scenic drive and do all the lookouts along the Harper’s Corner Road. They were all breathtaking views of canyons, Echo Park and the beautiful colours that laid within the rock. It was certainly worth the day trip around!
Truck hike to Echo Park Campground
We did our first Truck Hike!!! When we first heard this term we truly didn’t understand what it meant, are they referring to hikers but in a truck? Now we understand after doing one, it is taking a road that requires high clearance vehicles in order to venture down it. The road down to Echo Park Campground is just that! Bumpy roads and fantastic views down the 12 mile road … which took us around 30 minutes from the turn off from Harper’s Corner Road. At the bottom, there is a first come first serve campground and several unmarked trails around the rivers and towards Jenny Lind Rock. We had a picnic there and hiked around this beautiful spot admiring the scenery. There is a calm spot in the river where you could paddle board or go swimming. We were kicking ourselves for not thinking of bringing our bathing suits or paddle board!
What we missed
Harper’s Corner Trail is at the end of Harper’s Corner Road about 30 minute drive from the site we were at. It was in our itinerary, we took Kenya with us, got all the way there to find out they don’t allow dogs on the trail. So sad! I usually check to make sure these hikes are dog friendly but, just assumed that it would be fine for this one….guess not!
We purchased some plexiglas from Lowe’s in Twin Falls on our way here to do a temporary fix to the broken window. Jason managed to put it in and add temporary tint to it until we can figure out how to order a new one from Montana …. we will see how long that takes!