Dinosaur tracks, green forests, pristine trails and towering Tyrannosaurus Rex bones - what more could one ask for in a vacation destination? Here in Uintah County, we take you beyond the bones and dive into the heart and soul that makes this a prime destination for many across the globe.
Tucked in the north-eastern corner of Utah, Uintah County is considered by many to be the "Origin of Adventure," and with a multitude of different recreational opportunities, it sure lives up to its name.
Red Fleet State Park
Millions of years ago, dinosaurs lived and thrived in what is now present day Vernal. Lucky for us, some of them left signs of their stay - like footprints.
Red Feet State Park is home to numerous dinosaur tracks fossilized in the rock. How many hikes can you think of that involve walking alongside 200-million-year-old dinosaur tracks? The dinosaur track hike is a 3-mile round trip, but can be somewhat difficult with multiple uphill and downhill sections. Early morning or late afternoon is the best time to see these historical marvels.
The park even has a geo-cache for those who enjoy a good treasure hunt. Here's a hint to its location: Think dinosaurs!
While the dinosaurs may be confined to the land, humans can enjoy the cool, refreshing waters at Red Feet State Park; making summer the perfect time to visit. Come join in on the fun from June 17-18 for our fourth annual Paddlefest event. The event is free, and the park will have multiple paddleboards, canoes, kayaks and other paddle-oriented watercraft for everyone to enjoy!
If you couldn't tell by now, Uintah County is all about dinosaurs - and at Dinosaurland, there is something for everyone looking to get their dino-fix.
The land is home to Dinosaur National Monument, famous for being the only place in the world that provides this kind of an interactive experience with more than 1,500 dinosaur bones and fossils.
Situated on the Colorado-Utah border, Dinosaur National Monument spans across 200,000 acres where thousands of different dinosaur fossils were discovered in the early 1900's. Not only can visitors wander the former home of these thunderous lizards, they can also get a glimpse at the not-so-distant past through many different ancient petroglyphs and pictographs..
Scenic Hiking, Biking and ATV Trails
Also located in the Uintah County is the Ashley National Forest, consisting of green trees, rocky ridges and clear skies. Over 1,000 miles of trail exist in the forest, providing visitors with seemingly endless terrain perfect for both backpacking and day hiking.
Moonshine Arch is another one of Vernal's best kept secrets. The arch is located just eight miles outside of town. It's about 85 feet long and rises 40 feet off of the ground. If you're planning on trekking to this natural marvel, be sure to pack a lunch, plenty of water, and your camera to capture your stunning adventure.
Another popular hiking trail is often shared with mountain bikers. Flume Trail up Dry Fork Canyon is a single-track trail perfect for those looking of stunning scenery on foot or a smooth bike ride (with the occasional technical challenge.)
For a more advanced ride, check out the Bassett Springs Loop. Although it's a shorter four miles, it boasts a steep and rocky downhill section, and gives riders plenty of rush. The views found along this trail are absolutely breathtaking; so feel free to walk your bike to take it all in.
Heading back to Red Fleet with your bike? Be sure to visit the Red Fleet Mountain Bike Complex for some of the best single-track mountain biking in the state. The complex offers trails catering from slalom downhill racers to technical slick rock climbs and descents. There are even some areas where you can take a quick swim in the reservoir to cool off after a tough climb.
If motor-sports are more your speed (pun intended), Uintah County can help you there as well. Those looking for a more technical riding experience can checkout the Outlaw trail located north of Vernal. This trail is a tricky one because of the sudden changes in riding terrain.
For a more family-friendly riding experience, check out the Uintah Sand Pockets. Located just north of Steinaker State Park, they're easily accessible and suitable for all riding levels.
Utah Field House of Natural History Museum and Steinaker State Parks
In addition to Red Fleet State Park, there are two other state parks nearby in Uintah County. Steinaker State Park offers access to the Uintah Sand Pockets and also contains a 825 acre reservoir perfect for fishing, wakeboarding, waterskiing and even paddleboarding.
For history buffs young and old, the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park and Museum is a must. The exhibits include nearly 3-billion years of earth history, and fossils are on display for all to see - you can even dig for them! The museum also houses an anthropology hall featuring examples of ancient and recent Native American life.
Stay the Night
Looking to stay somewhere less mainstream than a hotel? Stay the night in a teepee over at red fleet state park; this is a great way to get a true outdoor adventure experience.
If you'd like something a little more modern that still offers an outdoor experience, Cabins are available at Steinaker State Park. The cabins are equipped with a queen size bunk bed, heater, air condition, a futon, and a small refrigerator and microwave. The cabins can sleep up to six people.