A Jurassic Journey through Moffat County, Colorado

Publish date:
Echo Park's Steamboat Rock in Dinosaur National Monument

Echo Park's Steamboat Rock in Dinosaur National Monument

An uncrowded national park site and animals from prehistoric times and today meet in Moffat County.

Tucked in the northwestern corner of Colorado with views that rival those of the Grand Canyon, Moffat County is an unexpected destination en route to Yellowstone National Park.

A little off the beaten path and away from the crowds, Moffat County encompasses the towns of Craig, Maybell, Hamilton, Massadona and Lay and is home to two-thirds of Dinosaur National Monument.

The monument is a breathtaking collection of river canyons, fossils and petroglyphs. Inside the Quarry Exhibit Hall, visitors can see more than 1,500 dinosaur fossils on a cliff wall and touch fossils from 149 million years ago.

The Green River and Yampa River confluence in the middle of Dinosaur National Monument, and the canyons are a sight to see by river raft or in your vehicle. Jump on a raft with Good Vibes Rafting or call Red Coyote Shuttle for shuttles, if you have a lottery-administered permit and your own boat.The Green River offers single day trips while Yampa River trips are multi-day and a great way to experience the area in a unique and adventurous way. 

“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” says Tom Kleinschnitz who serves as Moffat County tourism director. “The views along the Yampa and Green River corridors and on the Yampa Bench Road in Dinosaur National Monument match or are better than the overlooks at some places in the Grand Canyon.”

On the monument's eastern edge is Deerlodge Park where visitors can see hundreds of elk year-round.There are restrooms and eight camping sites. To get there, go west from Craig on Hwy. 40 to mile marker 44. Take the Deerlodge Park Road north for 12 miles, following the paved road to the campground.

“There are times in the middle of the winter where they’ll bunch up into a herd of hundreds,” Kleinschnitz says. “So that’s an opportunity for people to really take incredible pictures.”

Wild Horses in the Sand Wash Basin near Moffat County

Wild Horses in the Sand Wash Basin

If you seek more wildlife, head east to Maybell then north to the Sand Wash Basin area where one of the largest wild mustang herds still roam. Their biology can be traced back to horses brought over by early explorers from the Old World. Sand Wash Basin is 45 miles west of Craig, Colo. Drive west on Hwy. 40 past Maybell. Turn north on Hwy. 318 and drive about 15 miles. Turn right on County Road 75.

Wild horses in Colorado's Sand Wash Basin in Moffat County

For More Information:
Moffat County Tourism Association
(866) 332-8436
250 W. Victory Way in Craig, CO 81625

Guided River Trips through Dinosaur National Monument


Kayaking on Grand Lake in Grand County Colorado

Grand Adventures in Grand County, Colorado

Leaning up against the national park's west side, Grand County offers unparalleled outdoor opportunities without the crowds most ski towns have.

Sightseeing from the road in Park County, Colorado

Drive Colorado’s Best-Kept Secret Road in Park County

Point your wheels towards evergreen forests, pristine rivers and abundant wildlife opening up to a beautiful high alpine valley, guarded by breathtaking peaks.

Rafting on the Green River inside Dinosaur National Monument

Vernal's Hidden Gem says, "Welcome to Dinosaurland"

You’ll dig ancient animal history in Vernal, Utah, located close to Dinosaur National Monument

Pawnee Buttes National Grassland near Fort Morgan-Morgan County, Colorado

High Plains Scenery in Morgan County

Stop by Fort Morgan, Brush and Pawnee National Grassland to stretch your legs and experience a different side of Colorado.

Kids touch dinosaur bones at Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument on the Colorado-Utah Border

A massive piece of protected land at the northern state border of Colorado and Utah, sits one of the world's richest dinosaur deposits.

El Moro Spirits and Tavern in Durango

Community First in Durango, Colorado

The great outdoors, creative food and passion for the community meet in Durango, Colo. But its heart is the Durango & Silverton Railroad.

Paddleboarding in Sheep Creek on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge Country's Desert Oasis

Take a break from the desert heat by jumping in the sparkling water and spend several days exploring this 91-mile-long reservoir.

Downtown Trinidad

Enjoy the Ride in Trinidad, Colorado

Scenic drives, stunning landscapes and strolls through a historic downtown await in Trinidad, Colo.

Garden of the Gods in front of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs

6 Adventures in Colorado Springs

From Bigfoot sightings to driving to the top of a 14,000-foot-peak, here are our tips to making the most of your time. The bonus? Most are free.