Dinosaur National Monument
- Moffat County
Aliases: Gates of Lodore, Harper's Point, Echo Park
Ownership: Federal - NPS
Description: (submitted by Andrew Spencer) When most people think of this remote (notice a theme with this part of the state?) National Monument, they think of the part in Utah with the amazing dinosaur fossils, and not the equally (or far more, in this author's mind) amazing Gates of Lodore, or Harper's Point and Echo Park.
On the north end of the park, adjacent to Browns Park NWR, are the stunning Gates of Lodore. The road into here follows the Green River for a ways, allowing good vantage points to scan for ducks, and access to some extensive cottonwood groves that may be good for migrants and have breeding species such as Eastern Kingbird, Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-breasted Chat, and others. The Gates of Lodore have nesting Canyon Wren, White-throated Swift, and lots of PJ woodland with all the benefits thereof. A trail leaves from the end of the road and goes to the mouth of the famous Canyon of Lodore.
On the south end of the park, adjacent to the Utah border, the Harper's Point road heads north from the town of Dinosaur, travels through Colorado, crosses over into Utah, and then back into Colorado to end at Harper's point. The views possible from this road are truly incomparable, and remind one of the Grand Canyon. Greater Sage-Grouse can be downright common along the southern portions of this road, and Sage Thrasher and Sage Sparrow are both possible. At Harper's Corner there is a nature trail through excellent PJ, where one can find Juniper Titmouse, Pinyon Jay, and all the other PJ regulars.
On the Utah side of the road a dirt road heads east into Colorado and down to the bottom of the canyon in Echo Park and Steamboat Rock. This road passes through lots more PJ and sagebrush, and into small but excellent riparian groves along Pool Creek on the way down to the river. Where the road hits the Green River are more riparian groves, and cliffs with White-throated Swifts, Canyon and Rock Wrens, and possibly Black Phoebes. Even if you don't see many birds here, this road is worth driving for the scenery, pictographs, and neat Whistling Cave.
Habitat: Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Lowland Riparian, Rimrock/Mesa
Directions: To get to the northern part of the National Monument, travel NW on SR-318 for 40 miles from Maybell and turn south onto CR 10. Follow CR 10 for half a mile to the intersection with CR 34 and take a right (north). Take CR 34 for a 9 miles to the Gates of Lodore. To get to the southern part of the National Monument, from the just east of the town of Dinosaur along US-40 near the Utah border, head north on Harper's Corner Road. The road is in Colorado for 21.5 miles from US-40, the crosses into Utah for 4 miles to where the Echo Park Road takes off to the east, and then an additional 4 miles to the Colorado border. From here the road goes an additional 3 miles to the parking lot for Harper's Corner. The Echo Park Road is in Utah for 3 miles and then crosses back into Colorado. From here it is 8.5 miles to the Green River.