Thrifty Trips: See dinosaurs and other natural wonders for $90


(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

If you haven’t heard of Harpers Corner, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Overlooking the confluence of the Green River and the Yampa River, the trail is located just outside Dinosaur, Colo. It is a beautiful desertscape situated 2,500 ft. above the water. My most recent trip there cost me just $90.

To get to Harpers Corner, you’ll first need to travel to Vernal, Utah, which is about 170 miles from Salt Lake City on US-40. From Vernal, Harpers Corner is just about 70 more miles away. After Vernal, keep straight on US-40 towards Colorado through Jensen, Utah. If you want to stop by and see the Dinosaur National Monument quarry (there’s a $10 entrance fee), turn left in Jensen just before you cross the Green River. Drive past the large pastures at the foot of Split Mountain.

In the dinosaur excavation building there are also replicas of a few different dinosaur skeletons. One of the coolest displays is a skull of an Allosaurus. It looked like a fierce creature back in the day and could have definitely ruled the land.

Once you’re done with the dinosaur exhibit, continue your travels east on US-40. Once you reach the Colorado border, you’ll immediately drive through the city of Dinosaur, where all the street signs are dinosaur names. We turned on to “Tyrannosaurus” just because we could.

Keep driving until you see the Canyon Area visitors center; then turn left and continue on the windy road for another hour to Harpers Corner. As you make your way up the plateau, you’ll see all sorts of landscapes every which way. There are a few overlook pullouts that you can stop at to see how vast the area is.

Once you reach the trail parking lot you’ll be enthralled by the beauty of the area. But hang tight — you have to get your hiking shoes on and walk the trail for about 1.5 miles to get to the vantage point.

Be sure to bring a lot of water because this area heats up fast. The beginning of the trail is all downhill and then flattens out. It is amazing to think that the river carved each of the deep canyon walls over millions of years.

While at both sides of the vantage point, if you look down on the river — be careful not to go past the fence — you might see some rafters floating during the hot summer months. The river is green because of all the active erosion taking place, but it is still beautiful to see.

When you’re done looking at the amazing scenery, head back the same way you came.

On your way back through Vernal, you’ll come across an iconic pink dinosaur welcoming you to the city. Go ahead and indulge your inner tourist, and snap a quick picture to remind you of your trip to Colorado.

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