A Jurassic Journey through Moffat County, Colorado

An uncrowded national park and animals from prehistoric times and today meet in Moffat County, Colo.
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Steamboat Rock in Dinosaur National Monument

Steamboat Rock in Dinosaur National Monument

Tucked in the northwestern corner of Colorado with views that rival those of the Grand Canyon, Moffat County is your next destination en route to the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park.

A little off the beaten path and away from 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, 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 converge in the middle of Dinosaur National Monument, and the canyons are a sight to see, especially by river raft.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” says Tom Kleinschnitz who co-owns Adventure Bound River Expeditions that runs river trips on the Green and Yampa rivers. “Its views 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 times in the middle of the winter where they’ll bunch up into a herd of 800 to 1,000,” Kleinschnitz says. “So that’s an opportunity for people to really take incredible pictures.”

Wild Horses at Sand Wash Basin in Moffat County, Colo.

Wild Horses at Sand Wash Basin in Moffat County, Colo.

Then head east to Maybell and north to the Sand Wash Basin area where one of the largest wild mustang herds still roam. Their genetics can be traced back to horses brought over by early European explorers.

For more information:
Moffat Tourism Association, 250 W Victory Way,  Craig, Colo. www.visitmoffatcounty.com