Between Dinosaur National Monument and Steamboat Springs, CO along Route 40 there’s a lot of mountains but not a lot of towns or gas stations, so we were happy to come across Yampa River Campground in Hayden, CO to fill/dump our tanks.
We’d been without hookups for a few days, and if we’d had enough driving for the day, we definitely would’ve stayed here, but we needed to keep going. The park has 35 spots with electric hookup for $20. They charged us $10 to use the dump station, but seriously, we didn’t see anything else along the road for hours! I was particularly taken with the patio things over the picnic tables. As you can see, the place was empty.
And the spots were level and big.
I know we’ll get back to this part of the country soon, so I’m marking this campsite as a place to stay!
We can’t wait to visit the Grand Tetons again.
Someday we’ll go back and spend 4 or 5 days to really experience everything — even the drive there was amazing.
From Rawlins, we headed up 287 North and saw some of the most beautiful scenery on the trip.
The little town of Lander was pretty neat too — very cowboy.
We stayed at one of the park sites with no hook ups — there are certain rows that allow generators and certain rows that prohibit generators, so make sure you check on that before you pay for your site!
They didn’t tell us that until we’d already been assigned, which was a bummer. Why? Because it was cold.
Although we had a short time in the mountains, we tried to to fit in some kayaking. Which maybe wasn’t the best idea considering the temperature, but we toughed it out.
There are a lot of boat docks and beaches to launch from and a few islands out in the lake to explore. Apparently the rest of the visitors thought it was too cold. We didn’t see a single person the whole time.
We left Alumafandango on Sunday, and since we had a few professional photographers in our group who’ve posted some amazing stuff…I’m going to send you to them (here are a few of our shots too).
Dan and Marlene took some amazing photos of the event — plus their kids are crazy cute. http://malimish.com/. That’s a picture I took of Dan standing under the Caravel frame at Timeless Travel Trailers.
Laura’s the pro in the group and captured some incredible shots — that’s her throwing herself, and her camera, into the bumper boat action at the park. http://www.riveted-blog.com/2012/08/alumafandango-day-4.html
Anna took an incredible amount of photos of all the Airstreams at the event and posted them here in Part 1 and Part 2. This is Anna also taking a photo at Timeless Travel Trailers!
I’m still sorting out all my photos from the trip — plus I haven’t had internet for 2 days, so for now, please check out these other sites and enjoy the pictures!
Route 40 from Park City to Dinosaur National Monument is pretty desolate, but when we started mapping out this trip, Deke was pretty excited about seeing dinosaurs and doing some Dinosaur National Monument Camping, and I didn’t research the most scenic route there, so here we are!
I threw this photo in there because I was so excited to see an actual structure, I took a picture, but this is pretty much the drive for about 3 hours. Also, there aren’t a lot of gas stations, so definitely stop when you can. We found a tiny two-pump Sinclair (of course) around DNM, but they were out of gas. How do you know when you’re close to DNM?
You hit the town of Vernal:
I don’t really know why this one is eating a watermelon.
There are two entrances if you want to go Dinosaur National Monument camping , one in Colorado and one in Utah, but the Utah side is the one with dinosaur bones, so make sure you stop there – it’s actually in the town of Jensen. The signage is pretty sparse so if you see this:
you’ve gone too far.
For our Dinosaur National Monument camping trip, we stayed at the Green River Campground (that’s it down there in the trees) which doesn’t take reservations and is $12 a night. It’s a great spot — really quiet, next to Cub Creek with a pretty good restroom, but no showers. There weren’t a lot of people when we were there either, but I imagine it gets filled up on the weekends.
We’d suggest picking up the Self Guided Auto Tour brochure for $1 at the park entrance. It tells you where the hiking paths are along the road and places to stop to see petroglyphs.
And funky geological formations.
What most people come here for is to visit the Quarry Exhibit Hall. In a nutshell, the quarry is a section of mountain that’s been excavated and found to contains over 1,500 dinosaur bones. After removing some for exhibit, the rest were left embedded in the wall and an enclosure was built around them for viewing.
Other than camping and dinosaur bone looking, there are a lot of roads to get lost on around the area Bureau of Land Management land around to do some hiking or test out the 4×4 capabilities of your truck, which Deke was happy to do.
After leaving Twin Falls, Idaho we headed to Park City, UT where we spent the night at Jordenelle State Park.
It looked fun place to visit and there were a few parks nearby, but the area has been hit by wildfires recently so we weren’t sure if we’d be able to find a place to camp. When we got there, the closest park to the town was Jordanelle State Park, which was reported closed on their website. As we drove up towards the park there were tv crews and barricades and a giant sign that said “Residents Only’ at the entrance to the peninsula. We could actually see the smoldering fire and the acres it has burned just in the last week (this is taken from the road in front of the park — all the black you see on the hill is burned land).
However, we also saw a few RVs in the park, so I called the office at 4:37pm and asked if they were open. They had just opened at 4pm. Then the ranger laughed when I asked if they had any spots open.
It might not have been the smartest camping decision ever — staying at a park immediately adjacent to a contained, but smoldering, wildfire but it was where we wanted to be, so we camped.
The park was awesome — if albeit a little chaotic having been evacuated the night before. The workers were a bit frazzled, and we had to do a bit of maneuvering to get to a spot because of closed roads, but it was worth it.
The spaces are on a hill, so almost all of them have a view of the Jordanelle Resevoir and the mountains beyond. Paved pull-through spots come with a concrete picnic area, table and fire pit (although fires are obviously outlawed at the moment). It’s 4 miles from Park City, which we discovered to be a fantastic town. So much so, that I almost convinced Deke to stay another night. Actually, I really didn’t want to leave at all. It’s everything the photos look like, and seems to be a mix of the best spots we’ve been to on the CA coast – a bit cosmopolitan, but very casual, which everything you need. Here’s Deke enjoying the offerings at the High West Distillery .
If it wasn’t for the super boring drive there (the state of Utah west of Park City is incredibly un-scenic on Route 40), I’d want to come back very soon.