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Jerry Pillarelli | profile | all galleries >> Travel and Nature >> US Travel >> Utah >> Dinosaur National Monument - Utah / Colorado >> Dinosaur National Monument – Canyon Area – Utah tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Dinosaur National Monument – Canyon Area – Utah

Images of Dinosaur National Monument – northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado, taken in May 2016.

Central to the canyon area of Dinosaur National Monument is Echo Park. Early in the 1950s, more than 35 years after Dinosaur became a national monument, this area became a battleground pitting conservationists against politicians in the western states seeking to use dams to generate cheap hydroelectric power; and Dinosaur National Monument was selected as a sight for one of those dams. We had seen it happen in the past; in the early 1900s the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park was dammed flooding the Hetch Hetchy Valley swallowing spectacular waterfalls and vistas that rivaled Yosemite Valley itself. It was here, in Echo Park, that the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society waged a campaign to stop development of this type in our national parks arguing that, if a national monument was not safe from this sort of development then how could any wilderness area be protected? In the end the conservationist won and in 1956 the Colorado River Storage Project Act became law establishing “that no dam or reservoir constructed under the Act shall be within any National Park or Monument”; setting a precedent for future protection of our national parks.

About halfway up the paved Harpers Corner Drive is the unpaved Echo Park Road which descends directly into the canyon area of the park. Not necessarily a 4 wheel drive road but not one you would want to traverse with the family car or minivan; I was able to drive it in my all-wheel drive Subaru without any problems. It was a beautiful trip across plateaus and through canyons that ultimately ended in Echo Park; a spectacular place cut by the Green River and highlighted by the massive feature called Steamboat Rock. Now later in the day I would continue up the paved Harpers Corner Drive to view the canyons from above and that is an incredible sight, however, actually standing in Echo Park was comparatively a religious experience! I spent hours hiking along the Green River (remember this is the same Green River responsible for creating the canyons in Canyonlands National Park), surrounded by towering cliffs, through open grassy fields and along the river’s banks. In six hours of exploration here and along the Yampa Bench Road I ran into only a handful of people; in Echo Park, one guy on a trail, a large group of friends rafting the river who I talked with when they came ashore to refill their water jugs; and a family of four along the Yampa Bench Road. It was otherwise total solitude and incredible beauty everywhere here in the Garden of Eden…I mean, Echo Park…(you can understand my confusion after I ran into a snake on one of the trails!) and thank goodness for the people with the strength and fortitude that stood up to save it!
Sand Canyon along the Echo Park Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Sand Canyon along the Echo Park Road in Dinosaur National Monument
A natural arch along the Echo Park Road in Dinosaur National Monument
A natural arch along the Echo Park Road in Dinosaur National Monument
The old Chew ranch along the Echo Park Road in Dinosaur National Monument
The old Chew ranch along the Echo Park Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock from the entrance to Echo Park along the Echo Park Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock from the entrance to Echo Park along the Echo Park Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock from along the Echo Park Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock from along the Echo Park Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock in Echo Park along the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock in Echo Park along the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock and the Green River in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock and the Green River in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock from the banks of the Green River in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock from the banks of the Green River in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
The Green River and Steamboat Rock in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
The Green River and Steamboat Rock in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
The Green River running through Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
The Green River running through Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
The Green River just upstream from the confluence with the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument
The Green River just upstream from the confluence with the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument
Echo Park and the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument
Echo Park and the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument
Snake along the trail in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Snake along the trail in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
The Green River running through Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
The Green River running through Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock and the Green River in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock and the Green River in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock and the Green River in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock and the Green River in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Sandbar in the Green River as it runs by Steamboat Rock in Dinosaur National Monument
Sandbar in the Green River as it runs by Steamboat Rock in Dinosaur National Monument
Flowers along the trail in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Flowers along the trail in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
The Green River running through Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
The Green River running through Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Geese fly over the Green River in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Geese fly over the Green River in Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Rafters on the Green River as they pass through Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Rafters on the Green River as they pass through Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument
Rafters exiting Echo Park along the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument
Rafters exiting Echo Park along the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument
Castle Park from the overlook along the Yampa Bench Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Castle Park from the overlook along the Yampa Bench Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Castle Park from the overlook along the Yampa Bench Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Castle Park from the overlook along the Yampa Bench Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Harding Hole from the overlook along the Yampa Bench Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Harding Hole from the overlook along the Yampa Bench Road in Dinosaur National Monument
Echo Park from the Harpers Corner Drive (note the Echo Park Road in the canyon on the right) in Dinosaur National Monument
Echo Park from the Harpers Corner Drive (note the Echo Park Road in the canyon on the right) in Dinosaur National Monument
A Ruffed Grouse in Dinosaur National Monument
A Ruffed Grouse in Dinosaur National Monument
Deer along the Harpers Corner Drive in Dinosaur National Monument
Deer along the Harpers Corner Drive in Dinosaur National Monument
Flowers in Dinosaur National Monument
Flowers in Dinosaur National Monument
Canyons as viewed from the Harpers Corner Trail in Dinosaur National Monument
Canyons as viewed from the Harpers Corner Trail in Dinosaur National Monument