Anglers Inn Best Value Vernal

Say "Vernal" to most Utahns and the word that most often comes to mind is "dinosaurs." Vernal is close to Dinosaur National Monument and downtown Vernal offers the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum . Not into dinosaurs? No worries. You'll find plenty of territory to hike, bike , and raft all summer long. Vernal is a gateway to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area . Stretching 90 miles, the reservoir is famous for water sports, trout fishing, and spectacular scenery. Boaters and water skiers shouldn't miss Steinaker State Park , Red Fleet State Park and anglers will want to hit the "Blue Ribbon" Green River, a world-renowned fly-fishing destination. Winter offers miles of some of Utah's best snowmobile terrain. This area is also the southern and eastern gateway to the High Uintas Wilderness Area. To learn more about Vernal, read "Vernal Equinox" below or visit Utah's Dinosaurland .

Family Fun Adventures

Become a Junior Scientist or a Peewee Paleo in the heart of Dinosaurland at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum. Children ages eight to 12 can explore the museum, labeling bones and completing hands-on activities. Children ages seven and under can follow a scavenger hunt out into the garden, where 14 life-sized prehistoric models (including a T-Rex and a woolly mammoth) are displayed, (435) 789-3799.

Northeastern Utah's dinosaur legacy comes to life at Dinosaur National Monument, where geological and climatic forces have tilted, warped, and eroded the earth's crust to reveal a treasure trove of fossils.

Located on the Utah border with Colorado, there is something for everyone in Dinosaur National Monument. Take your pick of touring the dinosaur quarry (kids love seeing the cool bones and fossils), going on driving tours around the park, hiking the nature trails, backpacking, white-water river running, photography, bird-watching, fishing, general sightseeing, and biking.

Looking for simple relaxation? You may be interested to know that Dinosaur National Monument, Utah ranks as one of the country's quietest places. And the monument has another thing going for it as well: clean air. It can be measured by the intensity of color in the lichen on the rocks. The park also boasts some of the most magnificent Dark Skies in the state, perfect for stargazing and connecting with the monument's primordial foundation. Look for Dark Sky programs at the Split Mountain Campground

Come for the magnificent prehistory, stay for the outdoor adventure. Whether you have a passion for paleontology or an inkling for adventure, Dinosaur National Monument offers a full array of rich history and scenic splendor, all connected by beautiful trails, rivers or rugged desert backcountry.

Dinosaur Adventures at a Glance

Dinosaur National Monument features two distinct districts with separate visitor centers. The gateway to the park's prehistory is in the Dinosaur Quarry near Jensen, Utah. Here you will uncover the world-famous fossil exhibits that give the park its name. The Canyon district extends along the Green and Yampa rivers and provides extensive outdoor recreation opportunity. Check out the interactive map below to find more things to do in the region.

Must-see and Must-do Dinosaur Guide

• Observe Dinosaur Bones at the Quarry Exhibit Hall

• Read the “Stories in the Rocks”: Visit Petroglyphs and Pictographs

• Enjoy the Monument's Many Day Hikes

• Drive the Scenic Back Roads

• Run Whitewater River Rapids

Deep channels carved into rugged landscapes contain stained-glass waters that capture the play of light, shadow and color of the rising sun. Varying water temperatures through the seasons create unique scenarios for anglers after trophy lake trout and a number of other fish species. Flaming Gorge might be the West's most spectacular reservoir. It certainly is one of the best fisheries around, with Blue Ribbon -designated angling on both the reservoir and the Green River for several miles beyond the dam. And then there's the way the sun catches the red canyon walls, the revitalizing aura of the encompassing Ashley National Forest and High Uintas Wilderness, the prolific wildlife and the quaint, hospitable communities.

Flaming Gorge National Recreation area is an all-encompassing outdoor recreation destination. With more than 200,000 acres of land and water, Flaming Gorge is a scenic playground for boating, waterskiing, windsurfing, camping and backpacking in addition to some of the best fishing in the west.

To extend your stay in Flaming Gorge, Utah border towns Manila and Dutch John offer Flaming Gorge lodging . Comfortable rooms, cabins, and campgrounds encircle the area, ranging from handcrafted cabins with onsite recreation near the lake or rustic destinations on Forest Service roads in the nearby Uinta Mountains. Red Canyon Lodge , for example, features luxury log cabin lodging, fine dining, a private lake, horseback riding and more, providing a complete resort experience with those 200,000 acres of recreation standing by. There are also developed campgrounds and dispersed camping on the Ashley National Forest. To combine with Dinosaur National Monument , consider accommodations an hour south of Flaming Gorge in Vernal , Utah.

Red Fleet State Park

Discover Northern Utah's "Little Lake Powell"

Red Fleet State Park is surrounded by beautiful sandstone cliffs. Both cozy and scenic, it's located just a few miles north of Vernal , Utah. It's a perfect base for exploring the surrounding area and offers stellar camping, hiking, swimming, fishing and biking — truly making it a destination in itself.

What Makes It Great

The campground is located on the western shores and gives a panoramic view of the reservoir. The 31 sites can accommodate both RVs and tents, though only a handful offer standard water and electric hookups. Starting mid-May, Red Fleet begins accepting reservations, which are a good idea, especially for weekends. They even have two sites that come with in-situ, large teepees — make your reservation for these well in advance. Each campsite contains a fire ring, barbecue grill, and covered picnic table. There is potable water available close to each campsite and the clean and convenient restrooms have flush toilets. The boat launch is paved and they offer courtesy docks and a swimming platform near a sandy beach.

Located in the heart of Dinosaur Land, Red Fleet is home to numerous dinosaur tracks of its own (Read: Hiking Red Fleet's Dinosaur Trackway ). Almost 200 million years old, these tracks were discovered near its eastern shores and have become an attraction all their own. The excellent Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackway trail (see article below) is located on the north side of the park and its easy accessibility draws in many visitors. Heading north on U.S. Highway 191 from the park's main entrance travel about one mile before making a right hand turn at the Dinosaur Trackway sign. Follow this road for 2.5 miles to the trailhead. The trail is a 1.5 mile course through a forest of junipers that travels over uneven surfaces of dirt and stone. It is passable for those with any small amount of fitness and ability, and is great for families with children of all ages — though hike with care over slanted slickrock and rocky outcroppings. Once you reach the water's edge, search through the slabs of red rock for up to forty footprints ranging from three to seventeen inches in length. You could also take a shortcut and boat across the reservoir to the tracksite, but at the expense of missing a terrific hike.

Paleontologists have surmised that three-toed, tridactyl, dinosaurs that were bipedal, walking on two legs, left these prints. This area also makes a perfect place for swimming and a picnic. A short paddle across the reservoir from the western shore of the campground is an alternate approach that's a lot of fun.

If you brought your mountain bike, the north side of Red Fleet holds a handful of short and fun single-track trails that range from intermediate to expert level riding. Check out the Jass-Chrome Molly and Three Amigos for a couple of moderate six-mile rides through the sage and junipers. For a brutal sandstone climb of 800 feet in 2.5 miles check out the Handsome Cabin Boy trail. If you are more in for the descents, check out the one-mile expert downhill course of Jumps and Ladders, A.K.A Dinotrax. This fun course holds a series of man-made obstacles along a fast and technical desert trail. Add Red Fleet State Park to your list of must-ride spots in the region!

What You'll Remember

Red Fleet State Park is a tidy, well-maintained campground and day-use area suitable for use in any season. Camping families, hikers, mountain bikers, boaters and anglers will all find a scenic landscape for their activity. Perched on the southern slopes of the Uinta Mountains, set within sculpted sandstone waves, the calm, clear and green water of Red Fleet State Park and its surroundings offer a destination all on their own.