Red Rocks to Reserviors – Delores, Colorado to Flaming Gorge Recreation Area, Utah

We spent a few days meandering back and forth across the border between Colorado and Utah as we worked our way north from Delores, Colorado toward Wyoming.

Along the way we were treated to beautiful red rock views through Moab. Being a holiday weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) Moab was bustling with people cycling, river rafting, camping, dirt biking and more. The level of activity in this town was amazing. We had hoped to visit Arches National Park while we were there, but the traffic getting into the entrance was horrendous. After waiting for over an hour and getting seemingly nowhere, we decided to forgo the park this time around. A future trip to Moab is definitely in order!

Prior to getting to Moab we did make a quick stop off at Wilson Arch which is right along Highway 191. Despite the holiday crowds, it was still amazingly beautiful and well worth the stop to climb up into the arch and enjoy the surrounding views.

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Wilson Arch along Highway 191 just south of Moab, Utah

We also stopped off near Dinosaur, Colorado to check out the Dinosaur National Monument.

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Dinosaur National Monument spans across two states with entrances in Dinosaur, Colorado and Jensen, Utah

We arrived late in the afternoon, so we found a place to set up camp for the night. It was a nice little area with tall wispy little yellow flowers. So tall, the dogs couldn’t see over them without jumping. We let them romp around in the flowers while we enjoyed dinner.

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Achilles and Daisy going for a little romp through the flowers

It was terribly windy and the sky turned from bright blue to dark grey in the blink of eye. The clouds were threatening and I could hear thunder rolling in the distance. Although the ground was firm, there were deep tracks that appeared to be left in mud by animals roaming the land. I was nervous we would get the truck and trailer stuck in the mud and not be able to continue on our trip, but Ryan assured me everything would be okay. He said if there was any chance of rain in the area it wouldn’t come anywhere near us, just because he wanted it to. He claimed to be some kind of deity, with the power to part clouds and repel rain. Well guess what…he was right!

In the morning we awoke to blue skies and dry ground. We headed out to the Dinosaur National Monument near Dinosaur, Colorado. However, we learned when we got there that the park is rather large, spanning the border of Utah and Colorado. The quarry and majority of artifacts were found on the Utah side of the park, just north of Jensen. So we headed there next.

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An Allosaurus skull on display at Dinosaur National Monument

They had a nice visitor center and gift shop, and a shuttle bus that takes you to the quarry site, where they have discovered several species of dinosaur bones all at one site.

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Dinosaur bones encased in the stone wall of the quarry at Dinosaur National Monument

There were also several trails throughout the park that allow you to explore the geological features and the native american influence such as these petroglyphs. Although you could tell there was some graffiti mixed in with the native art.

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Petroglyphs give a glimpse of native american cultures that called this area home at Dinosaur National Monument

The park also has a couple nice little campgrounds located right on the Green River for those who wish to stay, but we were ready to move on and enjoy the rest of our journey.

It’s easy to get hungry when you’re on the road, we made sandwiches along the way and brought snacks with us in the truck, but sometimes you just want a thick juicy burger. That’s when we came across a sign that read “Best Grub in the Basin.” There was ample space for parking the trailer on the street right outside, so we stopped for our first meal out of the trip in Vernal, Utah at Country Grub.

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We must have gotten lucky, because we rolled in at about 3:20pm and they took our order with a smile. Unfortunately the person behind us wasn’t so lucky, because they told him they closed at 3 o’clock. It seemed to be popular, because people just kept rolling in and getting politely turned away. The place had a cozy country diner/dive feel, and touted local beef and homemade fries. Although the burgers were not super thick, they were delicious, just as we had hoped. They also offered a nice selection of fries with various seasonings that paired well with the burgers.

Our next stop along the way was Flaming Gorge Dam. Unfortunately the visitor center was closed when we got there.  I’m not sure if we just got there too late, or if it was because it was Memorial Day, but we didn’t have an opportunity to learn the history about it, or see the dam up close.  The dam was pretty impressive in its height from what we could see. And the reservoir was absolutely beautiful.

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A view of the Flaming Gorge Dam and visitor center in Utah

So beautiful in fact that we decided to stop and spend a couple of nights camped by the reservoir in the Antelope Flats area. I’m assuming they call it that because of the large herd of pronghorn we saw roaming the area.

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Sunset over the lake in Flaming Gorge

While in the area, we also saw yellow-bellied marmots, osprey and lots of other birds including geese and these pretty little mud hens that built their nests on the side of the rock formations along the water.

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Birds nesting on the rock faces along the water in Flaming Gorge reservoir

Of course, since we were staying right on the water, we had to do some kayaking.

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Kayaking on the Green River through Flaming Gorge as birds fly overhead

And we took a nice little hike around part of the lake.

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Flaming Gorge reservoir sits against a backdrop of snow-covered peaks, demonstrating the incredible diversity of Utah’s landscape

We also decided anyone could cross the border into another state by road, so we chose to do it by kayak. Welcome to Wyoming!

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Kayaking the Green River in Flaming Gorge from Utah across the state line into Wyoming

The pups enjoyed playing in the water as they always do,

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Achilles chasing the kayak into the lake

as well as hiking with us.

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Hiking around the lake at Flaming Gorge

 

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We had such a good time at Flaming Gorge it was almost sad to leave, but we were ready to make our way into Wyoming and get one step closer to Yellowstone.

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