A Jurassic Journey through Moffat County, Colorado

Rugged and wild, Moffat County is Colorado’s last frontier where wide open spaces hold treasures too rare to be missed.
By Jade Lang,
The sun sets over Echo Park's Steamboat Rock in Dinosaur National Monument. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Tucked in the northwestern corner of Colorado with views that rival those of the Grand Canyon is Moffat County

A little off the beaten path and away from the 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, visitors can 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, executive director of the Moffat County Tourism Association and owner of Adventure Bound River Expeditions. “Its views match or are better than the overlooks at some places in the Grand Canyon.”

Just east of the monument is a place called 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.”

If you seek more wildlife, head east to Maybell then north to the Sand Wash Basin area where one of the largest wild mustang herds still roam. Their biology can be traced back to horses brought over by early explorers from the Old World.

Wild Horses in the Sand Wash Basin. Photo courtesy of Moffat County

For More Information:
Moffat County Tourism Association
(866) 332-8436
1111 W. Victory Way #117, Craig, CO 81625
visitmoffatcounty.com

Guided River Trips through Dinosaur National Monument
www.nps.gov/dino/planyourvisit/commercialguidedrivertrips.htm