Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway – CO

Details

  • DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2002)
  • Intrinsic QualitiesNatural
  • LocationCO, UT
  • Length152 of 480 total miles
Statewide Byway Partners
Downloadable Colorado Byways Guide
Colorado Tourism
Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway – CO
Greg Gnesios Photo

Overview

Colorado's Dinosaur Diamond runs through the best land in the world to learn about dinosaurs. Museums along the route display many such fossils and also artifacts of the ancient Indians who once lived in the deep canyons, colorful deserts and cool mountain valleys of this part of the American West.

Local Byway Partners

Story of the Byway

Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway is aptly named: Dinosaurs once roamed here. This route contains some of the world’s most fascinating fossil quarries that reveal its prehistoric history. Along this highway are mountains, rivers and canyons that hold secrets from the past. The byway meanders through protected sites, including two national parks, two national monuments, and two great rivers of this region—Colorado River and Green River. Visible to the eye are remains embedded in the rocks – ancient stones, skeletons and petroglyphs from 100 million years ago are apparent on the surfaces of Dinosaur National Monument. Colorado National Monument is more than a monument—with its monoliths that live within the endless plateau. The red rock canyons create walls to the byway and a home for bighorn sheep and eagles.

Renamed in 2005, the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park honors Mr. Robb who was instrumental in highlighting five distinct sections of the park. These sections are uniquely different river and lake based areas for recreation. Highline Lake State Park resides within the Grand Junction area and is an ideal destination for campers, hikers and anglers. This park, with its lakes, grass, trails and trees, is designated by the Audubon Society for its migratory significance during the winter months. Also along the highway is the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area (NCA), a 210,172 acre protected public land, known to be canyon country. Red rock canyons and sandstone bluffs can be traced back 600 million years. With pinyons and junipers peppering the land, the Ute tribes continue to honor this land as a link to their ancestors. Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway is a visually compelling lesson in American history and paleontology.

Driving Directions

From Dinosaur, take CO-64E to CO-139S for 70 miles, then take a left onto US-50E to Fruita.

Points of Interest

  • Colorado National Monument

    Colorado National Monument is a desert with pinyon and junipr forests perched high on the Colorado Plateau.

  • Dinosaur National Monument

    Dinosaur National Monument is a national monument located near the Uinta Mountains on the border between Colorado and Utah.

  • Dinosaur Journey Museum

    Dinosaur Journey is a regional paleontological and geological museum that tells the story of the history of life in western Colorado.

  • James M. Robb Colorado River State Park

    The James M. Robb Colorado River State Park is an 890-acre park along the Colorado River in Mesa County near Grand Junction, Colorado.

  • Highline Lake State Park

    Highline Lake State Park is a park in Colorado with two lakes, the Highline Lake and the Mack Mesa Lake.

  • McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area

    The McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area is a 123,400-acre conservation area located in Mesa County, west of Grand Junction, Colorado.

  • Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area

    The Dominguez–Escalante National Conservation Area is a 209,610-acre conservation area located in western Colorado.

Itinerary

  • Bikes and Fossils in Fruita

    Located on the Colorado-Utah border, Fruita is a perfect gateway town along the Dinosaur Diamond byway. Begin at the Colorado Welcome Center, where you can find historical and recreational information about the area. Then haul your mountain bike to 18 Road Trails for a rugged ride on the famed desert singletrack. Head into town for pizza and beer, or a coffee pick-me-up, before relaxing at the Dinosaur Journey Museum. Continue north along the byway where you will be surrounded by steep walls of a scrub-brush valley before ascending over Douglas Pass.

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