"Dinosaur National Monument contains famous fossil finds, dramatic river canyons, intriguing petroglyphs, and endless opportunities for adventure." We visited the Utah side of the park which is the only side that offers dinosaur fossils.
To Do: There is an easy driving tour called Tour of Tilted Rocks that winds through beautiful desert landscapes to a few stops that are easy accessible without a lot of effort. A couple of the best stops are to view some of the Fremont people petroglyphs, and the other is at the Josie Bassett Morris Homestead (one heck of a lady for her day).
The highlight of the park is the Quarry Exhibition Hall where you can view the wall of approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones! There are remains of different dinosaur species such as: Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Diplodicus, and Stegosaurus to name a few. There are places where you are encouraged to touch real 149 million year old dinosaur fossils! From here, we went on a Ranger-led walk along the Fossil Discovery Trail where the kids got to try their hand at discovering fossils since in the rocks!
Camping: There are six campgrounds located around the monument with three on the Utah side and another three on the Colorado side. We choose the Green River campground which was close to the river and the shortest distance to the Dinosaur Quarry. There was no hook-ups or showers but there was flush toilets. Not all campgrounds accommodate RV's so check their website for more information.
There is a Junior Ranger program so don't miss out!
Hard to get to and hard to forget! Situated close to the border of Utah, this park rises from the desert floor to lush forest with lots of wildlife. The impressive Lehman Cave tour is a must. There is a Junior Ranger Program and the rangers offer other programs such as astronomy.
All Great Basin National Park Campsites are first come - first served. Reservations are not available for overnight camping. There is a choice of five campgrounds. We stayed at Wheeler Peak which is spectacular. To get to this campground, note that the road is closed to single vehicles or trailers in excess of 24 feet in length. The road is narrow, winding, and climbs an 8% grade in 12 miles.
Recommend the Alpine Lake Loop Trail (2.7 miles) which connects to the Bristlecone Trail that takes you to an ancient bristlecone pine grove.
Please note that having a pet with you will limit your activities in Great Basin National Park. Kennel services are not available in or around the park.
"Joshua Tree National Park is immense, nearly 800,000 acres, and infinitely variable. It can seem unwelcoming, even brutal during the heat of summer when, in fact, it is delicate and extremely fragile. This is a land shaped by strong winds, sudden torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Rainfall is sparse and unpredictable. Streambeds are usually dry and waterholes are few. Viewed in summer, this land may appear defeated and dead, but within this parched environment are intricate living systems waiting for the opportune moment to reproduce. The individuals, both plant and animal, that inhabit the park are not individualists. They depend on their entire ecosystem for survival." National Park Service Website
You really have to visit Joshua Tree National Park to truly appreciate its beauty. The iconic Joshua Trees are everywhere, some have been around for a very long time. You can tell by their multiple limbs casting strange shadows toward the end of the day.
There are many activities to partake here in this desert landscape including: *Backcountry Roads, Geology Motor Tour, Hiking, Nature Walks, Photography, Ranger & Junior Ranger programs, Rock Climbing and Stargazing.
We have done one hike in the park which is called Lost Palms Oasis which was a 7.3 mile out and back hike. It is not recommended for small ones. We have mostly down the Nature Walks. Our favorites are:
Barker Dam, Cholla Cactus Garden (a must), Cottonwood Springs, Oasis of Mara, and Skull Rock.
There are 9 different campgrounds offering about 500 developed campsites. Most campgrounds in Joshua Tree are first-come, first-served, throughout the year. Reservations are available for Black Rock and Indian Cove campgrounds during the busy season from October through May.
Bring water with you!! Water is available at only a few locations around the edges of the park:
Black Rock Campground
Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms
Indian Cove Ranger Station (no RV water access)
West Entrance (no RV water access)
Plan ahead and bring at least two gallons of water per person, per day for your trip to Joshua Tree.
There are no hookups for RVs at any campground in Joshua Tree. Black Rock and Cottonwood Campgrounds have RV-accessible potable water and dump stations. At Hidden Valley and White Tank Campgrounds, RVs and trailers may not exceed a combined maximum length of 25 feet.