If you go . . .
Getting there: Vernal, the capital of Dinosaurland, is about 175 miles from Salt Lake City.Getting around: Because many roads are unpaved, a four-wheel drive is your best bet. Even with one, some roads are impassable in bad weather, so check conditions. Also make sure your spare tire is in good shape and carry plenty of water.
Base camp: Vernal makes a fine one, and not just because it has the Dine-A-Ville Motel. This city of 7,500 offers several other modern lodgings, a Wal-Mart and other traveler amenities. Skip the fast-food chains and try something local, like the funky Mexican fare at La La's Fiesta (550 E. Main St., 801-789-2966). For more information, stop by the Vernal Area Chamber of Commerce at 134 W. Main St. or call 801-789-1352.
Dinosaurland Visitors Center: At 235 E. Main St. in Vernal, it's a great source of info about national forests, state parks and other attractions. Check out a series of brochures describing local driving and walking tours. Intrepid hikers may want to ask for directions to the area's only natural arch. Open 8 a.m. (9 a.m. in winter) to 5 p.m. daily. Call 801-789-7894. Or call the Dinosaurland Travel Board at 800-477-5558 or 801-789-6932. Web site: (http://www.dinoland.com).
Dinosaur National Monument: Straddling the Utah-Colorado border, about 20 miles east of Vernal, the park is accessible by only a handful of roads. Admission is $10 per vehicle. Most visitors take U.S. 40 to Jensen and enter near the Quarry Visitor Center. Hours are daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (until 4:30 p.m. in winter). Other points of interest include pictographs and nature trails, including the Sounds of Silence Trail. (A few years ago, Backpacker magazine rated a spot in the park one of the country's top 10 quietest places.) Maps and trail guides, camping info, souvenirs and more can be obtained at the center bookstore. Call 801-789-2115. Monument headquarters is farther east on U.S. 40 at the Colorado town of Dinosaur (970-374-3000). Find details at the park's Web site at (http://www.nps.gov/dino).
Utah Field House of Natural History State Park: At 235 E. Main St. in Vernal, the museum is open daily 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in summer (until 5 p.m. in winter). Admission is $2 per person or $5 per family. You can't miss the dinosaur garden, which contains 18 life-size models. 801-789-3799.
Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackway: Walk in the big guys' footprints on a 3/4-mile trail on the north side of Red Fleet Reservoir, 10 miles north of Vernal. 801-789-4432.
Just over the border: In Fruita, Colo., the Dinamation International Society runs the Devils Canyon Science & Learning Center, which is famous for its displays of robotic dinosaurs. The group also offers summer fossil-hunting programs (800-DIG-DINO or 344-3466). Nearby is the self-guided Dinosaur Hill Interpretive Trail and Trail through Time. Grand Junction has the Museum of Western Colorado's Dinosaur Valley Museum (970-242-0971) and other dino attractions.
OTHER UTAH DINO SITES
College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum: Located in Price, it boasts having the world's largest collection of dino tracks, several complete skeletons and more. About 35 miles north of Price is the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, one of the world's most productive Jurassic-period quarries, which has exhibits including the only known Stegosaurus footprints. 801-637-5060.
Museum of the San Rafael: More skeletons 'n' stuff, in Castle Dale. 801-381-5252.
George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park: If you didn't get enough dino replicas in Vernal, you can walk amongst the cement and fiberglass ones in this outdoor park in Ogden. 801-393-DINO (that is, 3466).
Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail, Sauropod Dinosaur Tracksite and Potash Road Dinosaur Tracks: Around Moab. Before making tracks for these and other sites, call the Moab Information Center at 800-635-6622.
Dinosaur Museum of Blanding: 801-678-3454.
Brigham Young University Earth Science Museum: In Provo.