June 11, 2012

Canyon Country

As we learned last Wednesday, there is much more to Dinosaur National Monument than dinosaur bones.  At least half of the park is the canyon country of the Green and Yampa Rivers.  In order to access canyon country, we took the thirty-one mile drive to Harpers Corner on the Colorado side of the park the next day.  This part of the park is not as well-known as the area containing the dinosaur quarry.  In fact, there are no dinosaurs here.  Tim and I have both traveled extensively in this part of the west, and neither one of us had been to this part of Colorado.  I’m so glad we decided to take this drive.

I would hate to guess how many times I’ve used the words “spectacular,” “amazing,” “awesome” or “stunning” to describe what we’ve seen on this trip.  Despite their overuse, the canyons we saw today can only be described that way.  From a series of overlooks and trails, we looked down at the labyrinth canyons that had been cut deeply into the rocks.  Sheer cliffs, great faults and rainbow-hued rocks only added drama to the scene.    

Plug Hat Butte
The Beginning of Canyon Country
A Road Leading Down into the Canyon
Labyrinth Canyons
An unexpected treat was seeing the wildflowers that bloom in the spring at these high elevations.  A profusion of yellow, red and blue blossoms seemed to flourish in the arid environment.  These delicate flowers were such a stark contrast to the wildness of the canyons.

A Profustion of Wildflowers
Butterfly on the Scarlet Gilia

When we reached the end of the road, we hiked to the end of Harpers Corner to take in the most dramatic view of all, the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers.  We climbed through pinyon pine and juniper forests on our way to the tip of a promontory overlooking the canyons.  It’s hard to describe just how rugged these canyons appear from above.  I don’t know how high we were above the rivers, but the rafts we spotted floating down the Green River appeared no larger than small dots.  The view from this spot was one that I will not easily forget.

The End of the Trail
Yampa River Canyon
Green River Canyon
Tim and Sarah at Canyon Country
We retraced our steps and left Dinosaur National Monument.  We drove eastward across a lonely stretch of northwestern Colorado and camped for the night at Yampa River State Park.  It was a long, but good day.


  1. I couldn't help thinking that that is some "glorious" sculpting! LV

    1. LV, That's a great way to describe the canyons. Sarah

  2. Beautiful sites, thank-you for sharing. Love A

    1. A, I'm glad you enjoyed seeing this amazing country with us. Sarah