Deep in the center of Dinosaur National Monument lies a hidden gem of natural beauty. Positioned on the Colorado side of the park where the Yampa and Green River join in deep magnificent canyons, I found the most amazing campground I’ve ever visited. Located 6.5 hours from Denver and 5.3 hours from Salt Lake City, Echo Park Campground should be on every camper’s bucket list. I visited in early June. Chosen on a whim as we drove from Denver, I had no idea what wonders we would see in the next 24 hours.
This part of the state is sparsely populated, and this side of the park sees fewer visitors due to the campground's location deep within the park. Getting to this area by car entails a two-hour drive from Dinosaur, Colorado. First, a long two-lane paved road takes you from the park’s East entrance 25 miles, over prairie full of deer and grazing cows, to a right turn onto a very steep and winding red dirt road. When I say steep, I mean steep. There are vehicle restrictions posted on the entrance to the road. I would be hesitant to take this road if the conditions were not dry.
This is the point when the awe inspiring beauty of the park comes alive. Drawing you further and further down through deep canyons with high walls, you feel as if perhaps you’ve taken the wrong turn and that you’ll drive right off a cliff. With the multitude of views and sights around, you may if you don’t pay attention to the road. Take time to explore the road and see the different things along the way. An old homestead, petroglyphs, caves, and crumbling log and sod cabins left by generations of private owners of the land, remain for your viewing pleasure.
After 11 more miles you will arrive at Echo Park Campground. This scenic and wondrous place is surrounded by high rock cliffs that glow in the light of sunrise and sunset. It’s easy to see how this area was the home of the Fremont people, Native American Indians. The campground consists of 22 camping sites along the Green River, just West of the intersection of the Green and Yampa River. It is also a popular way point for river rafters as there is a boat ramp just up the road.
|Due to the proximity to the river and some low flood pools, take lots of bug spray. You’ll need it!|
After one night in this place, I was lamenting our tight schedule. I could have stayed here for days — resting in the sun, playing in the water, and exploring the many cracks and crevasse of the amazing rock walls. I will be back one day; I can promise you that.