Echo Park Petroglyphs

Round Trip Distance: 0.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5066 - 5119 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Echo Park Campground
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

Echo Park is located in the Canyon Area of the Dinosaur National Monument north of Dinosaur, Colorado. Among the several attractions in Echo Park is a panel of petroglyphs. While Echo Park sees a moderate number of visitors every year most go away without seeing the petroglyphs even though they are marked on various maps. The problem is that the petroglyphs aren't were maps allude them to be but that is more of the general area of the trailhead. River rats on the other hand are well aware of the petroglyphs and usually make a stop to show their group.

Dinosaur National Monument straddles the Colorado-Utah border. The famous Quarry Site is on the Utah side north of Jensen while the area on the Colorado side is referred to as the Canyon Area. The main entrance to the Canyon Area is a couple miles east of Dinosaur, Colorado off of US-40.

From the main entrance head north on the Harpers Corner Road for 25 miles to the turnoff to Echo Park. Echo Park is only accessible during the summer months and then according to park information only high clearance vehicles are recommended. We never noticed anything bigger than your fist to drive over so not sure about the high clearance recommendation but the road is very steep in several places where 4-wheel drive will keep you from spinning out. As you turn off of the Harpers Corner Road the pavement ends. The Echo Park road immediately begins a very steep descent down a dugout. The descent continues through the very scenic Sand Canyon where the road is just wide enough for one vehicle at a time for several miles. Downhill traffic should back up until they find a spot to get out of the way of any uphill vehicles. As the road continues along Pool Creek for the last 5 miles to Echo Park there will be another petroglyph site that is well marked followed by a pullout for Whispering Cave. You can put 'Echo Park Campground' into your driving app for turn by turn directions but since there is no cellphone signal be sure to download the directions for offline access.

Once you reach Echo Park enter the campground and find your way to the parking area near the amphitheatre.

The petroglyphs are back around the cliff along the entrance road about 100 yards into the canyon. You can get there by walking straight over to the cliff and they turning left toward the entrance road or by following one of the trails through or around the nearby campsite #16 depending upon whether anyone is using the site.

As you turn up the canyon stay to your right following the trail that stays closer to the cliff.

Watch for the petroglyphs that will be to the right of a crevice above a small bench.

There are more than a couple dozen individual images although the older ones are very faded.

What do you call an animal with 2 humps, a snout like a moose and horns like a bighorn sheep? I don't know either but there is one in this photo.

If I could stop thinking about Walt Disney's movie Lady and the Tramp while looking at this image I would.

Maybe an arrowhead or spearhead?

There are three distinct styles of anthropomorphic images. One might be of the Vernal style, one very archaic and this one which looks newer than the others which might make it Ute or maybe just better preserved.

The prominent end of the cliff that you can see beyond the pickup is the point of Steamboat Rock. The confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers is on the right side of the ridge where the Green River flows out of the Canyon of Lodore and is met by the Yampa River. Most maps label the high point on the left of the image as Steamboat Rock while others put the name on the entire ridge. It is definitely an impressive rock formation that dominates the view. Echo Park takes a little extra time to reach but with the proper vehicle the scenery along the way makes it an enjoyable drive and after making it all the way there a person may as well take a few minutes to see the petroglyphs. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.