Located almost halfway between Salt Lake City and Aspen, Vernal sits with a population approaching 10,000 people. Vernal offers several off-the-beaten-path activities for the day or as an overnight. Also known as “Dinosaurland”, Vernal’s nickname was given to this area of northeastern Utah due to the many dinosaur fossils that have been discovered and studied in the area.
Vernal is proud of its history and pre-history and hosts tourists all year round who want to come see evidence of the creatures that roamed before its land. An ideal basecamp for visiting is at the Dinosaur National Monument, Red Fleet State Park, Steinaker State Park, or the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum where children can explore dinosaur fossils, footprints and other prehistoric items.
Not interested in dinosaurs? The town is also a gateway to national recreation areas, national forests, and several state parks with reservoirs and endless options for outdoor adventure including hiking, mountain biking, rafting, and more. The ideal location to visit is Buckskin Hills Recreation Complex which offers year-round outdoor sports. This includes mountain biking, motocross and ATV trails, drag strip and speedway, camping, and a ski and snow tubing hill.
After a full day of exploring and learning, the Dinosaur Monument is a breathtaking spot for night-sky views. In 2019, the International Dark-Sky Association officially designated the Dinosaur National Monument as the International Dark Sky Park. These are special areas within the strict limits on light pollution to protect the incredible night-sky experience of the stars above. If you get the opportunity to stay at night, don’t forget to look up!
Once your busy day has settled, Vernal features an abundance of restaurants to appeal to any palate. The options vary from sit-down fare to grab-and-go options, including Mexican, Chinese, and American food. The town is also home to a variety of popular chains, buffets, a brewery, and Freddy’s, which specializes in steak burgers and frozen custards.
When you’re done exploring, visit Vernal Regional Airport for your trip back home.
For Airport Information, click here.