Move over Moab. Just back from a trip to Dinosaur National Monument in Northwest Colorado on the Utah border. The place is incredible - with or without the dinosaurs. Bigger than most national parks, laced with mysterious sandstone canyons, wild rivers, and archeological treasures. If Edward Abbey were alive today, I'm pretty sure he'd have moved on from the human beehive of Moab and be spending his time wandering the wilds of Dinosaur and the surrounding public lands that are even wilder.
Originally 80 acres surrounding the legendary dinosaur quarry, in 1938 President Roosevelt increased the protected area by 200,000 acres to include the Yampa and Green Rivers. And not a moment too soon. In the 1940s, the Bureau of Reclamation tried to push through the Echo Parks Dam, which would have flooded what is the last un-dammed river in Colorado.
The average visitor to the park is parents taking their kids to see the dinosaur fossils - leaving the rest of the 200,000 acres to the elk, deer and desert rats.
I know where I'm going next time I need a little slice of the American Desert.