These attractions are located North and West of the parks.
Travelers heading north to Salt Lake City or west toward Nevada will undoubtedly pass through the village of Green River, which sits at an elevation of 4,100 feet, on I-70 along the banks of the Green River, about 54 miles northwest of Moab.
The John Wesley Powell River History Museum, 1765 E. Main St. (P.O. Box 620), Green River, UT 84525 (tel. 435/564-3427; www.jwprhm.com), details the phenomenal river expedition of explorer John Wesley Powell, a one-armed Civil War veteran who explored the Green and Colorado rivers in the late 1800s. Museum exhibits also discuss the geology of the region and the history of river running, from a replica of Powell's heavy wooden boat, the Emma Dean, to examples of boats and rafts used on the river since then. A 25-minute film, shown throughout the day, brings Powell's adventures to life. Admission is $4 per person 13 and older, $1 for children 3 to 12, free for those 2 and under, and there is a family rate of $10. From mid-May through mid-September the museum is open daily 8am to 7pm, and the rest of the year it is open 9am to 5pm. You can also get information on other Green River area attractions, activities, and lodging at the museum.
Green River State Park, on Green River Road, P.O. Box 637, Green River, UT 84525 (tel. 435/564-3633; www.stateparks.utah.gov), is a lush green oasis with big, old Russian olive and cottonwood trees. There's a boat ramp for launching your raft or canoe, but be aware that once you start heading downstream, you'll need a motor or mighty powerful arms to fight the current back to the park. The park also has a 9-hole championship golf course (tel. 435/564-8882). Situated right along the river, it's open year-round (weather permitting) and has a pro shop, snacks, and carts. Fees are $10 for 9 holes and $18 for 18. Day-use park entry costs $5 per vehicle. The shady and spacious 40-site campground, open year-round, has modern restrooms, hot showers, and a dump station, but no RV hookups. Camping costs $16; reservations are accepted from March through October with an $8 nonrefundable fee (tel. 800/322-3770; www.reserveamerica.com).
Several river-running companies offer day and overnight trips on the Green. These include Moki Mac River Expeditions, Inc. (tel. 800/284-7280; www.mokimac.com), which offers several trips on the Colorado and Green rivers. A day trip through Gray Canyon of the Green River costs $59 for adults and $49 for children 15 and under, including lunch. Multi-day trips start at $895 per adult and $675 per child 15 and under for a 5-day excursion, including all gear and food. The outfitter also rents canoes at $25 per day, including life jackets and paddles for two persons.
A Magical State Park
Goblin Valley State Park, P.O. Box 637, Green River, UT 84525 (tel. 435/275-4584; www.stateparks.utah.gov), is filled with fantasyland rock formations; hence its name. In the light of the full moon, the little munchkins almost come alive, with shadows giving them facelike features. Bikes and motor vehicles are restricted to paved areas, but visitors are welcome to hike among the goblins, and even to climb onto them with caution. Park residents include kit foxes, rabbits, and lizards.
The 24-site campground is laid out in a semicircle among tall multicolored rocks of varying heights. Facilities include showers and a dump station, but no RV hookups. Day-use fee is $7 per vehicle; camping is $16; reservations are accepted from March through November with an $8 nonrefundable fee (tel. 800/322-3770; www.reserveamerica.com).
To get here from Green River, head west on I-70 for about 10 miles to exit 149, and turn south on Utah 24 for about 25 miles to Temple Mountain Junction, where you turn west and follow signs for about 12 miles to the park.
To the Dinosaurs of Price and Beyond
The town of Price, founded in 1879, began as a railroad and coal-mining center. A popular midway stopover for those traveling between southern Utah's national parks and the Salt Lake City area, Price is gaining in reputation as a destination, especially for those interested in dinosaurs.
Price (elevation 5,600 ft.) is 119 miles from Moab and 63 miles from the town of Green River. From I-70 exit 157, follow U.S. 191/6 northwest 57 miles. Take the business loop through the center of town and follow signs to the information center, located in the CEU Prehistoric Museum , to pick up maps and brochures on the area, including a walking-tour brochure to the town's seven buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For advance information, contact Castle Country Travel Region, 81 N. 200 East, Price, UT 84501 (tel. 800/842-0789 or 435/636-3701; www.castlecountry.com).
One of the area's top attractions is the excellent CEU Prehistoric Museum, 155 E. Main St. (tel. 800/817-9949 or 435/613-5060; http://museum.ceu.edu), operated by the College of Eastern Utah. Among the exhibits are the huge skeletons of an allosaurus, a Utah raptor, and a strange-looking duck-billed dinosaur known as the prosaurolophus. Watch for the large Colombian mammoth, with its long tusks, which resembles a modern elephant and roamed this area over 10,000 years ago. You'll also see exhibits on the early Native Americans of Utah -- describing how they lived and adapted to changing environments -- and displays of rare 1,000-year-old clay figures created by the Fremont people. Children will encounter a variety of interactive exhibits designed just for them, including a sandbox where they can do their own paleontological dig. The museum is open April through September, daily from 9am to 6pm, and October through March, Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm. Closed major holidays. Admission costs $5 for adults, $4 for seniors 65 and older, $2 for children 2 to 12, and free for infants 1 and under. There is also a family rate of $15.
To see more dinosaurs, you need to drive about 32 miles out of town. Designated a National Natural Landmark, the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry contains the densest concentration of Jurassic Age dinosaur bones ever found, as well as the largest known collection of the bones of meat-eating dinosaurs. The visitor center has a complete allosaurus skeletal reconstruction and a stegosaurus wall mount on display. At the quarry itself -- enclosed in two metal buildings -- from several viewing areas, you can see bones in place where they were found, and sometimes watch scientists at work. Three easy-to-moderate trails, totaling just under 5 miles, are nearby and include a 1.4-mile loop interpretative trail, with a descriptive brochure available at the trail head, a 1.25-mile round-trip scenic trail to a viewpoint, and a one-way trail of over a mile that branches off the scenic trail and leads to another viewpoint. Drinking water, restrooms, and picnic tables are available. From mid-March to Memorial Day weekend and from Labor Day weekend to the end of October, the quarry is open 10am to 5pm Friday and Saturday and noon to 5pm Sunday. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend it's open 10am to 5pm Monday through Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5pm. Admission costs $5 for all those 16 and older, and free for youths 15 and under. For details, contact the Bureau of Land Management office in Price at 125 S. 600 West (tel. 435/636-3600; www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/price/recreation/quarry.html). To get here from Price, take Utah 10 southwest about 15 miles to Utah 155 south, following dinosaur signs another 17 miles to the quarry. The last 12 miles are on a gravel road; allow about 1 hour from Price.
For a look at the somewhat more recent history of the area, go north of Price 11 miles on U.S. 191/6 to the town of Helper, and follow signs to the Western Mining and Railroad Museum, 296 S. Main St. (tel. 435/472-3009; www.wmrrm.org). Crammed into the four stories of the old Helper Hotel, built in 1913, are thousands of objects and exhibits illustrating the area's mining and railroad days of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Highlights include a complete jail cell, a simulated coal mine, mine models, wine- and whiskey-making equipment from Prohibition days, pictures of mine disasters, railroad equipment and photos, relics from outlaw Butch Cassidy's exploits in the area, and operating model trains. You can watch a 12-minute video on the area's history, wander past the early mining equipment, caboose, and railroad snowplow in the outdoor displays, and browse the gift shop. The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm, from May through September; Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 4pm, the rest of the year. Admission is free, although donations are welcome.