Flickr album link: Echo Park Campground
The Echo Park Campground definitely is one of the best in the west, but this back country destination is not one of the easiest to access. The Utah side of Dinosaur National Monument is where the majority of tourists go, because this is where the gigantic lizard fossils are housed. The Colorado end of this park is a vast rugged wilderness that appeals to those who long for back country adventures far away from the big crowds. Hiking, river rafting and 4x4 trail riding are the main activities east of Harpers Corner and Echo Park certainly is one of the main attractions.
A previous article describes the journey to Echo Park and the vehicle restrictions. No trailers or large RV campers are allowed, while high ground clearance 4x4 vehicles are recommended. If rain is in the forecast it is best to call the trip off, because the silty dirt roads can turn into deep impassible mud. Topping off the tank and stocking up prior to arrival will be necessary too, since the vestiges of civilization are a quite a long drive from this spot. Some extra time should be set aside for the trip since there are several interesting points of interest on the way to Echo Park.
Upon arrival it becomes easy to see how Echo Park got its name. Most of this campground is surrounded by towering vertical solid rock bluffs that are capable of producing reverberating echoes quite a distance away. There is some ancient rock art way up high on the bluffs, but it is nearly impossible to see from ground level. By following the foot paths for a short distance, a very picturesque area of the mighty Green River can be viewed. This section of the river makes a sharp bend around Steamboat Rock, which can be seen in its entirety. The confluence of the Yampa River and Green River is a short distance upstream, which guarantees that this bend is indeed a good fishing spot.
There is a limited number of drive up camping pads and each is equipped with fire ring chargrills. Bear safe food storage lockers are nearby. and some of the campsites have picnic tables, while the ones close to the river offer shade trees. Drinking water is available onsite, which is a real plus for those who intend to explore the Yampa Bench. There is a small boat launch clearing for kayakers and river rafters, while wading in the shallows is comfortable during the summer season and this is what the fly fishermen prefer to do. The Echo Park Campground certainly is a great place for an extended getaway and it is a good starting point for the very lengthy Yampa Bench Road 4x4 tour through the eastern end of Dinosaur National Monument. More camping opportunities await along this trail and these very remote destinations will be featured in upcoming articles. Until then be sure to log Echo Park high on the list and start sorting out the gear!
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