Flickr album link: Wagon Wheel To Dinosaur
Previous articles feature the Blue Mountain Road 4x4 trail, the Journey to Echo Park Campground and the first two legs of the Yampa Bench Road 4x4 tour. Starting at Jensen, Utah and ending in Dinosaur, Colorado is an 80 plus mile rough dirt road trip that includes a campout at the midway point in Echo Park. For those who only want to tour Yampa Bench Road, starting at Echo Park shortly after sunrise is best for this 40 plus mile trail ride. Fueling stations, services and supplies can be found in Dinosaur, Colorado and it is easy to loop around to points of interest in north end of Dinosaur National Monument from there.
Yampa Bench Road is rated only for 4x4 high ground clearance vehicles because there are a few rough spots along the way that will leave an ordinary passenger car stranded. Getting stuck or breaking down along this road is a dangerous proposition, because there is no cellular service and any chance of rescue might as well be a million miles away. Fuel management is critical for this trip, so be sure to top off the tank in Jensen before getting underway.
The first two Yampa Bench Road articles feature two magnificent scenic overlooks at Castle Park and Harding Hole. It is best to set aside plenty of extra time for soaking up the majestic views at these two overlooks and even more time will be spent further down the trail at the Wagon Wheel rock formations by the Yampa River. The views from the high ground on the geological bench are astounding to see and this is yet another place where a landscape artist will feel right at home. Wagon Wheel is some of the last white sandstone formations to be found when going east and it is a memorable way to end the Yampa Bench tour.
From the end of the geologic bench at the base of the mountain, Yampa Bench Road runs through a stretch of picturesque rolling sagebrush hills and meadows. The dirt road continues to an uphill grade that goes through a mountain pass where views of the entire region can be taken in. From the apex it is an easy downhill ride to the highway near Elk Springs. From there it is either back to Jensen or onward to Dinosaur, so the grand tour does not have to end once back on the pavement. Yampa Bench Road offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and the best part is very few mainstream tourists do the trip, so plenty of peace and quiet awaits for those who are up for the adventure. Be sure to chalk this Jeep trail high on the list, because the memories are guaranteed to last a lifetime!
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