A big pink allosaurus welcomes you to the capital of self-dubbed 'Dinoland' – Vernal is the closest town to Dinosaur National Monument (20 miles east). For amateur paleontologists, it's boomtown. The rafting is worthwhile too, particularly on a crackling-hot day.
Great drives through public lands and parks abound. Ten miles northeast of Vernal on Hwy 191, check out hundreds of fossilized dinosaur tracks at Red Fleet State Park. Eleven miles northwest, the 200ft of McConkie Ranch Petroglyphs are well worth checking out. Visit both as part of the 74-mile Red Cloud Loop. For more rock art and ruins, do the Nine Mile Canyon Drive, including the gorgeous road to Flaming Gorge 35 miles north.