This Meetup is cancelled

Dinosaur National Monument backpacking trip & photography scavenger hunt

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  • Visit the Dinosaur Quarry, then backpack to Ely Creek and explore the Labyrinth and/or Jones Hole.

    There will be a photography scavenger hunt, too, just to keep you awake!


    Limit: 8 people

    Sorry, no dogs (The Park Service does not allow dogs on trails in the monument.)

    How to sign up: 

    A. Put yourself on the RSVP waitlist.

    B. Fill out the google sign-up form:

    which includes CO Backpackers' liability waiver and some trip coordinating questions.

    C. After you have done both parts (A) and (B), I will move you to the “Going” list.


    Dinosaur National Monument website:

    Park maps:

    Directions from Denver: (5 hrs 36 min)

    Trip Details:

    Day 1, Friday May 9th

    Dinosaur National Monument, 4545 U.S. 40, Dinosaur, CO 81610.

    $10 entrance fee per vehicle.

    12:00 noon: Meet at the Green River Campground to reserve sites. $12 per site; we can get 2 or 3 sites for the group.

    We will shoot for the 1 or 2 PM entry to see the Dinosaur Quarry.

    There are several short hikes in this part of the park that we can do after the quarry.

    Car-camp Friday night at Green River Campground.

    Backpacking portion of the trip:

    Day 2, Saturday May 10th: 

    Be ready to leave Green River campground at 8:00 AM, as we will still have a 1-hour drive to get to the Jones Hole trailhead. Aim to start hiking by 9:30 AM.

    The hike down Jones Creek includes pictographs and petroglyphs at mile 1.5, a waterfall at Ely Creek (~2 miles in), drops down to Jones Hole on the Green River (~4.5 miles in). Another hiking option is to hike up Ely Creek into the Labyrinth area (also ~4 miles in).

    Ideally we will camp at the Ely Creek backcountry site (~2 miles in), but at present this campground is closed until the park installs bear-proof boxes (there was a lot of black bear activity last year). If it is re-opened by May, I have a reservation for one of the group backcountry sites. If Ely Creek designated camp site is still closed, then we will continue up Ely Creek a little further to find an at-large backcountry site.

    Bear-proofing precautions are required (cooking and storing food/odorous items at least 100 ft away from tents, using a bear-resistant container/Ursack/bear bag).

    Also per the park's regulations, backcountry fires are not permitted and also no soap in the creek. Ely Creek is the only fresh water source in the area, so they want to keep it clean.

    Day 3, Sunday May 11th:

    Hike back out to Jones Hole Trailhead.


    Photo Scavenger Hunt

    Take photos of these 10 topics (or as many as you can find). An impartial judge (Judge Jeremiah) will score your entries based on accuracy, composition, lighting, creativity, humor/emotion, and uniqueness.

    1. a dinosaur fossil that looks like something else

    2. a 4-legged wild animal

    3. a winged animal

    4. a cactus in bloom

    5. something with water

    6. nighttime photo

    7. sunrise or sunset photo

    8. bear! or bear sign

    9. a candid photo of a fellow camper

    10. a series of 10 photos with a unifying theme (for example, food, camping gear, bugs, birds, hair colors??) that contains each color of the rainbow plus black, brown, and white


    And remember...

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  • Andrew

    Signed up for a different outing. Sorry to miss this.

    May 7, 2014

  • Cathy R.

    Do we meet at the Dinosaur National Monument or the Green River Campground on day one? I am driving a long way so I want to be at the right place at the right time. Thanks. I am really looking forward to this trip.

    April 2, 2014

    • Julie

      Let's meet at the campground so we can get sites when we get there. I'll set up a carpool Google Drive file for coordinating carpools.

      April 2, 2014

  • Inga

    Julie, will you be providing each of us with our own Loop N Poop? What if there's no trees where we're going...can I just loop it onto your tent poles and do my biz?

    March 30, 2014

    • Julie

      In that case, I recommend that you just hold it and use a laxative when you get home. Jerry, have a nice carpool home!

      March 31, 2014

    • Inga

      OOooh, that's a great idea. I'm so glad that we have you as our trusty fearless leader, full of wise advise for common backcountry troubles. Clearly, you come with much experience and expertise on this topic.

      March 31, 2014

  • Julie

    Minor change of plans: we have 10 signed up now but the designated backcountry campsite is limited to 8... we can do 10 if we camp instead somewhere up Ely Creek (park regs just say we need to be the usual 100 feet away from water). So we might just need to search a little for a good site, or potentially split up into 2 groups on Sat night.

    March 31, 2014

    • Way

      Why don't we just kill off two like they do in reality TV? Who wants to be the 2 sacrificial lambs?

      March 31, 2014

    • Julie

      Shhh, it is supposed to be a suprise!...

      March 31, 2014

  • Andrew

    Help! I can't figure out how to sign up for this trip. Can we visit the quarry, while we are up that way? Are cameras allowed?

    March 13, 2014

    • Lila

      Darn it, where did I put my decoder ring?

      March 18, 2014

    • Andrew

      Naturally, it would be up to me to make a pronouncement.

      March 25, 2014

  • Julie

    This will be a pretty easy and short backpack (2+ miles in, plus some day hiking, with water nearby), so it is suitable for beginners or as a season-starter for experienced people. So beginners are welcome. More advanced backpackers are also welcome to come and share their knowledge, give advice...carry my stuff, filter water for me... cook breakfast... dig a hole, etc... The google form will ask for your experience level and from this I'll pick a mix of people, so the trip can be about half beginners and half experienced backpackers.

    March 13, 2014

    • Jeremiah M.

      Strong flattery works as too.

      March 14, 2014

    • Lila

      How impartial is this judge if he accepts bribes? If he is truly impartial then the bribe is a waste! If not, then he cannot be called impartial. Regardless, I'll have plenty of opportunity to bribe him. We will see what happens....

      March 15, 2014

  • Agaf D.

    Julie, I want to go on this one, and so does Rahima, my wife, as a +1. Looks like a great trip (of course it is, you're organizing it!). I'm setting a reminder for March 29 so I jump right on it. You're cruel to make us wait so long! Yours, Gandalf

    1 · March 14, 2014

  • Elizabeth B.

    Julie I can't go cause of vacationers coming here but find out for me if I do can org his same trip when the hot temps cool down sept ? Oct? And water situation for bkpk ? Just ask the v c ranger there for me. I really appreciate your input details pics write up here everything !!! I'm saddened I'm going to miss all of you guys I'm hoping I can get to see the group this year sometime ,,,, Thanks julie !!!

    March 14, 2014

    • Julie

      Yup EB, I think it is similar elevation as Dominguez, so I bet mid-Sept to Oct will be good. Ely Creek is where there is good water. I think it runs year-round, but you will want to call the park before you go. The ranger said Green River is more polluted, so better to camp higher. Also they said after labor day, it is not busy so you should be able to get a site easily.

      1 · March 14, 2014

    • Elizabeth B.


      March 14, 2014

  • Cathy R.

    I understand the RSVP is not open yet so I am just saying this sounds like a great trip and I will RSVP as soon as it opens.

    1 · March 14, 2014

  • Lila

    RSVP's are closed? I would like to go. :-)

    March 12, 2014

    • Julie

      RSVPs will open on the 561st anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. Or on the 61st anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's ascent of Mt. Everest. Or on the 17th anniversary of the day when the ruling party in Indonesia, Golkar, won the Parliament election by a record margin, which was followed by rioting. Or on March 29th.

      1 · March 13, 2014

    • Lila

      Phew! For a minute I thought I was going to have to figure that riddle out!

      March 13, 2014

  • Kat W.

    Hi, I just got an invite but it says the event is closed. Can we still sign up? Thanks!

    March 13, 2014

    • Julie

      Kat, RSVPS will open on the 29th. Meetup's site is not well set up for how some of the organizers in this group are handling sign-ups. See the details in the posting.

      March 13, 2014

    • Julie

      Now I see why my dad always insists that I was adopted as an orphan...

      March 13, 2014

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