The Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway (Dinosaur Diamond) is located in eastern Utah and western Colorado. Three-quarters of the 512-mile loop are within Utah. The segment within Colorado was designated the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway by the Colorado Transportation Commission on October 27, 1997. The segment within Utah was designated the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway by the Utah State Legislature in 1998.
The Dinosaur Diamond embraces an enormous geographic area and travels through several communities. In Utah the Dinosaur Diamond travels through Vernal, Roosevelt, Duchesne, Price, and Green River. In Colorado the Dinosaur Diamond travels through the City of Grand Junction and the communities of Fruita, Rangely, and Dinosaur. The Dinosaur Diamond's physical and thematic area of influence is yet larger, and includes the Utah communities of, Moab, Monticello, and Blanding as well as the Colorado community of Delta. The Dinosaur Diamond intersects with U.S. Interstate 70 near Green River Utah and Grand Junction Colorado.
What's A Scenic Byway?
Under the Byways Program, certain roads are recognized as scenic byways based on their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenicqualities. America's Byways are a distinctive collection of American roads, their stories and treasured places. They are roads to the heart and soul of America.
All the roads designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation are considered part of the America’s Byways collection. To be designated as a National Scenic Byway, a road must possess at least one of the six intrinsic qualities (historic, cultural, natural, scenic, recreational, archeological). The features contributing to the distinctive characteristics of the corridor’s intrinsic qualities must possess regional significance.
To receive an All-American Road designation, a road must possess multiple intrinsic qualities that are nationally significant, and contain one-of-a-kind features that do not exist elsewhere. The road must also be considered a “destination unto itself.” That is, the road must provide an exceptional traveling experience so recognized by travelers that the primary reason for their trip would be to drive along the Byway.
The Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway is a showcase of intrinsic qualities. Its world-class dinosaur, fossil and archaeological resources, including rock art, are second to none. Its recreational resources alone attract people from all over the globe. The Dinosaur Diamond's natural and scenic resources are so spectacular that two national parks and two national monuments embrace only some of them. The Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway delivers discovery and exploration at several sites filled with science and history. The two-state Byway combines opportunities to see dinosaur bones being excavated and prepared by paleontologists for museum display. Visit the museums along the Byway that showcase reconstructed skeletons and fleshed-out recreations of dinosaurs found in the area.
In addition, dinosaur sites, archaeological areas scatter the region that encompasses the Dinosaur Diamond. Observe prehistoric Native American petroglyphs and pictographs that cover rock cliffs across the northern edge of the Colorado Plateau. Admire fine examples of this rock art, found near the Colorado National Monument in some of the highest concentrations in North America. Survey the natural stone arches and bridges in Arches National Park, internationally famous and truly magnificent.
Its complex and revealing geology attract rock hounds and geologists from afar. Its cultural and historic traditions bring together the rich histories of prehistoric inhabitants, Native Americans, and western settlers. The combined magnitude of these resources warrant All-American Road designation under the National Scenic Byways Program. It would be difficult to find another region that embraces so much. Fortunately, many of its most precious resources are being actively protected. All American Road designation strengthens this protection.
The Dinosaur Diamond's most dramatic resources - the dinosaur, fossils and archaeological sites-are non-renewable treasures that must be protected for everyone for all time. They form the foundation for an ecotourism based management approach that enables rural economic development and the simultaneous protection of these non-renewable resources.