Green River turns out to be a great central location for visiting a lot of Utah’s eastern desert treasures like Lake Powell and Goblin Valley but there are many more treasures and points of interest around the small town of Green River that are not as famous but are definitely worth a visit. So if you are in the area visiting Goblin Valley it would be well worth the trip to spend a few extra days in Green River exploring some of the smaller attractions.
We spent last spring break in Green River with our kiddos exploring the area and finally getting to see the famous Goblin Valley and even took some time and drove down to Lake Powell for an evening. While Goblin Valley was amazing and did not disappoint, we were surprised at all the other fun smaller destinations we discovered along the way. Some of them like Fossil Point and the ghost town of Sego were definitely impressive and just as fun and unique to explore.
You can head to the local Green River Museum called the John Wesley Powell River History Museum and get loads of pamphlets and information on day trips in the area or also go to Destination Green River Here and get more information online about the main points of interest there plus map coordinates for easy location of sites.
TIP: The museum has more information about tons of places to explore in the area, more than you can find online. Talk to the people who work there they will point you in the right direction for just the right kind of adventure your looking for.
We went to the Museum which was fun and has a neat exhibit about Lake Powell. They also have a wall full of pamphlets of places to explore. We got the local scoop on the family friendly places that would work for a family with a toddler and a baby and narrowed it down to six places. Below are our favorite places we ended up going to that you will love to take your kids to as well. You will not want to miss these.
Must See Hidden Gems of Green River Area For the Whole Family:
Sego Ghost Town
Sego Canyon Ancient Pictographs
Black Dragon Canyon
Heading out to Green River from the West Coast you follow along a train for a large portion of the ride, which helps the kiddos stay a little more interested in this desert drive.
TIP: There are only a few rest stops on this drive so be sure to take full advantage of them and pack plenty of food and snacks before hand because there are not very many places to get food.
Rare Carbon Cold Water Geyser & Water Formations
Our first stop into Green River was the Crystal Geyser, its actually located in/near Green River and just a 15 to 20 minute drive from the main street in Green River. We had a few hours to burn before our hotel room was ready and this was the perfect stop for a spring afternoon in the desert.
You most likely won’t get to see this geyser go off because it’s not very predictable and goes off maybe once a day and sometimes at night and no one knows when it’s going to do it. Crystal Geyser is still worth checking out for the cool effect it has had on the rock and ground the carbon water flows over. The geyser’s carbonated water makes some of the coolest little water falls and pools and it streams right into the Green River itself.
If you look into the geyser tube you can see and hear the carbon bubbles coming up through the cold water. It’s fascinating. The pipe was put in place for safety reasons.
We were here for hours playing in the water. The geyser didn’t ever go off but we didn’t even mind because it was still cool and entertaining.
There is a lot more here to explore than meets the eye at first. Be prepared to get a little wet and you will have more fun that way.
Collect Real Dinosaur Bone Fossils from the Jurassic Era
This was a huge highlight of our trip and not to be missed if you have any dinosaur lovers in your home. You can literally go exploring for dinosaur bones and take home whatever you can find. Seriously! They don’t even let you touch the bones at museums and most of the bones at the museums are replicas not even the real thing. This is the real deal, and real adventure experience.
Getting Here and finding the area with all the bones and casts of dinosaur bones is a bit tricky since it all blends together and there are NO SIGNS. We drove past it, then walked past it a few times and almost gave up when another family came and showed us where they were at.
You can get coordinates and directions here at Destination Green River
Tips for How to find the Bones:
See the below picture for this first mountain. There are two mountains when you come to the coordinates. These mountains are on the north side of the road and little valley area. You can park there and get out. Just go to the first little area. Don’t go past. There is nothing over there. See the big boulder in the picture below on the left bottom side. There are some white and red fossils there to look at.
The fossils are all over this portion of the hill.
Look for all the red looking veins in the rocks those are most likely fossils.
Wish we knew what Dinosaurs were here. But it was amazing anyways.
Ghost Mining Town Of Sego Utah
This is a two for one location with a rich history to learn about. You get to explore an old coal mining town from the early 1900’s and see some ancient pictographs that are out of this world on the way to Sego.
Before heading into what remains of the old coal mining town of Sego you drive by the old historic cemetery. Many of the headstones are unreadable but the ones that are, are fascinating. This is worth a stop and a great way for kids to get a real sense of the people who worked and lived here.
The first thing you will probably see is the old general store. The brick is still in fairly good condition and you can walk around and get a good sense of it. You can see a picture of what the building used to look at by going to Legends of America Here.
There used to be an old boarding house here but it recently collapsed. But you can still see the trees in a very purposeful line that use to line the front of the boarding house.
There is also a building out behind the general store that you could also miss. So take a short walk around and explore the area. We found old railcar wheels as souvenirs. There are also more structures along the cliffs and mountains. Sego is one of the few Mining towns in US history where the owners let the miners set up homes where ever they wanted instead of having a camp in one location. So there are remnants of huts, houses, sheds, barns and even dugouts in the cliff hills where the miners lived. People lived here for almost 40 years before this area was entirely abandoned due to the coal mine drying up.
Read all about Sego’s history and maybe print out some old photos from online before heading out to Sego to explore it. It will be more fun discovering the area and trying to match the ruins to the pictures.
Part of the old tracks and bridges from the unique railroad that went up in the canyon to collect the coal. The railway passed over the river bed 13 times, that means 13 railroad bridges. There are only a few left now.
Haunting Native Rock Art Of Sego:
are they human or alien?
There are so many cool and special things about this pictograph location and its over 80 life-size paintings of human like forms. This is definitely a must see stop on your trip and an unforgettable experience that you and your kids will remember forever. The pictographs in this area were created and added to over and over again over the course of 8,000 years and by many “different” tribes! This was not done by just one tribe. Many completely different tribes came to this sacred space to add to the story. But this story is unique in that the painting of the human figures are life size and seem to depict some sort of holy people or some believe it’s all about early alien visitation on earth. They are trying to tell us something here that’s for sure. Its was kind of spooky and also amazing. Almost like the life-size humans on the cliffs were visiting us. It definitely felt like we were in a very special place.
There are plaques in the area to read all about the site and you can also read more about the special history of this area here at Ancient Origins.
Black Dragon Trail
Rare early native american calendar spanning entire cliff wall plus unique dragon pictograph.
Black Dragon Canyon is just a short little family friendly hike away from a stunning display of early native american calendar and the unique pictograph art of the flying dragon.
The flying dragon is a favorite of rock enthusiasts but we personally were more impressed with the calendar. We had never seen anything like it.
You will have no problem finding the area it is marked out and there is a display there to tell you more about the discovery of the pictographs.
Standing under the calendar. The lines go clear up. We were all thinking how did they get all the way up there on their backs?
Things to know:
We took our two year old daughter and our nine month old baby on this trip. All of these locations are just two hours or less of drive time and can be easily accessed from Green River. Plan to spend a few hours at each location. There are no restrooms at any of these points of interest listed here in the blog post so be sure to bring toilet paper and go to the bathroom before leaving.
Road Trip Style Family Vacation:
Think of vacationing in Green River more like a road trip type of a vacation but with a central location you can come back to each night. There is not much camping available out in this area so getting a hotel in Green River was essential for us and turned out to be such a nice treat to come back to after a day of exploring in the desert sun. Plus our hotel had continental breakfast so that was one less meal we had to pack around.
We came to Green River to mainly explore Goblin Valley but got all this extra fun stuff as well. We spent three nights and four days here and was able to see all of the sights here listed in the blog post plus visited Goblin Valley for half a day and Lake Powell for another half of a Day.
Goblin Valley With Kids Guide
You can get our full guide and tips to visiting Goblin Valley Here At this previous blog post.
Please share this Pinterest friendly image below with your friends and family or save it for another
time when you visit Green River next.
SHARE THIS STORY