Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry

National Natural Landmark

Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is one of the world's foremost dinosaur fossil sources. More than 30 complete skeletons, 12,000 individual bones and several dinosaur eggs have come from this prolific fossil bed.


Today, at the Visitor Center, visitors can see a complete Allosaur skeletal reconstruction and a Stegosaur wall mount. At the quarry, visitors can view the work in progress in a covered building, where they can see actual bones in place. Recognized worldwide as the primary source of flesh-eating Allosaur skeletons, the quarry was designated a national Natural Landmark in 1966.

General Information

Rates & Fees

Entrance fee is $5 per adult. - 15 and under is free.

Seasons / Hours

Memorial Day through Labor Day - Daily
mid-March through Memorial Day - Fri., Sat., and Sun.
Labor Day through end of October - Fri., Sat., and Sun. Sunday hours are noon to 5 pm.

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is the starting point for exploring Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry National Natural Landmark.  A juvenile-sized Allosaurus fragilis mount grins at you as you round the corner into the main body of the Visitor Center.  Dinosaur bones and replicas are everywhere. 

An 8-foot-tall Camarasaurus lentus leg replica is propped against a pillar holding up the roof.  A glass case holds more bones, gastroliths and some vicious looking teeth.  A map covers most of the wall between two window casements.  Thousands of bones are depicted in it.  The opposite wall has a colorful mural of life and death 147 million years ago

Precautions, Rules, Regulations

  • Dinosaur bones are a rare and nonrenewable resource. Fossilized bones of dinosaurs and other vertebrate animals contain valuable information from the past. When fossils are removed or damaged in any way, much of what they can tell us is lost forever.
  • Anyone discovering these fossils should report their find to the nearest BLM office or to the Utah Division of State History.
  • Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is protected under the Historic Sites Act of 1935. The BLM has a responsibility to help preserve historically significant sites. Please do not collect fossils, rocks, plants or animals from the Landmark.

Geography & Climate

The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry National Natural Landmark is 26 miles southeast of Cleveland, in central Utah's Emery County. Follow the signs from Utah Route 10 south of Price, on SR 55, a gravel road; 20 right-hand curves and 18 left-hand curves later you pass through an open gate, over a cattle guard, one more left-hand curve and a brown building, the Visitor Center, is suddenly visible. 

This is a hot, dry Great Basin Desert environment, with an elevation of almost 6,000 feet, so come prepared with plenty of water and other desert gear.

Description

Recent History

In the 1920s, a local a sheepherder stumbled across a large black bone lying on the surface near Cottonwood Wash in central Utah. Confident it wasn't a sheep bone, he told his friends and word soon spread to the academic community. In 1929, the hunt for dinosaurs in Emery County began with the first official dig conducted by the University of Utah. About 500 dinosaur bones were removed during that first season.

Princeton University conducted extensive work, financed by Malcomb Lloyd, in 1939-41 to obtain a museum exhibit. Because of the proximity to Cleveland, Utah, it became known as the Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry.

In 1960, the University of Utah commenced a 5-year project with several cooperating schools and museums. Dr. William Lee Stokes was in charge of this ambitious project with assistance from James H. Madson, Jr. More recently, scientists from Brigham Young University and the College of Eastern Utah have excavated at the quarry.

Two metal buildings were erected over the quarry in 1976 and now protect the exposed bone bed from weather and vandals. The quarry walk trail takes you to a door open in one of them. There in the black mudstone beneath your feet, black dinosaur bones are visible -- preserved by the geologic processes of fossilization. 

Over the years, more than 15,000 fossil bones have been removed from the site, representing at least 70 different animals and 14 dinosaur species from the Morrison Formation. Cast and original skeletons assemblies from these bones are on display in over 60 museums world-wide, including the College of Eastern Utah's Prehistoric Museum in Price, which now manages the Landmark in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management.

Ancient History

About 147 million years ago this area was a shallow freshwater lake with a muddy bottom. Plant-eating dinosaurs and the meat-eaters who preyed upon them occasionally became trapped in the mud. As the years passed, the skeletons of these animals accumulated until the site became a complex mix of bones.

After the lake bottom dried up it was covered with volcanic ash; and rivers and shallow seas deposited thick layers of sand and mud on top. Meanwhile, the bones fossilized. Then the Earth's crust shifted and the San Rafael Swell started to form.  With that swelling, water and wind eroded the layers to produce the topography seen today.

The bones are now close enough to the surface to be recovered by scientific excavations. Two-thirds of the bones uncovered are from Allosaurus, the largest carnivore of the Jurassic period. Also present are plant-eating Stegosaurus, Camarasaurus and Camptosaurus. In the mid 1970s, James H. Madsen Jr. described two previously unknown dinosaurs form bones discovered here. These small carnivores are known as Stokesosaurus clevelandi and Marshosaurus bicentesimus.

Things To Do

Picnicking

Picnic tables are available for an outdoor lunch near the Visitor Center.  During the open season, water flows from the drinking fountain for those who forgot to bring water into this desert environment. 

Tours

  • Quarry Walk: Easy, 20 to 30 minute walk starts at the Visitor Center, crosses the leveled-off site of the original excavations and ends in the metal sheds covering the quarry.
  • Take the ranger up on an offer of a "Track Tour." 
  • Rock Walk Nature Trail is an easy, self-guided tour that takes about an hour. Among the 15 points along the trail is a partial rib of a large sauropod.
  • Hike the trail up to Raptor Point to enjoy the view across Jurassic Utah.

Camping & Lodging

There is no camping or lodging in the quarry site. Nearby Price, UT has some motels.

Nearby Attractions

Resources


Cities & Towns

  • Cleveland, Utah: 26 miles northwest.
  • Castle Dale, Utah: 30 miles southwest.
  • Duchesne, Utah: 106 miles northeast.
  • Price, Utah: 40 miles north.
  • Green River, Utah: 120 miles southeast.
  • Provo, Utah:122 miles northwest.

Parks & Monuments

  • Huntington Lake State Park: 25 miles west.
  • Capitol Reef National Park: 111 miles south.
  • Green River State Park: 120 miles southeast.

Recreation & Wilderness Areas

  • Manti-La Sal National Forest: 35 miles west.
  • Uinta National Forest: 75 miles north.
  • Ashley National Forest: 75 miles north.
  • Fishlake National Forest: 55 miles southwest.

Historic & Points of Interest

  • College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum (Price): 435-637-5060.
  • Museum of San Rafael (Castle Dale): 435-381-5252.
  • Pioneer Museum (Castle Dale): 435-381-5154.

 

Visitor Center c/o
BLM - Price Field Office
125 S. 600 W.
Price, Utah   84501
435-637-5060

 

 

 

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