I loved how uncrowded the section is from Dinosaur, CO. There's a long, gorgeous drive with plenty of stops and some hikes, but the main attraction for me was the Echo Park campground. You drive in from the Dinosaur, CO entrance and about an hour into the drive, the Echo Park Road splits off to the right and it's quite a road; a steep, dirt road with the occasional stream crossing, it's not advisable to take in a regular passenger car and definitely not while it's wet.
The campground was surprisingly crowded for how difficult it is to reach, but most of the campsites are designed well enough that you can still pretend you're alone. $8 per night. I chose spot 1 because I got there around 5 pm and most of the good ones were taken, and I regret being that close to the bathroom and water spigot because of all of the traffic. There was some glorious stargazing until around 11:00 (maybe later, I didn't have my watch handy) when some people drove up and parked in front of the registration shelter and shined their car lights directly into my camp for fifteen minutes; another draw back, I would say.
Down Echo Park Road there's a few neat little stops at some homesteads and some petroglyphs. There's a lot more dirt road stretching to the east but I was headed to the other direction so I regretfully didn't get to see what else was over there.
I was considering staying longer, but this whole section of the park seems to be heavily infested with mosquitoes. They were mercifully absent while I was star-gazing but plagued me while I set up and took down my tent, while I ate dinner and when I tried to take short hikes along some of the overlooks back on the main road. They were deterred by bug spray for as long as ten minutes at a time.
The views are glorious and the absence of people wonderful, but I may not return because the mosquitoes were so pestilent.
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