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Vernal

Trip Planner USA  /  Utah  /  Vernal
(4/5 based on 850+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: museums, adventure, historic sites
Vernal, the county seat and largest city in Uintah County, is located in northeastern Utah about 175mi east of Salt Lake City and west of the Colorado border. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 9,089. The population has since grown to 10,844 as of the 2014 population estimate.HistoryVernal, unlike most Utah towns, was not settled by Mormons. Brigham Young sent a scouting party to Uintah Basin in 1861 and received word back the area was good for nothing but nomad purposes, hunting grounds for Indians and "to hold the world together." That same year, President Abraham Lincoln set the area aside as the Uintah Indian Reservation, with Captain Pardon Dodds appointed Indian agent. Dodds later built the first cabin by a white man in the Uinta Basin about 1868. Settlers began to filter in after that and build cabins in various spots on or near Ashley Creek. In 1879 many came close to perishing in the famous "Hard Winter" of that year.GeographyVernal is located in the Uintah Basin, bordered on the north by the Uinta Mountains, one of the relatively few mountain ranges which lie in an east-west rather than the usual north to south direction. The Book Cliffs lie to the south, and Blue Mountain to the east, while Vernal itself lies in Ashley Valley, named in honor of William H. Ashley, an early fur trader who entered this area in 1825 by floating down the Green River in a bull boat made of animal hides.
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