Paleo FIELD TRIPS

State-by-state Fossil Locations, National History Museums and National Monuments, Quarries, and all places you could learn more about palaeontology and geology.

 

Past Field Trips

COLORADO, NEW MEXICO, UTAH, WASHINGTON, WYOMING

 

Now In

WASHINGTON

 

Upcoming Field Trip

COLORADO, OREGON

State-by-State Palaeontology and Geology Sites

Alabama – AL   Alaska – AK   Arizona – AZ   Arkansas – AR   California – CA   Colorado – CO   Connecticut – CT   Delaware – DE   District of Columbia – DC   Florida – FL   Georgia – GA   Hawaii – HI   Idaho – ID   Illinois – IL   Indiana – IN   Iowa – IA   Kansas – KS   Kentucky – KY   Louisiana – LA   Maine – ME   Maryland – MD   Massachusetts – MA   Michigan – MI   Minnesota – MN   Mississippi – MS   Missouri – MO   Montana – MT   Nebraska – NE   Nevada – NV   New Hampshire – NH   New Jersey – NJ   New Mexico – NM   New York – NY   North Carolina – NC   North Dakota – ND   Ohio – OH   Oklahoma – OK   Oregon – OR   Pennsylvania – PA   Rhode Island – RI   South Carolina – SC   South Dakota – SD   Tennessee – TN   Texas – TX   Utah – UT   Vermont – VT   Virginia – VA   Washington – WA   West Virginia – WV   Wisconsin – WI   Wyoming – WY

{{icon.title}}
{{marker.name}} {{marker.name}} {{marker.name}}

{{marker.description}}

This map is my palaeontology and geology journey and exploration, starting from September 2020. Every week the map and blog are updated with new states and fossil localities.

COLORADO

Field Trip Diary

Colorado Geology Through Time

Colorado Geology Through Time

300 Million Years AgoIn the Pennsylvanian period the Ancestral Rockies, Frontrangia and Uncompahgria, started to form. Rivers carried the sediments, consisting mostly of feldspar-rich gravels and sand that will be the source of red color of future rock reds, from the...

read more
Fossils in Denver International Airport

Fossils in Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport21st Century ArtifactsThe floor near Gates B show unique palaeontology and geology of Colorado state.21 Century Artifacts Can you name the best airport for a fossil hunter or anyone who loves dinosaurs and palaeontology?  It's Denver...

read more
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Museum

dmns.org

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a municipal natural history and science museum in Denver, Colorado. It is a resource for informal science education in the Rocky Mountain region. A variety of exhibitions, programs, and activities help museum visitors learn about the natural history of Colorado, Earth, and the universe.

Kremmling Ammonite Site
Kremmling Ammonite Site

Fossil Locality

https://www.blm.gov/

The Kremmling Cretaceous Ammonite Locality takes visitors 72.5 million years back in time where they can view well-preserved specimens of tropical and subtropical mollusk fossils. Even the smallest rocks may contain scientifically and educationally valuable finds. This area has one of the highest concentration of such fossils in the world and is perfect for avid fossil enthusiasts as well as those visiting for the first time. This locality is part of a BLM Area of Critical Environmental Concern, so collecting fossils is prohibited.

Read More in Blog

Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument

Geology

https://www.colorado.com/

Popular hiking and biking trails start near the Canyon Visitor Center, and there are many scenic places with picnic areas. Dinosaur remains can be found in the monument’s red rocks; take a ranger-led hike to discover them. You can also see 1,500 dinosaur fossils still encased in the rocks they were found in at the Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall.

Triceratops Trail
Triceratops Trail

Fossil Locality

https://dinoridge.org/

Triceratops Trail is a 1.5-mile hike in Golden, Colorado, highlighting 68 million old dinosaur, bird, mammal, insect, plants, and invertebrate tracks and traces.

You can get close to a large three-toed Tyrannosaur track and many four-toed Triceratops tracks.

Red Rocks Park
Red Rocks Park

Geology

https://www.redrocksonline.com

The geology of Red Rocks Park continues to fascinate both casual fans and geologists. For scientists every layer of rock is a page of geologic history, starting with the Pennsylvanian Period about 300 million years ago. At that time Colorado was not landlocked as it is today, but rather a landmass surrounded by ancient seas.

Great Sand Dunes
Great Sand Dunes

Geology

https://www.nps.gov/

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is an American national park that conserves an area of large sand dunes up to 750 feet (229 m) tall. The park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America. 

The dunes contain dark areas which are deposits of magnetite, a mineral that has eroded out of the Sangre de Cristo Range. Magnetite is both attracted to a magnet and can be magnetized to become a magnet itself; it is the most magnetic mineral in nature. Magnetite is an oxide of iron which is heavier than the surrounding particles of sand. When overlying sand is removed by wind, magnetite deposits stay in place and are visible as dark patches in the dunefield.

Dinosaur Diamond
Dinosaur Diamond

Fossil Locality

The Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway is a 512-mile-long National Scenic Byway in the U.S. states of Utah and Colorado. The highway forms a diamond-shaped loop with vertices at Moab, Helper, Vernal and Grand Junction.

Numerous of Fossil Localities, Museums, and Hikes.

Learn More [Page All Localities is Coming Soon]

Dinosaur Ridge
Dinosaur Ridge

Fossil Locality

https://dinoridge.org

The Dinosaur Ridge area is one of the world’s most famous dinosaur fossil localities. Some of the best-known dinosaurs were discovered in the upper Jurassic Morrison Formation here, including Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, and Allosaurus. The Dakota Sandstone on Dinosaur Ridge preserves spectacular dinosaur trackways of Lower Cretaceous age.

Fossils at Denver International Airport
Fossils at Denver International Airport

Fossil Locality

Can you name the best airport for a fossil hunter or anyone who loves dinosaurs and palaeontology?

The floors near Gates B feature Stegosaurus, the state fossil of Colorado, ammonites, trilobites, plesiosaurs and many more.

Read More in Blog

Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Fossil Locality

https://communityservices.elpasoco.com

The Paint Mines are named for colorful clays colored by oxidized iron compounds. The park features fantastic geological formations including spires and hoodoos that form through erosive action that creates incised gullies and exposed layers of selenite clay and jasper. The rocks at this site span the top of the D1 and base of the D2 sequence of the upper Cretaceous and Lower Paleocene Denver Formation. The D1-D2 paleosol that is preserved at this location represents an unconformity with early Eocene rocks above.

 

UTAH

Field Trip Diary

Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry
Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry

Fossil Locality

https://www.blm.gov/

Jurassic National Monument, at the site of the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, well known for containing the densest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur fossils ever found.

Dinosaur National Monument Quarry
Dinosaur National Monument Quarry

Museum

https://www.nps.gov/

The Quarry Exhibit Hall allows visitors to view the wall of approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones including Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, and Stegosaurus along with several others. Exhibits, including an 80-foot long mural, reveal the story of these animals and many others that lived in the Morrison environment during the late Jurassic.

Natural History Museum of Utah
Natural History Museum of Utah

Museum

https://nhmu.utah.edu

The museum shows exhibits of natural history subjects, with an emphasis on Utah and the Intermountain West. Palaeontology Halls include 12,000 vertebrates, 4,000 invertebrates, and 7,000 plants.

Uinta Basin Project

Palaeontology Project

With funding from the National Science Foundation, the Uinta Basin project is an ambitious multi-disciplinary research project focused on the basin’s middle Eocene rock units (Green River, Uinta and Duchesne River) and determining how the animals and plants that inhabited this area during Eocene times evolved in response to a significant increase in global temperatures such as we are experiencing today. I assisted with preliminary reconnaissance for the project with my friend and paleo colleague Dr. Paul C. Murphey of the San Diego Natural History Museum, and our work will continue each summer for at least the next three years. Just a friendly reminder that collecting fossils on BLM lands in the Uinta Basin is unlawful without a valid paleontological resource use permit.

Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum
Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum

Museum

https://stateparks.utah.gov/

The museum displays prehistoric geological, anthropological, and natural history items found near the Uinta Mountains and within the Uinta Basin.

Outside the Utah Field House museum is the Dinosaur Garden, which features 17 full-sized prehistoric animal replicas from the Pennsylvanian through the Pleistocene epochs.

Drive Through the Ages Geological Tour
Drive Through the Ages Geological Tour

Geology

https://www.visitutah.com/

A 150-mile drive along the eastern edge of the Uinta Mountains and along the southern rim of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, providing outstanding views of the river gorge and the High Uintas as well as roadside geology lessons.

The road is remarkably well marked with geological info signs nearly every 100 yards.

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is about 41 miles north of Vernal. Head north on Vernal Avenue (US 191), and just beyond the outskirts of town (about 3.5 miles from the town center) you will see on the right a small information board for “Drive Through the Ages Geological Tour.” Stop to read the short route description and pick up the brochure about the signed geological attractions that line the route; signs along the road indicate when you pass from one formation to another.

Dinosaur Diamond
Dinosaur Diamond

Fossil Locality

The Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway is a 512-mile-long National Scenic Byway in the U.S. states of Utah and Colorado. The highway forms a diamond-shaped loop with vertices at Moab, Helper, Vernal and Grand Junction.

Numerous of Fossil Localities, Museums, and Hikes.

Learn More [Page All Localities is Coming Soon]

Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Drive
Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Drive

Geology

https://www.flaminggorgecountry.com/

This 15-mile side trip (one-half to 1 hour) is highly recommended. The road is almost entirely paved, though not in great condition.

Sheep Creek Canyon was split by the Uinta Crest Fault, which exposed 18 distinct layers of strata. All along this drive are nice markers describing the stunning geological formations. Along the fault line, spikes and wavy layers of rock jut up from the canyon floor.

This is a really stunning canyon, with outstanding formations. As you gaze at them, look for the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep that frequent the canyon. Just past mile 6 the road climbs out of the canyon (nothing radical) and leaves the official geological area. The road has turned into a very nice alpine drive.

WASHINGTON

The Evergreen State which I also call home has an amazing and complex geology. Department of Natural Resources and Roadside Geology by Dr. Marli Miller are the best start points. Washington state is famous for an outstanding preservation of plants fossils, petrified and opalized wood, and Paleocene marine invertebrate fossils in concretions. Quartz and Amethyst, Ellensburg Blue Agate, Carnelian, Jasper, Opal, and many more gem stones are also what Washington state is famous for. Washington State has one of the highest concentration of Fossil and Mineral Clubs in the United States.

Field Trip Diary

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

Museum

http://www.burkemuseum.org

With working labs you can see into, one-of-a-kind objects all around you, and galleries filled with curiosity and conversation, it’s a new kind of museum—and a whole new way to experience our world.

This museum features the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skull on display found by two volunteers in Hell Creek Formations in Montana, Tufts and Love.

Gingko Petrified Forest State Park
Gingko Petrified Forest State Park

Fossil Locality

https://parks.state.wa.us/

Did you know that petrified wood is Washington’s official state gem? Considered one of the most diverse fossil forests in North America, Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is famous for its rare specimens of petrified Ginkgo tree discovered there in 1932.

Perched on a cliff face carved out by mighty Ice Age floods, Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Center overlooks the beautiful Columbia River. Petrified wood collection is prohibited in the State Park.

Stonerose Interpretive Site
Stonerose Interpretive Site

Fossil Locality

https://stonerosefossil.org

There is nothing like the thrill of discovery. Just like pages in a book, fossil impressions are embedded in 50 million years old layers of shale; when the rock splits and there is fossil inside, many squeal with delight at the discovery. That fossil has never seen the light of day and is certainly something that has not been seen before by human eyes. Finding a fossil takes a bit of patience, yet the odds of finding one are excellent.

Common Opal along Silica Road near George
Common Opal along Silica Road near George

Fossil Locality

Yellow-greenish opal is abundant along the Silica Road after you turn left from I-90 (exit 143) near George.

Please visit the BLM and DNR websites for an update regulations and limits per person per day; and make sure you check the land ownership before collecting.

Olympic Peninsula
Olympic Peninsula

Fossil Locality

The Eocene to Miocene Twin River Formation produces a numerous of marine fossils along the coast of the Olympic Peninsula. Check the beaches, many fossil invertebrates are preserved in concretions.

Vertebrate fossils collection is prohibited without a permit; also check the landowners beforehand, many roads are private.

Saddle Mountain Petrified Wood
Saddle Mountain Petrified Wood

Fossil Locality

https://www.blm.gov/

The Saddle Mountains have long been a recreational collecting site for Miocene petrified wood which is Washington States official “gemstone”. Please visit the BLM and DNR websites for an update regulations and limits per person per day and per year.

Petrified wood could be found on the surface or by digging.

WYOMING

Wyoming is famous around the world for exceptional preservation of fossilized fish, mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and plants from Green River Formation.

Learn more about Fossil Collecting Regulations and geology of Wyoming state from Roadside Geology Series.

Kemmerer, a small town in the south-west corner of Wyoming, is a mecca for kids, amateurs collectors and professional palaeontologists alike who are interested in Eocene fossils of an oustanding preservation and want to dig for themselves at one of many quarries around the town.

Digging season starts in the late Spring or Summer and I’ll update this section with more details in Spring.

Field Trip Diary

Fossil Butte National Monument
Fossil Butte National Monument

Museum

https://www.nps.gov/

The visitors center at the monument showcases a world famous, extraordinary assemblage of early Eocene (~ 50 million years old) fish, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal fossils which inhabited ancient Fossil Lake. 

The monument preserves the best paleontological record of Cenozoic aquatic communities in North America and possibly the world within strata of the Green River Formation. Noteworthy fossils preserved include fish, alligators, bats, turtles, dog-sized horses, insects, and many other species of plants and animals. In addition to the visitors center, the monument features several hikes to visit fossil quarries.

Bridger Basin Project
Bridger Basin Project

Palaeontology Project

I joined my good friend and colleague Dr. Paul C. Murphey (Denver Museum of Nature and Science) for ongoing field work in the Bridger Formation, a rock unit off both tremendous scientific importance and historic prominence as the area which set the stage for the “bone wars,” the feud between 19th Century paleontologists O.C. March and E.D Cope. The Bridger Formation preserves the most taxonomically diverse and abundant vertebrate fossils of early middle Eocene age in North America. Our work involved high resolution stratigraphy and fossil prospecting and collection. Just a friendly reminder that collecting fossils on BLM lands in the Bridger (Greater Green River Basin) is unlawful without a valid paleontological resource use permit.

Contact

Fill the Form or DM on Instagram

1 + 12 =

Currently in:

Washington State, United States