Fossil Butte National Monument
|This ancient lake bed is one of the richest fossil localities in the world. Recorded in limestone are dynamic and complete paleoecosystems that spanned eons. The lake bed is so well preserved that it allows for detailed study of climate change and its effects on biological communities.|
The modern visitor center displays the interrelationships of plants, insects, fishes, reptiles and mammals, like few other known fossil sites. There is also an excellent display of fossils and a working lab. Over 75 fossils are on display including a 13-foot crocodile, the oldest known bat, and 356 fish. Video programs are also available.
Allow 45 minutes to 1 hour at
the visitor center, 1 hour to hike the Fossil Lake Trail and 2-3 hours for
the Historic Quarry Trail.
During the summer, there are fossil preparation demonstrations, 20 minute interpretive programs, and weekend fossil quarry visits
Today the surface of Fossil Butte National Monument is covered by a cold high desert. The lower elevations are covered with Sagebrush and limber pine and aspen grow on the upper slopes. Pronghorn, Mule deer and a variety of birds are commonly seen. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse moose, elk, and beaver.
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Official NPS home page for Fossil Butte National Monument