Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

Walking & Hiking

Outdoor Activities

Two trails lead to the north and south rim of the valley and to the sites where fossils have been found. The Daemonelix Trail has exhibits encasing actual fossils, while the Fossil Hills Trail currently does not.

Fossil Hills Trail

This two and a half mile trail crosses the Niobrara River wetlands (just a stream in these parts) and loops around University and Carnegie Hills, where the great bonebed of Agate was discovered in 1904. Signs point out certain historic and geologic features and identify plants along the way. A side trail (one mile) leads to the restored 1910 homestead of Harold Cook, which was later used by the scientists as their "Bone Cabin" while working the fossil quarries.

Daemonelix Trail

This one mile trail travels through time, including ancient sand dunes and fossil grassland soils, as well as the curious spiral burrows (Devil's Corkscrews) of dry land beavers. Their now petrified homes formed colonies much like current prairie dogs and attracted early scientists to this region. The view from the top overlooking the historic Agate Springs Ranch and surrounding tableland is superb and reflects the vast openness of the land east of the Rocky Mountains.