Fossil Butte National Monument

Fossil Butte National Monument

Quick Facts

Fossil Butte National Monument

Wyoming

(580) 592-4433

Map

Things To Do

Overview

This 50-million year old lake bed is one of the richest fossil localities in the world. Recorded in limestone are dynamic and complete paleoecosystems that spanned two million years. Preservation is so complete that it allows for detailed study of climate change and its effects on biological communities. Visitors discover that this resource displays the interrelationships of plants, insects, fishes, reptiles and mammals, like few other known fossil sites. The relevance and challenge of study and preservation of this ancient ecosystem are equal to those of a modern ecosystem. The surface topography of Fossil Butte is now covered by a high cold desert. Sagebrush is the dominant vegetation at the lower elevations, while limber pine and aspen occur on the slopes. Pronghorn, Mule deer and a variety of birds are commonly seen. Moose, elk and beaver are sometimes observed. There are many opportunities for exploration here at the Fossil Butte National Monument.

Map of Fossil Butte

Latitude, Longitude: 41.836520, -110.768855

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    Bicycling is allowed in the monument but must remain on designated roads. They are not allowed on interpretive trails. Two gated dirt roads offer short rides to scenic overlooks on Cundick Ridge.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    A 7.5-mile scenic drive (3.5-miles paved, 4 gravel) provides another view of Fossil Butte and the surrounding area. Wayside exhibits along the paved section interpret the present-day wildlife and the subtropical environment of 50 million years ago. Visitors driving LARGE RV'S OR PULLING TRAILERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO TURN AROUND AT THE PICNIC AREA. The gravel road beyond the picnic area parking lot is narrow and steep. Allow 30 minutes to an hour to complete the drive.

  • Hiking

    Two trails with wayside exhibits provide opportunities to experience the geology, fossils, wildlife, plants, and wide-open spaces of Fossil Butte National Monument. Both dirt trails gain elevation and have some steep up and down sections. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, carry plenty of water, and protect yourself from the sun and insects. Vault toilets at each trailhead are wheelchair accessible.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding available.

  • Picnicking

    Aspen trees shade the picnic area 2.5 miles north of the visitor center. Tables, charcoal grills, and water are available. The walkway from the parking area, one picnic table, and vault toilet are wheelchair accessible. The parking area is suitable for trailers and RV's.

  • Wildlife Watching

    More than 100 species of birds, mammals, snakes, and amphibians are known to frequent Fossil Butte National Monument. Although the presence of 44 species of mammals are documented, American pronghorn, mule deer, jackrabbits, cotton-tail rabbits, least chipmunks, and Richardson ground squirrels are probably the only mammals the average visitor is likely to see during a casual summer visit.

  • Winter Sports

    Lots of open space and almost no light pollution make Fossil Butte National Monument a good place to view the night sky.

Seasonality/Weather

The visitor center is open 7 days a week 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. May 1 through September 30. October through April 30, the visitor center is open 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week, but closed winter holidays. Monument grounds are open sunrise to sunset. The entrance road gate is closed only during severe winter storms. The upper road accessing the picnic area, Chicken Creek Nature Trail (previously Fossil Lake Trail), and scenic drive closes November 1st until the snow melts, usually by late May.

Park Partners

Intermountain Natural History Association

Intermountain Natural History Association is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization created to aid the educational and scientific activities of the National Park Service at Dinosaur and Fossil Butte national monuments, the U.S. Forest Service at the Ashley, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache national forests and the Bureau of Land Management at the John Jarvie Historic Property in Browns Park. The profits from all bookstore sales are donated back to these public lands. Since INHA's inception in 1956, donations have exceeded $2.5 million.

Donations are given to the agencies to support specific activities or projects. These can include production and printing of newspapers, construction of information kiosks, or the financing of roadside displays, trail guides, and handouts. INHA donations help to purchase items as large as the cast skeleton of Allosaurus at Dinosaur, and as small as a roll of film for documenting projects.

The organization was founded in 1956 as the Dinosaur Nature Association. In 1999, it expanded beyond its relationship with the National Park Service to begin serving the USDA Forest Service and the BLM. To better reflect these relationships, in 2002 it officially became Intermountain Natural History Association.

INHA's offices are located just outside the Dinosaur National Monument boundary on the Utah side of the park, four miles north of US Highway 40 on Utah State Road 149. The physical address is: 2430 South 9500 East Jensen, UT 84035 Turn north at the Sinclair station!

(800) 845-3466

Phone Numbers

Primary

(580) 592-4433

Links