Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Florissant

4.4
#37 of 242 in Nature in Colorado
Must see · National Park · Monument
The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is a national monument located in Teller County, Colorado. The location is famous for the abundant and exceptionally preserved insect and plant fossils that are found in the mudstones and shales of the Florissant Formation. Based on argon radiometric dating, the formation is Eocene (approximately 34 million years old ) in age and has been interpreted as a lake environment. The fossils have been preserved because of the interaction of the volcanic ash from the nearby Thirtynine Mile volcanic field with diatoms in the lake, causing a diatom bloom. As the diatoms fell to the bottom of the lake, any plants or animals that had recently died were preserved by the diatom falls. Fine layers of clays and muds interspersed with layers of ash form "paper shales" holding beautifully-preserved fossils.

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Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
386 reviews
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4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Learn about fossil plants and insects at the visitor center, then go for a stroll through the nearby fields and learn about some of the local history. There are plenty of live trees and some...  more »
  • The museum is still closed but you can walk the trails. The petrified forest trail is the trail to see the fossils. The other trails are nature trails. The size of fossilized tree trunks is amazing...  more »
Google
  • Quite a unique place somewhat off the beaten path. Visitor's center and areas are well maintained and done. They are still trying to stabilize and figure out how to preserve the redwood stumps that remain. The rangers are very knowledgeable and have interesting programs. We happened to be there just after kids went back to school and many families were there with younger kids working on their Junior Ranger badges. Interesting natural history.
  • Really neat national park. My favorite are the petrified redwoods. Great walking trails through a high mountain meadow. Don't bring the dog though. They are not allowed on the trails except for the designated area.
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