Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Florissant

4.4
#37 of 243 in Nature in Colorado
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 an 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
381 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • The visitor center is closed due to COVID-19, but all the trails are open. The petrified forest loop is a mile and the one I would most recommend for small children. It is mostly flat and has some...  more »
  • We literally stumbled on this place while driving around. It is an interesting national monument off the beaten track There is a nice visitor center which is 90% closed, but the rangers were able.....  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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