Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Florissant

4.4
#38 of 245 in Nature in Colorado
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
374 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Well worth the drive from Colorado Springs to see this National Monument dedicated to fossils and to get a glimpse of what central Colorado looked like t300 million years ago. Hard to believe that...  more »
  • Great little National Park Service site with plenty of relatively easy hiking options - the whole area is a dry lake bed and as such quite flat - offering some respite for the sometimes punitive...  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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