Fossil Butte National Monument is located in southwestern Wyoming near the Idaho-Utah border. To put it mildly, this location is way out in the middle of nowhere, but a major highway does run nearby. From Interstate Highway 80 in Green River Wyoming, Fossil Butte is about 80 miles away on old U.S. Highway 30. Because of the remote location, most of the tourists visit this National Monument while they are traveling to Grand Teton, Yellowstone or the Craters Of The Moon. It only takes about one day to experience Fossil Butte National Monument, so it is a good choice for a secondary destination when planning a trip.
There are only a few gas stations and convenience stores in this region, so be sure to stock up while you can. Commercial campgrounds and modern accommodations are even sparser, so planning on where to spend the night requires some forethought. A neighboring BLM dispersed camping area that overlooks Fossil Butte was mentioned in a previous article and this actually is the best camping option. Camping on site does have its benefits, because a quick tour of the park can be done in a few hours and there will still be time left in the day for traveling to the next destination.
The best place to start a Fossil Butte tour is the visitor center, which actually is a fossil museum. Hours can be spent browsing the exhibits and plenty can be learned. The Park Rangers are informative and they organize group events. Children's classrooms are also taught onsite, so this truly is a learning center. Information about the fossil quarry hiking trails and guided tours can be found here too.
This entire region from Dinosaur National Monument to Red Fleet and east to the Green River is abundant with ancient fossils and many of the discoveries are of great importance. The flat top hills in the Fossil Butte region harbor a wide variety of Cenozoic plant, mollusk, animal and fish fossils. Basically, scientists have been able to use the vast amount of fossils to understand entire ecosystems from eons ago. Many game changing fossils have been unearthed at Fossil Butte and doing a tour of the fossil quarries will provide an idea of how much work is involved with unearthing priceless artifacts in their entirety.
Fossil Butte National Monument certainly is a good learning experience for visitors of all ages! One visit is all it takes to inspire interesting memories to ponder over for a lifetime. This National Monument is small enough to conquer in one day, so it is a great day trip destination. The hiking trails are easy too, so this is a good place to stretch the legs after racking up the road mileage. When traveling to the famous big National parks in western Wyoming, be sure to set some time aside for touring Fossil Butte!
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