A beautiful mountain valley just west of Pikes Peak holds
spectacular remnants of the earth's
prehistoric life. Huge petrified redwoods and incredibly detailed fossils of ancient insects and plants reveal a very different Colorado of long ago. Almost 35 million years ago, enormous volcanic eruptions buried the then-lush valley and petrified the redwood trees that grew there. A lake formed in the valley and the fine-grained sediments at its bottom became the final resting-place for thousands of insects
and plants. These sediments compacted into layers of shale
and preserved the delicate details of these organisms as fossils. The
Florissant Fossil Beds are world-renowned, and in 1969 were set aside
as a part of our National Park
System; Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
for Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Operating Hours for Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Summer: 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; daily, Winter: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Closed Thanksgiving, December 25, January 1.
How to Get to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
What is the Nearest Airport to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument - Colorado Springs is the closest airport to the Monument
How to Drive to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument -
Visitors traveling north/south on I-25: Exit at US 24 West, travel 35 miles to town of Florissant, then follow signs two miles south to the visitor center on Teller County 1. Visitors traveling east/west on US 24: Exit to the town of Florissant, then follow signs two miles south on Teller County 1 to the visitor center. Visitors traveling from the town of Cripple Creek: Follow Teller County Road 1 north for 16 miles. TRANSPORTATION: To Park: access by US Highway 24 and Teller County Road 1.
Weather & Climate
Summers are generally of short duration with pleasant warm days and cool nights. Freezing temperatures can sometimes occur during summer months. Sub-zero lows are common in the winter; dress in warm layers to keep dry and to prevent hypothermia. The altitude is 8,500 above sea level so pace yourself in any season, drink a lot of water, and use sunscreen.
The visitor center and associated petrified stump displays are fully wheelchair accessible. The self-guided trails and the Hornbek Homestead are accessible to ADAS Challenge Level I.
Activities and More Information
A typical visit to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is about 1.5 - 2 hours. We recommend that all visitors begin their visit at the visitor center.
At the visitor center, you will receive orientation information and you can see geologic exhibits and fossil displays. We recommend seeing the 14 minute orientation film. The bookstore and bathrooms are also located here.
Behind the visitor center is an outdoor exhibit area where you can see petrified redwood tree stumps and associated exhibits. In the summer, rangers give hourly talks in the amphitheater which is also in the outdoor exhibit area.
From the outdoor exhibit area you will have access to two
self-guided trails called the Ponderosa Loop Trail and the Petrified Forest
Trail. The Monument has 14 miles of hiking trails.
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