This 50-million year old lake bed is one of the richest fossil localities in the world. Recordedin limestone are dynamic and complete paleoecosystems that spanned two million years. Preservation is so complete that it allows for detailed study of climate change and its effects on biological communities.
Visitors discover that this resource displays the interrelationships of plants, insects, fishes, reptiles and mammals, like few other known fossil sites. The relevance and challenge of study and preservation of this ancient ecosystem are equal to those of a modern ecosystem.
The surface topography of Fossil Butte is now covered by a high cold desert. Sagebrush is the dominant vegetation at the lower elevations, while limber pine and aspen occur on the slopes. Pronghorn, Mule deer and a variety of birds are commonly seen. Moose, elk and beaver are sometimes observed.
for Fossil Butte National Monument
Operating Hours for Fossil Butte National Monument
June-August, Visitor Center Hours 8:00a-7:00p; Winter Visitor Center Hours 8-4:30 (September through May). Closed winter Holidays.
How to Get to Fossil Butte National Monument
Whats the Nearest Airport to Fossil Butte National Monument - Albuquerque is the closest airport to the Monument
How to Drive to Fossil Butte National Monument - Kemmerer, Wyoming is located 45 miles north of Interstate 80 on highway 189 in southwestern Wyoming. From Kemmerer travel 15 miles west on highway 30 and follow the signs an additional 4 miles to the park visitor center.
Weather & Climate
Summer: warm days and moderate evenings, light jacket needed most evenings, sturdy shoes needed for hiking, protection from sun recommended. Spring, Fall and Winter can be very cold, expect snow and winter conditions. Light frosts are common on Summer nights.
Visitor center and picnic area is wheel chair accessible.
Activities and More Information
Plan 45 minutes to an hour at the visitor center to view the exhibits and watch the videos. Allow 1 hour to hike the Fossil Lake Trail or 2-3 hours for the Historic Quarry trail.
Two maintained hiking trails let visitors explore the area.
The 2.5 mile Historic Quarry Trail has wayside exhibits and a trail brochure. Wayside exhibits include information on the history, geology, wildlife and plants of the high desert. A short side loop leads to the site of an historic quarry. It is moderately difficult with a 400 m (1000') elevation gain.
The Fossil Lake Trail, 1.5 miles, This trail winds around
and through a grove of aspen trees. A trail brochure interprets the wildlife,
plants and geology of this high desert oasis.
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