By Brittany MacRostie - Oct 12, 2020
Fossils hold a unique and invaluable look into the geological past of a region. It’s no wonder so many people are fascinated by them! If you’ve ever wondered where to go to find your own fossils here in Colorado, look no further than the Florissant Fossil Quarry.
Located in the geographical center of Colorado, the fossils in the Florissant Formation look at life in the late Eocene Epoch (~35 million years ago). This area was once a lake filled with woody vines, shrubs and trees. Repeated volcanic activity eventually covered the area in dust and pumice and began trapping small animals, fish, insects, and plants under the ash and sending them to the bottom of the lake. Eventually the lake was filled, climatic change occurred, and enough time passed to create the fossils we find today.
The Florissant Fossil Quarry has been in the Clare family for over 50 years. One of the perks of going to the quarry is that all the tools are provided for you! They gather the shale beforehand and will share their expertise by showing you what pieces are most likely to hold fossils. No previous experience is necessary and after a short demo on how to use your tools, you are able to dig through the paper shale piles and begin splitting the layers at the picnic tables nearby. The majority of the fossils are plant life, but there are also a good amount of bugs to be found! In addition to several well-preserved fossil leaves, our staff member found some ants and a member from the Littleton Gem and Mineral Club found a spider!
Tips For Visitors
The price to look for fossils at the quarry is $10/hour per person (1-2 hours is plenty of time to find some good fossils) and you get to keep all the fossils you find. The only exception is if you come across a very rare find.
The quarry is located .25 miles south of Florissant on the Teller County Road One.
Once you’re done at the quarry, we recommend heading down the road and checking out the Florissant Fossil National Monument where you can see some incredible fossil finds and hike around to view the petrified Sequoia stumps.
Learn more about The Florissant Fossil Quarry and contact them here.
Happy Fossil Hunting!