Hiking for Fossils

There are no semi-precious opals to be found on the scramble up Opal Ridge – but there were fossils, plenty of them. Horn coral, to be precise, and they were only a mere 1300 feet straight up from the parking area.

Fossils found! (Photo: M.Kopp)

Some people hike for views, or summits – and we do too – but our objective on this hike was a late Devonian-era fossil bed.

The climb was stiff with lots of loose rock calling for careful foot placement; definitely not a route for lightweight trail shoes. Could someone make a note to ensure that future fossil beds are placed in more accessible locations?

In the meantime, fossil hiking means effort. Wiping the sweat out of my eyes as we neared the sloping bed, I started counting fossils. One, two, four, 10, 50, 100… I’d still be there if I kept going.

Horn coral. (Photo: M.Kopp)

We didn’t stop there. The sun was out, the energy was there and the ridge and summit were calling. Over 3000 feet of elevation in less than two miles means a steep grind – but worth every step for the fossils… and the view and the summit.

What’s a fossil?
A fossil is the physical evidence of things that lived long before humans began recording their history. Commonly known fossils include dinosaurs, ammonites and trilobites.

3 Fossil Hikes Worth Exploring

  1. Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming  
  2. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Colorado.
  3. The Burgess Shale, Yoho National Park, British Columbia.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.