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Fossil fans, head to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument for a glimpse of prehistoric Colorado – plus plenty of outdoor adventure.
Established in 1969, the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is located in central Colorado just west of Colorado Springs.
This National Monument is known for its fascinating fossil preservation, and hosts over 60,000 annual visitors. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, FFBNM is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year.
Covering nearly 6,000 acres, the park features incredible petrified redwood stumps, and pristine fossils of fish, mammals, insects, and more.
Visitors to the park need first stop by the Florissant Fossil Beds Visitor Center. The visitor center offer prehistoric and geologic exhibits, and plenty of immaculate fossil displays. Stick around for the 14-minute orientation film “Shadows of the Past” – or try to catch the 10 a.m. ranger talk in the amphitheater.
Behind the visitor center, you are encouraged to trek the .5-mile Ponderosa Loop Trail, or one-mile, self-guided Petrified Forest Trail. The Petrified Forest Trail courses past gigantic petrified redwood tree stumps – some clocking in at 14 feet wide.
Florissant Fossil Beds NM features a total of 14 miles of trail, and the historic Hornbek Homestead – an 1878 homestead. The park also offers limited horseback riding, and winter activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
During the summer, you can take advantage of park programs like a visit to the Fossil Learning Lab in Yurt Tent, Hornbek Homestead Tours, and ranger-led, one-mile walk. The two-hour Night Sky Programs are also a must.