Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
"When the mountains are overthrown and the seas uplifted, the universe at Florissant flings itself against a gnat and preserves it."-- Dr. Arthur C. Peale, Hayden Expedition Geologist, 1873. 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 the National Park System; Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Visitors can visit these amazing fossil beds first-hand on self-guided tours or in tours with Park Rangers.
Seasonality / Weather
Florissant Fossil Beds is only open to the public for day use. Park access is prohibited during closed hours except by permit.
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.