Fossil Butte National Monument was on our high-level map, but not on our stop list.
On a last-minute whim as we saw it coming up as we drove from Bear Lake in Utah to Flaming Gorge, we decided to stop in and see why it became a National Monument.
Although only 13 square miles, Fossil Butte contains an amazing array of fossils – fish, alligators, bats, turtles, dog-sized horses, insects, plants, and other animals. We’re used to seeing a few massive dinosaur fossils because these smaller fossils wash away. The conditions of the ancient lake that was here were perfect to preserve the finest detail of the small fossils and keep scavengers from scattering the bones.
There are numerous private quarries in the area that continue to excavate fossils for collectors, as less than 1% of the ancient lake is managed and protected by the National Park Service.

Fossil Butte National Monument

Fossil Butte National Monument
The mandatory entrance sign photo…

Early Horse Fossil

Early Horse Fossil at Fossil Butte National Monument
They sure made them small back then.

Living Fossil

Living Fossil at Fossil Butte National Monument
Amazing that this fossil looks just like today’s real live animal.

Dragonfly Fossil

Dragonfly Fossil at Fossil Butte National Monument
Picture-perfect fossilized dragonfly.

Little Dancing Bird

Little Dancing Bird
Looks like he was dancing a jig when he got fossilized.

Crossing the Road

Crossing the Road
Early chicken, crossing the road?

It’s not all dry and brown

It's not all dry and brown
Despite the dry dusty sagebrush countryside, there are green luch pockets where aspen and flowers abound.


There’s a lot of nothing around here, except likely a lot more fossils buried.

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