• Massive petrified redwood stumps

    Florissant Fossil Beds

    National Monument Colorado

Nature & Science

Nature and Science

Overview of a petrified Sequoia tree and the Florissant Valley

Cliff and Jean Dickey

Located 35 miles west of Colorado Springs, Florissant Fossil Beds N.M. is a 6,000 acre wonderland of meadows, forests, and wildflowers. At 8,400 feet of elevation, the Monument lies within the montane life zone. Ponderosa Pine, Aspen, Fir, and Spruce are the dominant trees. Wapiti (Elk), mule deer, coyotes, foxes, bears, mountain lions, are some of the large mammals that inhabit the area. Birds of prey scan the meadows for ground squirrels and mice.

Beneath the ground is one of the richest and most diverse fossil deposits in the world. Up to 1700 different species have been described. A majority of those fossils are fragile, detailed compression and impression fossils of insects and plants. The largest fossils are massive, petrified Sequoia trees. These are some of the largest diameter petrified trees in the world.


If you love fossils, be sure to check out the other 8 national park units designated to protect fossils:

  1. Agate Fossil Beds National www.nps.gov/agfo
  2. Badlands National Park www.nps.gov/badl
  3. Dinosaur National Monument www.nps.gov/dino
  4. Fossil Butte National Monument www.nps.gov/fobu
  5. Guadalupe Mountains National Park www.nps.gov/gumo
  6. Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument www.nps.gov/hafo
  7. John Day Fossil Beds National Monument www.nps.gov/joda
  8. Petrified Forest National Park www.nps.gov/pefo

Did You Know?

An elk herd in Florissant Fossil Beds NM

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument provides excellent habitat for a variety of mammals including bears, mountain lions, porcupines, ground squirrels, and a small herd of elk.