• View of the Monument across the Snake River

    Hagerman Fossil Beds

    National Monument Idaho

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there a fee to visit the Monument?

No, there are no fees charged at the Monument, but donations are always welcomed.

2. Where can we dig for fossils?

Digging for fossils is not allowed within the National Monument. All animals, plants, and rocks (including fossils) are protected by law and cannot be removed or harmed.

3. Why can’t we dig for fossils?

Fossils are heritage resources and national treasures that are important for their scientific, educational and recreational values. They should be available for the enjoyment of all.

4. Were a lot of fossils found here?

Yes! So far over 200 species of plants and animals fossils were found in the 4400 acres that makes up the Hagerman Fossil Beds. Who knows what we may find tomorrow!

5. Do you have any dinosaurs?

No, the fossils found here are much too young to be dinosaurs. The fossils found here are between 4 – 3 million years old and dinosaurs went extinct over 65 million years ago.

6. What is there to see out on the Fossil Beds?

Currently there are two overlooks open. Both are scenic overlooks. The Snake River overlook gives you a wonderful view of the Snake River, the town of Hagerman, and portions of the Monument’s bluffs. The Oregon Trail overlook is three miles further up the road. At this overlook you can hike the Emigrant Trail or walk along a portion of the Oregon Trail.

7. Will we see fossils at these overlooks?

No, you will not see any fossils at these overlooks. The best place to see a wide variety of fossils up close is at the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center has many different fossils on display as well as replicas for you to examine.

8. When does the Monument close?

Bell Rapids Road is a public road that leads to the Monument. Therefore it never closes. Visitor Center hours vary.

9. What are they doing in the laboratory?

Since this is a working research center the paleontologist and his crew are actively doing fossil science in the lab. We have one full-time NPS paleontologist and a fossil preparator on staff as well as many seasonal workers.

10. Are you still doing digs? Where?

Yes, our paleontological team frequently does field work. There are more than 600 fossil sites within the Monument. Within these sites scientists have found more than 40,000 specimens to add to the collections.

11. Is there any danger of rattlesnakes here?

We are in rattlesnake country. It is best to be cautious and stay on existing trails. There are many species of snake here, and most snakes you will see are not rattlers. If you see a snake, just back away slowly to let them know you mean no harm.

Did You Know?

A portion of the view from the Snake River Overlook.

The Snake River Overlook, a wheelchair accessible viewing platform, allows a view of bluffs about 600 feet high. They consist of strata, or layers of sediments (sands, silts, and clays) deposited by the flooding of rivers flowing into ancient Lake Idaho more than three million years ago.