Hiking Trails

Park rangers walking uphill trail
Historic Quarry Trail

NPS / Elizabeth Bargdill

Fossil Butte National Monument offers 4 miles of maintained trails. Unmaintained trails exist off the unpaved stretch of the Scenic Dive. View the Map of Fossil Butte to reference locations within the monument.

Each of the trails offer something different, but all offer a chance to explore the scenery and geology of Fossil Butte. Below are descriptions of the trails to help you find the outdoor experience you are looking for.

Be aware that fossils are not visible from any of the trails. The Visitor Center offers the chance to view and learn about fossils.

Please be cautious hiking at Fossil Butte National Monument. The park is located between 6,600 ft (2012 m) and 8,000 ft (2438 m) in a desert; you will get sunburned and dehydrated more easily than at lower elevations. The air is also much thinner than at lower elevations and can put more strain on you.

Maintained Trails

Historic Quarry Trail Loop
Length: 2.5 mile / 4 km
Starting elevation: 6677 ft. / 2035 m
Elevation gain: 680 feet / 207 m

This trail is moderately strenuous. There is no shade on the trail and it can get very hot. Pack sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water.

This trail offers a great way to experience the geology of Fossil Butte. You will pass through parts of the Wasatch and Green River Formations. A short, side loop leads to a historic fossil quarry. Wayside exhibits provide information about geology and the history of fossil hunting in the area.

Restrooms, water, and a small picnic area are available at the start of the trail. This trail is not accessible to wheelchairs or strollers.

The trail is accessible year-round, but will likely be covered by snow during winter months.

map of Historic Quarry Trail

Nature Trail Loop-
Length: 1.5 mile / 2.4 km
Starting elevation: 7200 ft. / 2194 m
Elevation gain: 350 feet / 106 m

This trail is easy to moderate. There is some shade on this trail while the aspen trees have leaves on them. Pack sunscreen bug spray, a hat, and plenty of water.

This trail winds through sagebrush and a spring-fed aspen forest. Wildflowers are plentiful in spring and many animals including birds, marmots, elk, pronghorn, and occasionally moose can be seen along the trail. Wayside exhibits interpret the wildlife, plants, and geology of this high desert oasis. At the top, enjoy the scenic views at the benches overlooking Fossil Butte.

The Picnic Area, restrooms, and water are available at the start of this trail. This trail is not accessible to wheelchairs or strollers.

The trail is open all year. However, the road leading to the Nature Trail is closed to driving as soon as the snow gets too high. This time varies each year, but the road is usually closed sometime in November and usually reopens sometime in May. Sking and snowshoeing are excellent alternatives for reaching the Nature Trail in the winter.

map of Chicken Creek Nature Trail (previously Fossil Lake Trail)

Unmaintained Trails - Road Hiking

Past the Nature Trail and Picnic Area, the Scenic Drive continues 4 miles up a steep incline on gravel road. If you are driving a RV or pulling a trailer behind your vehicle, we do not suggest continuing up this road. It is very narrow and there may not be any area large enough to turn your vehicle around. You are welcome to unhitch a trailer and leave it in the Nature Trail or Visitor Center parking area.
Three 2-track dirt roads leading off the Scenic Drive offer wonderful hiking opportunities. The trails are unmarked but noticeable by gates leading to them.
Cundick Ridge & Eaglenest Point are accessed from the first gate on your right side as you drive up the Scenic Drive. Rubey Point is accessed from the second gate on your left side as you drive up the Scenic Drive.

Cundick Ridge Road - 2 miles total, out-and-back, minimal elevation gain

Eaglenest Point Road - 2 miles total, out-and back, some elevation gain

Rubey Point Road - 3 miles total, out-and-back, some elevation gain

Visitor looking at Fossil Butte from Cundick Ridge
Cundick Ridge Overlook

NPS / Nora Halloran

Collecting fossils or other natural or cultural items is prohibitied by federal law 36 CFR 2.1.

Last updated: August 4, 2022

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