Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument lies within a scenic region of southern Idaho where sandy bluffs, basalt canyons, waterfalls, and hot springs are interspersed between vineyards, ranches, and farms producing various crops including sugar beets, potatoes, and onions. The 4,394-acre park lies just west of the town of Hagerman. The unit was established November 18, 1988, through an act of Congress (Public Law 100-696) and is one of the few federally administered fossil sites specifically set aside for paleontological research. The park's fossil beds offer a world-class setting to conduct research that can better enable the scientific community, the public, and land managers to understand the past.
The park lies along the Snake River and includes 7 miles of river shoreline. Elevation of the park ranges from 3,508 feet at the top of the bluff to 2,799 feet at the base of the river. The climate in the region is semiarid. Precipitation averages less than 10 inches per year, with most occurring in the early spring and late fall. Winters are cold (average low is 19 degrees Fahrenheit (°F), and summers are hot (average high is 91°F).