After almost a year of living in the area, my family and I finally made it to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. A friend is visiting from California, so we have been going to some really cool places here in Colorado the last few days.
If you are lucky enough to visit the beautiful state of Colorado, you should put the Fossil Beds National Monument, in Florissant, Colorado on your list of places to visit.
There are a number of trails in the park that will take you all through the monument, so you can see all there is to see in this beautiful part of the state. You’ll see the shale that so many fossils are found in, as well as petrified redwood trees on the petrified forest trail. There is a trail that takes you to the old homestead of Adeline Hornbeck, and her children, (see my article on the Adeline Hornbeck homestead), as well as lots of wildlife. Below is a list of the trails you will find in the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
Hornbeck WildlifeLoop is a 4 mile trail that follows meadows out to the old Hornbeck Homestead. The trail back takes you by the ancient lake, and lots of wildlife.
Sawmill Trail is 2.2 miles, and it takes you on varied terrain that provides a good example of Colorado’s Montane Life Zone. You’ll go through forests of pine, spruce, and fir. You may also see elk, and get an awesome view of Pikes Peak, (Americas Mountain). There is also a lovely stream for those who enjoy sitting by a flowing stream.
Twin Rock Trail another 2.2 mile trail that features open meadows, aspen groves, willows, and pond life.
Hans Loop is 1.2 miles, and is an extension of the Sawmill Trail.
Boulder Creek Trail is 3.2 miles, it begins and ends at the ponderosa pine forest. You’ll see meadows and s formation of giant eroded granite boulders.
Shootin’ Star Trail is 2.2 miles, and it leaves the meadows and travels through the ponderosa pine forest. The trail gets it’s name from a historic ranch.
All trails are listed as MODERATE. The trails we were on were very easy, and my husband and I both have physical disabilities, as well as our 20 year old son. None of us had any trouble walking the trails in Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Just remember one thing, if you plan on going to the mountains of Colorado in the summer, it rains most every afternoon! So be sure and hit the trails as early in the morning as possible.
There is so much to do at the fossils beds, and the kids can even earn a Junior Ranger Badge while you are there, by doing different activities, and identifying different plants and insect fossils found in the park.
All in all, you are sure to have a great day at Fossil Beds National Monument!