Florissant Valley boasts one of the most pristine fossil deposits in the country including a petrified redwood forest. Its diverse collection of preserved plant and insect fossils and the rolling Read more...
Florissant Valley boasts one of the most pristine fossil deposits in the country including a petrified redwood forest. Its diverse collection of preserved plant and insect fossils and the rolling green fields make this national monument an interesting place to visit.
If you're a bit of a geology geek — or just like really big stuff — then the petrified redwood trees (or at least the remaining stumps) are just the thing. With stumps measuring up to 41 feet around and 14 feet wide and weighing in at five tons, you can't get much bigger. Plus, the sequoias tell a story of Colorado's past, one with a different climate and active volcanoes. It was one such volcano that, upon erupting, destroyed everything in the forest except the stumps encased in a natural mud and ash preservative.
Hike a mile up to some of the best preserved specimens at the petrified forest loop or really explore nature on the 15 miles of trails found in the park. If you'd rather hoof it, do some horseback riding instead. The summer is the ideal time to visit because of the seasonal ranger-led programs and dry weather. Try visiting at night for one of the stargazer programs. However, typically the park is only open for day use, which means camping in one of the nearby locations such as Crysttal Peak, Lake George, or Mueller State Park.
When making your way the the fossil beds, take 1-25 to US 24 West, traveling west for about 35 miles. Once you hit the town of Florissant, look for Teller County Road 1. Go south on it until you reach the visitors center.