Did you know Colorado was once covered by an ocean? You can find ripple marks on rocks and ocean fossils in various places in Colorado.
After the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway dried up, it left hundreds of ammonites on a 200-acre site near Kremmling. So many in fact, a sign says this is the only place in the world where you can find such a high concentration of the fossils of these squidlike creatures that lived inside coil-shaped shells.
The Cretaceous Ammonite site is about 14 miles from Kremmling (directions below). The hike starts at a fence with signs that say fossil bearing rocks are here and you can not remove them. The next sign explains the history of the seaway and some of the marine species found here.
After reading the signs, it’s time for the hike. The trail climbs a short hill to a plateau. Here you’ll find another sign that explains even the smallest rocks in this area may contain scientifically valuable fossils.
After reading the sign, it’s time to explore. Look at each rock you pass. Some may look like nothing, but even to the untrained eye, the rocks/fossils fall into two categories — the circular remains of an ammonite and the ribbed remains of other creatures.
While the first few rocks may not seem like much, the closer you walk to the edge of the site, the more fossils you’ll see.
We spent about 30 minutes here and walked about .3 miles exploring the area. You’re welcome to touch the rocks here, you just can’t take them with you.
Learn more about Ammonites on the National Geographic website. Learn more about the site on the BLM’s website. For more than 200+ other great hikes in Colorado, click here.
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Details: The hike around the fossil site is about 0.2-.35 miles depending on how much you explore. The site is 200 acres.
Directions: I highly recommend stopping at the BLM office in Kremmling for a good map of how to get to the site. Otherwise, take Highway 40 through Kremmling, north toward Steamboat Springs. About 9-10 miles north, turn right on CR 25. Cross Muddy Creek and veer left on Country Road 26. About 3.2 miles from Highway 40, you’ll see a two-track Jeep Road on your left. Take this approx. 1 mile to the gate. If you don’t have a high-clearance vehicle, add two miles to the distance.
Note: While this is not a destination trip, it is a nice addition to a trip between Silverthorne and Steamboat Springs.