Fossil Butte National Monument
Fossil Butte, as the name suggests, is a fossil-oriented park. It is known for its plant and animal fossils from just after the dinosaurs died out, in the Palaeocene and Eocene epochs, especially its well-preserved and abudant fish.
One of the most eye-opening features of the park is its geological timescale. Starting about 2/3 of a mile from the visitor center on Chicken Creek Road, you start seeing signs about events that have occurred, starting with the formation of Earth 4.567 billion years ago. Using a scale of 9” = 1 million years, you see more events as you drive to the visitor center. Once you park at the visitor center, the events continue, such as the extinction of dinosaurs, as you walk to the entrance. Arriving near the entrance door brings you to the present time on the timescale.
Inside the visitor center is one of the best museum-like displays of fossils in all of the fossil-oriented parks. You may be able to catch a park employee working to reveal a new fossil from the rock containing it. As he/she works under a microscope, you can view what he/she is seeing displayed on a TV screen above him.
If you’re into hiking, the sagebrush and butte environment of the park is one where you can walk in beautiful solitude.