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Good collecting sites in Canon City or South Park area?


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I should have done this earlier, but my trip plans only just jelled. I'm going to be in the Canon City area next week, with some side trips to South Park. Any tips anyone cares to share on fossil hunting sites? I've already been pointed at Baculite Mesa and I'll be camping practically on top of the Ordovician beds north of Canon City. Also thinking of Box Canyon further west. I've heard there are good sites near Trout Creek Pass but I don't have a precise location.

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Kent, a belated welcome to the Forum from Scottsdale, Arizona. You have a lot of amazing geology related posts in your blog. 


See my Arizona Paleontology Guide. Arizona and New Mexico share some similar fossils and geology.  I see that you have already been to Arizona to collect fossils and see our wonderful geology. 




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Hello greetings from Denver! 

Im a bit north of there so I don’t have any specific locations to share but anywhere along the foothills in general is great and down the south half of Colorado along I-25 can have something basically anywhere there is an outcrop. My area has less good locations but I can usually find at least a few small plant fossils  and trace fossils when I go to the edge of the foothills. 

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Fossil leaf from the Florissant fossil quarry. Alas, this peeled right off the rock as it dried, and I couldn't preserve it. Glad I got the photograph.




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Another leaf -- actually, the other side of hte first. I think this one made it home.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Snagged in a rock shop on this trip.




Was labeled as Gryphaea. I have no particular reason to doubt the identification; they're fairly common and not worth faking/mislabeling.

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The same rock shop had some fairly huge chunks of coral.




I didn't pick any up; out of my budget.  I wondered, though if this was authentic fossil coral, or merely dead coral of recent vintage.

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And there were some nice trace fossils at Skyline Drive west of Canon City. If I can trust another visitor to the area, this is Aptian age (lower Cretaceous). Dakota Sandstone.






Mostly anklyosaur footrprints, but with one theropod track at upper left.




Also some petrified wood casts.






This had me puzzling, though.




I'm guessing an unusual sedimentary structure.



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The spectacular dinosaur trackway along the Purgatoire River south of La Junta, Colorado.















The last two seem to be part of the same track. They're different enough that I'm now wondering if one is a manus and the the other a pes. (And I'm unknowledgeable about such things that I'd have no idea which would be which.)




Morrison Formation (of course?)  We got to them via a ten-mile hike (round trip distance) which about wore us out --  no longer young. We may have found an informal shortcut that about halves the distance, though it may require a few moments of scrambling. Or you can sign up for a weekend jeep tour to the area, assuming you provide your own jeep.


Either way, you need to wade across the river to get to the best tracks. The water is not too deep, but swift and cold. We packed in beach shoes to  make the crossing.


These tracks are so extensive that you can easily spot them on satellite. In fact, that's how I discovered the place.







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Apatosaur shoulder blade!




Er, yes. It's a fake. Placed by the Forest Service to educate hikers.


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