Hike the Historic Quarry Trail At Fossil Butte National Monument

by Adam on August 9, 2010

The Sign At The Start Of The Historic Quarry Trail At Fossil Butte National Monument

The Sign At The Start Of The Historic Quarry Trail At Fossil Butte National Monument

The Historic Quarry trail at Fossil Butte National  Monument is one of two hiking trail at Fossil Butte.  The trail covers 2.5 miles and loops around past the Haddenham Cabin where David C. Haddenham used to stay while he mined for fossils in the area.  Along with the cabin there are numerous displays near the top of the trail (along the spur trail) that highlight different types of rocks and rock formations in which fossils may be found.  Signs throughout the main trail loop provide a self guided walking tour of the area.

A View Along The Historic Quarry Trail From Near The Start Of The Trail At Fossil Butte National Monument

A View Along The Historic Quarry Trail From Near The Start Of The Trail At Fossil Butte National Monument

When you first start out on the trail it is moderately strenuous and covers an elevation gain of about 600 feet.  It does get hot in the summer and there is no water along the trail so be sure to bring some.  Allow anywhere up to 3 hours to hike the entire trail depending on how fast you walk and how many stops you make to take photos of the sights along the trail and the surrounding area.  Parking is ample down at the start of the trail and is a short drive from the visitor center area of Fossil Butte.

The Haddenham Cabin Along The Historic Quarry Trail At Fossil Butte National Monument

The Haddenham Cabin Along The Historic Quarry Trail At Fossil Butte National Monument

The first major sight you will come across when hiking the trail is the Haddenham Cabin.  It is a very small structure and hard to believe that one or more people would actually live there for an extended period of time.  There is no running water, no power and nothing but a dirt floor to sleep on.  the cabin definitely shows signs of wear and has been unoccupied for quite sometime but is still in rather good shape.

The Spur Trail Along The Historic Quary Trail At Fossil Butte National Monument

The Spur Trail Along The Historic Quary Trail At Fossil Butte National Monument

Aside from the surrounding mountains and the Buttes in the background the next (and only other) major sight you will come to is at the top of the spur trail which is a bit of a steep hike.  This is where you will see the signs that talk about the different types of rock and sediment in the area where where fossils formed over the years.  During the summer (August) of 2010 parts of the spur trail were under construction but should be back in operation for the summer of 2011.

Another View Along The Fossil Butte Historic Quarry Trail

Another View Along The Fossil Butte Historic Quarry Trail

Once you get past the Haddenham Cabin and the Spur Trail display the rest of the trail is just a hike.  The mountains and the buttes along the way are beautiful as are the views down into the valley across the street from the parking area.  Though the park is called Fossil Butte, chances are the only place you will see any fossils in Fossil Butte is at the visitor center.  Along the hiking trails you may see wildlife depending on the time of day you hike.  You’ll see beautiful sights and get a good workout but you’re not likely to see any fossils and there are no fossil displays along the trail.

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