Paleo Site

Paleo Site, Payson: Address, Paleo Site Reviews: 4/5

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4.0
34 reviews
Excellent
9
Very good
14
Average
7
Poor
4
Terrible
0

RK from Phx
1 contribution
Wanted to get out of the heat in Phoenix and go for a hike. Who knew, we'd end up digging on a hillside and finding loads of marine fossils. We kept a couple. But, great fun. Something the kids will definitely remember. Take a pick or at least a small screwdriver and maybe knee pads or a towel for your knees.
Written April 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Laura S
3 contributions
Family
For those of you who did not find much at this site I am so sorry. Most people want to dig in the hill cliff face as they think this is what you should do. You can find a few fossils this way. I have collect this area many times over the years. Each time I could have collected hundreds of brachiopods and some other fossils as well, mostly shelly types. YOU DON'T NEED TOOLS. You need to walk up the old dirt road just up from the cliff face. It winds up until you are on the crest of the hill. Look at what is under your feet on the road and on the sides. Good eyes like children have are a benefit, But you can see them none the less without much difficulty. TAKE 5 TO 10 AND LEAVE SOME FOR OTHERS. There are lots! Search in other areas just off of the site to pick up some other types, perhaps some of the really nice winged brachs. Best time to go is after a good rain or in the spring after the snow melts off and new material is exposed. The "Paleo" site is just one small area along the highway where you can find fossil. Larger Brachs, Corals, and other fossils can be found along the rim if you are willing to just search a little. Take one of the dirt side roads or just find a spot to pull off the road and hike through the woods a little, look in bare spots and rock outcrops there is lots to find for young and old alike.
Written May 17, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bisnaut
Phoenix, AZ36 contributions
Family
The Paleo site is a great place to find fossils that are millions of years old when part of North America and Arizona were under water. Fun for the whole family! Grab your children and make a day trip from the Phoenix area. This is an awesome place to learn about geology. Whether you spend 30 minutes or 3 hours, everyone will find something of interest. No experience needed!
This Paleo site is located just off the AZ-260 is marked clearly with a sign. Free parking, free entry and it has a dedicated parking area. The elevation is about 5300 feet above sea level.
Just walk past the animal barrier (barbed wire fence) and you will see a wall of shale-limestone to the right. The area best for collecting is very steep and can be challenging to climb up to since it is full of smaller pieces from previous visitors. Dig your feet in sideways and take your time and you will do fine. My five year old was able to make it up the side with a helping hand.
Bring some tools! I recommend a rock hammer, gloves, dust mask, eye protection, 3” paint brush and something to bring your specimens home in such as a basket. You will not need a sledge or chisels here as the shale-limestone will break away relatively easily with minimal effort. You will get dusty!
Work an area to a flat surface the size of a small plate and then slowly take off a thin layer at time. Use the paint brush, in between layers, to clean it off while looking for new finds. The fossils here can be small and delicate but are plentiful.
Another strategy is to break off a softball size of material and then pry off pieces looking for fossils but be very gentile. You need to be very careful not to wreck the fossils.
Take your finds home and dust them off further with a paint brush in good light. You will find that there is more there than you thought. Do not try to clean these off with water as they will become mushy and crack. You can use a small amount of super glue to protect your specimens and enjoy them for years to come.
You are not likely to find any vertebrates here! Only sea shells (brachiopods, fenestrate bryozoans, bi-valve, spiriferoides, and crinoids) and other water creatures from long, long ago so don’t expect to find a T. Rex!
Written March 20, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

HappyTrails007
Scottsdale, AZ11 contributions
In fact, we spent a day here combing the wall and loose rocks and found nothing. We even spent time splitting rocks with a recently acquired rock hammer. Just don’t go assuming you will find anything and you may have fun hunting.
Written April 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

grammielyn49
Cottonwood, AZ23 contributions
Family
I was hoping to show my grandson some fossil areas and visited the Paleo Site, thinking it might be one. I was extremely disappointed in that there was absolutely nothing there to explain what the site was about. When we pulled into the parking place, it at first looked like it was inaccessible because of a tall barbed wire fence. Then I discovered an entrance in. There was no explanation of what to expect, how to go about searching for anything (or if that was actually a place to find fossils). I was so disappointed in this "attraction."
Written March 19, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bill85210
Mesa, AZ518 contributions
Couples
You hardly need any tools to find "stuff". If anything a bucket. Guess they call what I found Brachiopods. In minutes you will find something. Addicting little area. Super easy to see and get to. Walk a few hundred yards farther then the first ledge and there will be a different site. Trail leads the way. Appx 1 mile east of Kohl's Ranch there is a sign "Paleo Site".Plenty paved room for parking even for a trailer. If your like me and drove past it 100 times on the way to the Rim/Pinetop/Show Low area, have some fun and stop by...never know what you may find.
Written May 18, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mark V
1 contribution
Family
Great place to explore with children for a science project! So many fossils here. There is a sign board with no info yet but that means there will be soon. Bring some tools. Too many people show up with out tools and expect to find stuff. One person took the fork and knife from their hotel. Make sure to visit the red rock at the top of hill on the right just south of the Palo site. These are hard stone but have really cool fossils there too.
Written March 22, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

cmahar
Peoria, AZ89 contributions
Great place for science nerds or kids with a passion for science. There's no bathroom, but there's a huge parking area large enough to turn around a bus. Go through the switchback in the barbed wire fence. It's open range on the other side, so watch out for cow poops. You can bring a rock hammer, a shovel, a screen, or any sort of hammer if you wish, but I find as many fossil sifting through the detritus below the cliffs as anywhere else.
Bring a little bag or bucket you can put your fossils into. That's handy to have.
There's good digging on the hill and cliff on the north side (to you're right), but walking around and finding other spots can be rewarding. You Really have to train your eye to spot these fossils, so pay attention to the photos on the sign just past the fence. Once your eye is trained you'll start seeing these ancient sea shells and crinoid stems as you sift your hand through the gray rocks and rubble at the bottom of the hill.
Remember that these fossils are from 500+ million years ago, long before dinosaurs by more than 200 million years. That's long before there were even trees on land. These are all aquatic fossils. This was a shallow sea bed.
On the plus side you can stand in the spot and hold in your hand the fossil of something that was alive here half a billion years ago. So that's something.
Written September 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SharrieKay
Mesa, AZ79 contributions
Wow! Collect ancient shells on a beach that's now a mile above sea level. You will not find large size specimens nor will you find a T-Rex. You will find, without much trouble, many small shells, bits of coral and other plants and animals that lived millions of years ago when Arizona was a shallow sea. In about 15 minutes, I had a handful of complete shells about as big a thumbnail and husband found a cool conglomeration of shells and other creatures. Kids will love the paleontology. This was an Eagle Scout project. Wonderfulj gift to the state. Look sharp on the south side of AZ260. Plenty of parking.
Written June 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

acies01
Phoenix, AZ19 contributions
Family
Just a few yards from where we parked is where we found the best and biggest fossils. Our 3 year old had a blast banging her hammer on the rocks and even if we hadn’t found anything we would have enjoyed it anyway. I recommend going when it’s not busy because it’s not a super huge area. Sort of concentrated.
Written March 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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