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Lots of Fossils to be found if you look!

We had a great experience at the Paleo site outside of Payson. We just stopped by for a few... read more

Reviewed September 3, 2019
Lynne S
,
Florence, Arizona
You will find them if you look.

Just a few yards from where we parked is where we found the best and biggest fossils. Our 3 year... read more

Reviewed March 17, 2019
acies01
,
Phoenix, Arizona
via mobile
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Reviewed March 20, 2016

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!

Date of experience: March 2016
7  Thank Bisnaut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2016

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."

Date of experience: March 2016
3  Thank grammielyn49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2016 via mobile

We have been visiting this site since last year, and the kids always have fun. You do not need any special tools or equipment to find fossils, but I would recommend a blanket for your knees, sunblock, and plenty of water. We also bring Ziploc bags and paper towels to bundle our finds for the ride home. Within minutes you should be able to find what appear to be fossilized clams and scallops. Fun for everyone!

Date of experience: March 2016
2  Thank TLBPsyD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2016

Used to have a great spot but the new road killed it. If you have small kids or low fossil experience you may enjoy more than us. Slim pickens and small

Date of experience: August 2015
Thank Flojostravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2017
Google Translation

Date of experience: March 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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