Cottonwood Canyon Road Fossils




N 37° 08.272' W 111° 53.963'

The above coordinates will get you pretty close to where the oyster beds are easiest to access. Turn off Highway 89 at mile mark 17 3/4 onto the Cottonwood Canyon Road. Go about 4 1/4 miles and find a place in the road that is wide enough to park without creating a safety hazard by blocking traffic too much. Seems the BLM allows you to enjoy the area hiking and exploring, but they don't want you to pull off the road to avoid creating a safety issue, so your only choice is to park on the road. The road gets a bit washboardy in some (most) areas, but a car can make it to this area just fine if the weather is dry.

This layer of fossilized shells is about 6 feet thick in this area and extends for miles in most directions. It is said that there are fossilized pearls mixed in with these shells, although we have never seen one. (Of course we didn't spend much time looking for them, either.)

Across the road from where you see the shells is that black/gray material that turns to a nasty clay when it rains. This is the material where we used to hunt for shark and skate teeth before it became a National Monument. If you walk in the area, you may see a few just laying on the surface. If they have a white appearance It means they have been exposed to the elements for quite sometime. If they are a shiny brown, then they have just recently been exposed.

Also when you are driving to this spot, watch the road for what appears to be layers of rocks in the road. You may want to stop and take a quick look to see the petrified shells you are driving over.



oyster shell fossils
Everything in the foreground is oyster shell fossils.


oyster shell fossils

oyster shells

oyster shells

oyster shells

oyster shells

 

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