The Nature Trail at Fossil Butte National Monument is a moderate 1.4 mile loop that ascends up Fossil Butte through desert and aspen groves. If you time your visit right, you can also catch archeologists revealing exciting finds as they dig for new fossils. Also, be sure to bring plenty of water. The hike is exposed and ascends through a high desert. If needed, water can be found at the Visitor Center.
Nature Trail Description
From the parking area, head down through the picnic area where you’ll begin climbing through a bit of thick brush. The Nature Trail emerges from the brush and continues climbing up the exposed high desert hillside. For those winded by the elevation, you’ll be glad to know there are benches along the way to stop and catch your breath. They also make for a great excuse to enjoy the expansive scenery.
As you maintain the ascent, the trail will skirt alongside an aspen tree grove. Shortly after, you’ll reach the top of the trail where several benches are lined up. You can use these to relax and enjoy the views once again.
Beyond the benches, the trail heads west over even terrain for a short distance before beginning the descent back to the trailhead. You’ll wind down through gorgeously serene aspen trees, made all the more delightful by the fact that they’re persisting in an otherwise desert environment. The Nature Trail continues descending out of the aspens and through the desert vegetation back down to the trailhead.
From the Fossil Butte National Monument Visitor Center, drive up the Scenic Drive for 2.5 miles. Look for the trailhead on your right at the picnic area.
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