Dig Your Own Fossil Fish In Wyoming - Fossil Lake Safari

Customers displaying fossil fish at Fossil Lake Safari

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The Fossil Lake Safari located near Kemmerer, Wyoming is operated by FossilEra Adventures. This dig in the Green River Formation offers visitors of all ages the unique experience of being able to discover their own fossils. You can split rock from the 50 million year old Fossil Lake, one of the world’s most biodiverse and productive fossil formations in the entire world. The best part of our fossil digging experience: you keep what you find!

At the Fossil Lake Safari visitors will find well preserved and prolific fossil fish, plants and insects, as well as have the chance to find extremely rare reptiles, birds and mammals. Our expert fossil diggers on site will provide you with the tools and know-how for the job.

  • Open: 7 days a week, June 1st to September 30th

  • Hours: 8:00AM to 4:00PM

  • Reservations: Not Required (just show up)

  • What Is The Green River Formation & Fossil Lake

    The Green River Formation is a geological formation located in the western United States, primarily in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. It is renowned for its exceptionally well-preserved fossils dating back to the Eocene Epoch, roughly 53 to 48 million years ago. The formation is composed of layers of sedimentary rocks, mainly shale, limestone, and sandstone, which were deposited in ancient freshwater lake systems. These lakes provided ideal conditions for the preservation of a diverse array of plant and animal life, including fish, insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals. The fossils found in the Green River Formation offer invaluable insights into the ancient ecosystems and climate of North America during the Eocene, contributing significantly to our understanding of evolutionary history.

    Fossil Lake is one of the prominent lake basins within the Green River Formation, located in southwestern Wyoming. It is renowned for its exceptional preservation of fossils, including fish, insects, plants, and even the occasional mammal. Fossil Lake was once part of a series of interconnected lakes that covered a vast area of what is now the western United States during the Eocene Epoch. The fine-grained sediment deposited in these lakes acted as a natural preservative, capturing and fossilizing the delicate remains of organisms that lived in or around the ancient waterways. The fossils found in Fossil Lake provide scientists with valuable information about the biodiversity, ecology, and climate of the region millions of years ago, offering a window into the distant past of North America.

    A rare fossil stingray (Heliobatis), one of the most desirable fossils at the site.  But they are considered rare for a reason.
    A rare fossil stingray (Heliobatis), one of the most desirable fossils at the site. But they are considered rare for a reason.

    Fossil Lake Safari Location

  • 1/2 hour from Kemmerer, Wyoming

  • 2 1/2 hours from Salt Lake City (nearest airport)

  • 4 hours from Yellowstone

  • Map showing detailed directions to Fossil Lake Safari from Kemmerer, Wyoming
    Map showing detailed directions to Fossil Lake Safari from Kemmerer, Wyoming


    See below for our current rates:

    Length of StayAdults (17+)Children (7-16)
    Full Day$159$79
    4 Hours$109$59
    2 Hours$79$49

    * All prices are per individual
    * Kids 6 and under are free with a supervising adult
    * Rates are subject to change
    * We accept debit or credit payments as well as on-site cash payments.

    Groups of up to 15 individuals do not need to reserve times, just come on by! Larger groups and educational groups are also eligible for discounts. We do recommend reserving times for groups of 15 or more individuals. Contact us to help set up your larger group’s fossil adventure.

    Want a more up-close and personal experience? We also offer private dig packages to reserve for groups of up to 10 individuals! For a full-day rate of $750, we will provide you and your party with two cubic meters of rock chock full of fossils, the tools to dig them out, and expert instruction and assistance in finding them.

    Maintaining this quarry takes a great deal of work and money – so we keep our rates competitive to ensure we can operate as efficiently as possible to provide you with your best experience at our site. Please contact us if you have any questions about our rates!

    What To Expect

    Come prepared for hot weather, some hard work, and lots and lots of fossils! Our quarry only operates during the summer due to weather conditions, so prepare to spend a day in Wyoming’s hot high desert. We recommend you bring:

  • Plenty of food, water, and sunscreen

  • Proper clothing to protect you from the elements

  • Sturdy shoes (NO open-toe shoes or sandals)

  • Work/Gardening gloves

  • Storage containers, empty boxes, and wrapping materials for your treasures, such as newspaper or paper towels

  • The weather can be a bit unpredictable during the summer, so we recommend preparing for cooler mornings, afternoons reaching the mid-90s Fahrenheit (32 Celsius), and occasional thunderstorms. Our quarry is also located at 7,300 feet in elevation, so bring plenty of water and aids for altitude sickness if you or any members of your group are sensitive.

    Once you arrive, we will have the following prepared for you:

  • Rock loaded with fossils

  • Hammers and tools to split the rock

  • Instructions on how to find the fossils

  • Assistance in finding and identifying fossils

  • Bathroom facilities (Porta Potties)

  • Shade & Sitting Area

  • Internet Access via Starlink near shaded area

  • Saws to trim down your fossils for transport

  • The quarry has no cell service, and only limited service can be found in the surrounding areas. While visiting our quarry, please remember: we’ve put in a lot of work to prepare our quarry for you! The most productive fossil fish layer is only several feet thick and has 20-50 feet of overburden on top of it that must be removed prior to each digging season. This productive layer is a valuable and limited resource, so we ask that you show it respect: split your fossils thinly, rather than with force. If you need assistance splitting layers, please ask one of our on-site experts so we can help you take your treasures home intact!

    Pre-Book Your Trip

    Reservations are NOT required but you can pre-book to assure your space on busy days.

    Use the promo code "FOSSILERA" to take 15% off of bookings made before May 1st, 2024.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How many and what types of fossils am I likely for find at the Fossil Lake Safari?

    The prehistoric lake bed yields predominantly fish fossils, totaling around two dozen species discovered in the quarry. These range from abundantly present species to those represented by only a single specimen. Among the most common are the schooling fish, Knightia and Diplomystus, often plentiful for visitors in a day's exploration. Less common varieties such as Mioplosus, Priscacara, and Phareodus offer decent chances of discovery. Fossil stingrays, highly sought after, are relatively scarce, with perhaps a couple dozen complete specimens found in a season. Large fish like gars and Amia are even rarer, with only a few complete specimens likely found per season.

    Occasionally, plant fossils, including giant palms, and fossil insects are uncovered in the quarry. Fossils of birds, bats, reptiles (such as crocodiles, turtles, snakes, and lizards), and mammals (including horses, tapirs, prehistoric otters, and lemurs) are exceedingly rare in the Green River Formation. Across all quarries within the formation during a season, only a few of these significant specimens may be found. Their rarity underscores their importance in the scientific study of the area.

    A well-preserved Diplomystus one of the more common fossil fish in the quarry.
    A well-preserved Diplomystus one of the more common fossil fish in the quarry.

    Do I get to keep the fossils that I find?

    Paying customers get to keep the fossils that they find with the exception of extremely rare specimens whos value exceeds $100k. We have to pay royalties to the land own on these finds.

    Occasionally very scientifically valuable fossils found in the quarry, primarily the birds, bats and mammals. Things like gars, rays and turtles while potentially very monetarily valuable typically don't have much scientific value unless they are a new type. If a customer did find something new and scientifically valuable we would highly encourage them to donate it or work with us to get it into an appropriate institution where it can be researched.

    Why are the fossil fish so well preserved in the Fossil Lake deposits?

  • Fossil Lake was cold. This meant that fish sank to the bottom quickly as their swim bladder wasn’t as inflated.

  • The lake was relatively deep and the bottom of the lake had anoxic conditions (lacking oxygen). These conditions prevented decomposition and scavengers from destroying the remains of fish and other animals at the lake bottom.

  • The fish were slowly buried by seasonal accumulations of fine sediment. It has been estimated that it took around 7 to 8 years to deposit one millimeter of sediment at the bottom of Fossil Lake.

  • What are the road conditions to the quarry like?

    The last 8 miles to the quarry is a dirt road which is pretty well maintained. Vehicles with reasonable ground clearing including RV's and busses can access the quarry just fine. If the road is muddy after a significant rain storm you will need a four wheel drive vehicle.

    What services are available at the quarry?

    We have limited services available at the quarry including porta potties and Starlink internet near our checkin station. You likely will not be able to get cell phone service in the quarry. The nearest town where you can get food and gas is Kemmerer, WY which is about a half an hour away. Please come prepared.

    Do I need to prebook my trip?

    Pre-booking your trip is recommended, but not required, for individual experiences. You can just show up at the quarry, however, on busy weekends we may reach capacity. Pre-booking is required for groups of over 15 people or for private digs.

    Pre-bookings can be canceled without fee up to 48 hours before your scheduled date. Cancellations within 48 hours incur a 25% fee and no-shows will not be refunded.

    How do I find out more?

    There is more information avaialable on the website for the Fossil Lake Safari fish dig at www.FossilSafari.com. You can also reach out to us to with questions at:

    Email: dig@fossilera.com
    Phone: (567) FOSSILS