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11 Fossil Butte Monument Boondocking (Updated 2022)

Why should you visit the Fossil Butte National Monument? We can tell you why! Around this time last year, I was feeling just like you are right now. I need something new and after doing some research, my husband John suggested that we take a hiking trip in Wyoming. He said that his research showed hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety. So, I gave it a shot. I truly needed that after the tough year wed had.


Want more ideas to round-out your trip to Wyoming?
A lot of great ideas are in these posts!


Now, like you, I wasn’t sold on Fossil Butte National Monument at first but honestly, it was because I didn’t know much about the place. John changed that fast! He was acting like a professional travel agent with all the pamphlets and research that he presented to me. The only thing that he was missing was an official Fossil Butte National Monument employee uniform! It was hilarious! Let me give you a brief rundown of the History of the Fossil Butte National Monument.

History Of the Fossil Butte National Monument

Established in the 1970s, Fossil Butte National Monument is a fossil-rich area in southwestern Wyoming. We believe it to be a goldmine for any paleontologist because its focus is to preserve the best paleontological sites and related geological phenomena! It houses the most outstanding record of Cenozoic aquatic communities in North America and potentially the entire world.

Yes! It contains all of that in the 50-million-year-old ancient lakebed that they call the Green River Formation. We believe that the history alone is unmatched at the Fossil Butte National Monument in comparison to other tourist sites or hiking trails we’ve visited.

Fossil Butte trail

 11 Top Fossil Butte National Monument Boondocking Areas



1. Fossil Butte National Monument Boondocking Locations – BLM Camping Outside Fossil Butte NM

Address
Fontenelle, Wyoming
GPS: 41.82748, -110.78062
Elevation: 6749′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

The road into this Fossil Butte National Monument is Dirt and 1/2 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location.

Best Review:

The site was as described. The road road is a little rutted, my sedan made it but not without some trouble. The mosquitos were as numemerous as they were ravenous. Heard both highway and powerline noise. Overall, not great for tent camping. Super close to Fossil Butte though, I would stay again in a pinch. Note, sign says area is closed to motor vehicles Jan 1 to April 30.

2. Fossil Butte National Monument Boondocking Areas – BLM Land Outside Fossil Butte National Monument

Address
Kemmerer, Wyoming
GPS: 41.899334, -110.762665
Elevation: 8009′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

The road into this Fossil Butte National Monument boondocking area is Dirt and 5 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 15 feet.

Best Review:

Nice spot! Very quiet when I was here, there were only 1-2 cars that came around a day through the monument. Nice views. You have to drive through fossil butte national monument to get here be aware, there’s a sign warning no RVs or trailers. You have to go up a gravel road with about a 17 percent grade,1 lane, no guard rails and a tight switchback. No problems for a truck camper, truck or van, but anything larger probably shouldn’t try it.

3. Fossil Butte National Monument Free Camping Locations – Lake Viva Naughton Access – East side

Address
County Road 305
Kemmerer, Wyoming
GPS: 41.981598, -110.654178
Elevation: 7300′

Management: State Park

This is a free Fossil Butte National Monument dispersed campsite. First come -> first served. No reservations accepted. This is a high elevation location.

Best Review:

Great boondocking right on the edge of Lake Viva Naughton. Quiet spot with room for at least a dozen or so rigs spread out. Great fishing. Great bird watching. Vault toilets, boat ramp, 3-4 bars VZ 4G LTE with booster.

4. Fossil Butte National Monument Free RV Parking Sites – Lake Viva Naughton Dempsey Point

Unnamed Road
Kemmerer, Wyoming
GPS: 41.997926, -110.671718
Elevation: 7244′

Management: State Park

This is a free Fossil Butte National Monument boondocking area. Reservations are not accepted at this campsite. This is a high elevation location.

Review

I love this camp site!! Stayed over looking the lake car camping. It snowed at night and was windy, but that just added to the beauty. Nice bathroom and a gas station 20 minutes away with a nice bathroom and snacks. Would love to stay again.

5. Fossil Butte National Monument Boondocking Locations – Flying J

Address
Cokeville, Wyoming
GPS: 42.086389, -110.947039
Elevation: 6211′

Management: Truck Stop

The road in is Paved. The maximum RV length at Flying J is unlimited.

Best Review:

None

6. Fossil Butte National Monument Boondocking Areas – Cokeville City

Address
2-198 Post Street
Cokeville, Wyoming
GPS: 42.085303, -110.957858
Elevation: 6194′

Management: City Park

The town of Cokeville maintains this  Fossil Butte National Monument boondocking area.

Best Review:

Was a great park. There was some train noise. We enjoyed the bathrooms. They were clean and warm!! Heated! The park pavilion has plugs to charge devices. We wouldn’t have wanted to pitch a tent. Slept in our van! Successfully did virtual work in the am. Even did a FaceTime call.

7. Fossil Butte National Monument Free Camping Locations – Woodruff Narrows/Bear River Access

Address
Unnamed Road
Evanston, Wyoming
GPS: 41.503611, -111.01991
Elevation: 6499′

Management: State Park

This is a free Fossil Butte National Monument dispersed campsite. This campsite does not use a reservation system. First come, first served.

Best Review:

I really loved this spot. It’s about 30 minutes from I-80 on a beautiful lake. Vault toilets at the north end of the lake. The road around the lake is dirt and rocks with some sections a little “washboard” like. My little VW Golf didn’t have any issues, though I did have to take it a little slower than a pickup truck or SUV.

8. Fossil Butte National Monument Free RV Parking Sites – Early Day

Address
4098-5742 Forest Road 10062
Wyoming
GPS: 42.23345, -110.739416
Elevation: 7851′

Management: National Forest Service

Best Review:

I have never stayed at the Early Day rager station, but I have stayed very close to it, there are lots of dispersed spots all along the road from where you enter the national forest to just shortly before the Hams fork Campground. The area is open, primitive and rather heavily used in October during hunting season. Fossil Butte National Monument boondocking area with dirt road.

9. Fossil Butte National Monument Boondocking Locations – Woodruff Narrows Reservoir

Address
County Road 101
Evanston, Wyoming
GPS: 41.48516, -111.026969
Elevation: 6467′

Management: State Park

This is a free Fossil Butte National Monument dispersed campsite. First come -> First Camped. Reservations not accepted.

Best Review:

Very quiet and peaceful. There were only two other Boondockers the entire week we were there. Two vaulted toilets. Be careful of broken glass which is basically everywhere,trash too. A beautiful reservoir used by local kids to party and and ride motorcycles, but kept to themselves. Would stay here again.

10. Fossil Butte National Monument Boondocking Areas – LaBarge Creek

Address
La Barge Creek Road
Big Piney, Wyoming
GPS: 42.294003, -110.440015
Elevation: 7290′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Pinedale District. First come -> first camped. No reservations are accepted. This is a high elevation location.

Best Review:

None

11. Fossil Butte National Monument Free Camping Locations – Birch Creek

Address
Unnamed Road
Woodruff, Utah
GPS: 41.5059, -111.317232
Elevation: 6834′

Management: Bureau of Land Management

This Fossil Butte National Monument boondocking area free campsite is located within the Bureau of Land Management Salt Lake District.

Best Review:

Very short drive from Woodruff on good surface roads. Really peaceful setting with 6-8 pull through sites on dirt surface. Each site on creek or on small lake. We chose the lake. Only saw two other sites taken. Surrounded by red rock cliffs, and mountainous region. We didn’t see wildlife at the time, and had no shade trees on our lake site, but the evenings cool down very nicely.

Things To Do At Fossil Butte National Monument

But before I tell you about the areas there that are used for hiking, I should go ahead and describe the other activities located at the infamous monument. If you visit their website, which John and I found to be extremely easy to navigate, you’ll be able to learn about events, projects, and issues in their latest news releases. You’ll also see that they offer high quality photos and multimedia of fossils found and/or housed at Fossil Butte National Monument.

Some of the world’s best, preserved fossils are found in the flat-topped ridges of Wyoming’s cold sagebrush desert. Fossilized fishes, insects, plants, reptiles, birds, and mammals are exceptional for their abundance, variety, and detail of preservation there!

In our opinion, one of most remarkable features of what they offer is the story they tell of the ancient life in a sub-tropical landscape. Surprisingly this activity was a soothing yet intriguing form of entertainment. We also appreciated the stress-free atmosphere that surrounds the Monument. You will never worry about having enough time to explore, engage, and learn because their Monument grounds are open from sunrise to sunset and the entrance road gate is only closed during severe winter storms.

The upper road accessing the picnic area and scenic drive closes every November 1st until the snow melts, usually by late May so, wed advise that you visit in the summer or spring time. When you get there, there will be other opportunities to discover and learn about their plant and animal life, ecosystems, and other nature features. It really is a great place for teachers that need to find lesson plans or help with scheduling field trips and classroom visits because they even offer several kid and youth friendly activities located around the Monument.

Another wonderful fact about Fossil Butte National Monument is that they partner with the non-profit organization, Intermountain Natural History Association. Due to this partnership, when a purchase is made at one of the Intermountain Natural History Associations bookstores or online, they can aid Fossil Butte National Monument fund projects and operations for the Monuments sites. Honestly, this place deserves a medal! I am genuinely surprised that you hadn’t heard of this place before you met us.

Don’t just take our word for it! But we want to warn you that after you read all the wonderful reviews they’ve accumulated; you’ll be convinced that you must see the place for yourself. The pictures you’ll find online do the Fossil Butte National Monument no justice.

There’s just one last thing I must mention before I move on to the Monuments trails. The Haddenham Cabin! Its a historic, A-frame cabin that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and was designed and built c. 1918 by David C. Haddenham. What’s notable about Mr. Haddenham and his cabin is their direct association with fossil quarrying in the Green River Formation. From seasonal work at this site, Haddenham provided specimens of rare fossils to universities, museums, and private collectors.

He was a paleontological icon! John was ecstatic about visiting this special cabin in what we now consider breathtaking, southwestern Wyoming. He was thrilled when we finally made it to the cabin! This brings me to our next point.

The Haddenham cabin is surrounded by the most incredible, scenery. And to get to it, you must utilize Fossil Butte National Monuments most popular and historic trail: Quarry Trail. This trail is perfect for a hiking beginner or a hiker that is well seasoned as it is a 2.8 mile, lightly trafficked, loop trail located near Cokeville, Wyoming that features beautiful wildflowers and is rated as moderate.

The trail is primarily used for hiking, taking a relaxing stroll, nature trips, and bird watching. John and I believe that the best time to hike this trail would be from March until October.

We’ve been several times and on our last visit we brought our Doberman Pinscher, Duke because dogs are also able to use this trail! But dogs are only allowed if the owner can ensure that their dog will be kept on leash. So as long as your dogs leash is secure, all should go swimmingly. This trail was a great way to allow Duke some time away from home and give him the ability to absorb all the unfamiliar smells of a new environment. He was such a happy pup during this trip!
8 Trails Near the Fossil Butte Monument You Must Try

This location was extremely interesting. However, the trail’s beginning is deceiving. If you’re only planning on hiking and not riding dirt bikes or four wheelers, you’ll want to continue driving all the way down the dirt road until you reach the sandy road turnoff, which is about halfway down. When you reach the rock formations, you’ll have traveled about two or three miles down the road. This is a fantastic place to discover or to go boondocking.

Now For Our Top  Trails In the Fossil Butte National Monument



1. Quarry Trail

1. Quarry Trail Fossil Butte National Monument Free RV Parking Sites

Quarry Trail is a short yet steep trail detailing the fossil quarrying that existed before the inception of the park with signs as you easily trudge along. From the parking area, the trail heads north and is very well-signed providing information about the geology, fossils, and history of the park. And don’t worry about becoming weary as a beginner. There are benches along the trail where you can stop to rest and take in the views. The trail is admirably decorated with rays of the suns natural lighting so be sure to prepare accordingly and bring lots of essentials for sun exposure such as water, sunscreen, and probably a hat.

The trail passes through parts of the Wasatch and Green River formations. A short side loop leads to the site of a historic fossil quarry on Fossil Butte and the Wayside exhibits that you will stumble upon provide the perfect amount of information about geology, area history, wildlife, and plants of the high desert. The information is easy to understand and favorably descriptive leaving you with an easily obtained education.

It really is a very nice hike to pursue, not just because of its sweeping views, but also because the trail is very well maintained and fortunate enough to have temperatures that average in the low 70s with the acceptance of a few clouds. Its a pretty trail with interesting geology. It took us just over 60.5 minutes to complete the trail. You wont find a better trail in Wyoming in our opinion although there is another one that is indeed a runner up.

Length: 2.8 mi
Elevation gain: 685 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Kid friendly, Hiking, Nature trips, Walking, Bird watching, Forest, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife

2. Chicken Creek Loop Trail

2. Chicken Creek Loop Trail Fossil Butte National Monument Free RV Parking Sites

Fossil Butte National Monuments engaging awes and trails don’t stop at the Quarry Trail. John and I also had the pleasure of hiking Chicken Creek Loop Trail. If you’re looking for a quick, easy trail for either some fresh air or light exercise, this is the trail for you! We hiked this trail in just under 45 minutes! The Picnic Area we mentioned earlier, some restrooms, and water are available at the start of this trail. The trail is open all year! However, the road leading to the Nature Trail is closed for driving if the snow gets too high. It varies each year, but the road is usually closed sometimes in November and usually reopens in April. Skiing and snowshoeing are excellent substitutes for pursuing the Nature Trail in the winter!

The Chicken Creek Loop Trail winds through gorgeous sagebrush and a spring-fed aspen forest. Be sure to watch for the stunning wildlife as you hike! We suggest that you bring a portable camera in case you spot something interesting, which is likely. And again, the Wayside exhibits interpret the wildlife, plants, and geology of this high desert oasis. And once you finally reach the top, you will enjoy the scenic views at the benches overlooking Fossil Butte. We had the pleasure of basking in the joy of our accomplishment upon completion of this serene and refreshing hike while we bathed in admiration of the scenery below us once wed made it to the top.

Length: 1.3 mi
Elevation gain: 344 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Kid friendly, Hiking, Nature trips, Walking, Bird watching, Running, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife

3. Fossil Butte Loop

3. Fossil Butte Loop Fossil Butte National Monument Free Camping Locations

This location was extremely interesting. However, the trail’s beginning is deceiving. If you’re only planning on hiking and not riding dirt bikes or four wheelers, you’ll want to continue driving all the way down the dirt road until you reach the sandy road turnoff, which is about halfway down. When you reach the rock formations, you’ll have traveled about two or three miles down the road. This is a fantastic place to discover or to go boondocking.

Length: 9.6 mi
Elevation gain: 711 ft
Route type: Loop

Dogs on leash, Hiking, Horseback riding, Forest

4. Avondale Basin Trail Near Fossil Butte National Monument

4. Avondale Basin Trail Fossil Butte National Monument Free Camping Locations

Gorgeous trail along an incredibly clear creek high in the Owyhees that takes you through the forest. Despite the fact that there were literaly millions of Mormon crickets all over the place, we had a good time. Avondale Basin is home to some interesting rock formations that are worth exploring.

Length: 4.3 mi
Elevation gain: 770 ft
Route type: Out & back

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Horseback riding, Nature trips, Running, Forest, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Bugs

5. Owyhee Loop, War Eagle and Silver City OHV Trail

5. Owyhee Loop, War Eagle and Silver City OHV Trail Fossil Butte National Monument Boodocking Areas

This ride is not recommended for first-time riders or those who are afraid of steep inclines. Everything about the ride was incredible, and we had a fantastic time. A Maverick Sport 1000 and two Polaris Generals were among the three sxs that participated in the outing. Fortunately, we did not encounter any difficulties, but the advice about straddling the ruts is very valid. In a couple of locations, you had to be picky about where you stood.

Length: 46.4 mi
Elevation gain: 10,009 ft
Route type: Loop

OHV/Off-road driving, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Historic site

6. Ghost Ranch, War Eagle and Silver City OHV Trail

6. Ghost Ranch, War Eagle and Silver City OHV Trail Fossil Butte National Monument Boodocking Areas

From the perspective of a full-size vehicle, the trail is mostly semi-groomed for the majority of the way. Particularly in the vicinity of the falls section. We had to do a lot of trail repairs to keep the trail from being damaged, but overall it was a beautiful and remote location. There were only a handful of other people I ran into. Two particularly difficult areas call for the application of advanced capabilities. The detour to the radio tower was well worth it – what an incredible view!

Length: 36.1 mi
Elevation gain: 7,106 ft
Route type: Loop

OHV/Off-road driving, Bird watching, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife

7. Black Mountain OHV Loop at Fossil Butte National Monument

7. Black Mountain OHV Loop Fossil Butte National Monument

I attempted to ride it today. Up in the mountains, the snow was melting quickly. A large snow drift, on the other hand, prevented us from riding the the whole loop. On this ride, you will see some spectacular scenery. Wildflowers were in full bloom. With a great mix of rocky technical terrain, mud, and dust, this trail will keep you interested. In the lower elevations, there were Mormon crickets.

Length: 44.5 mi
Elevation gain: 6,902 ft
Route type: Loop

Nature trips, OHV/Off-road driving, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, No shade

8. Rabbit Creek OHV Area

8. Rabbit Creek OHV Area Fossil Butte National Monument

For our first outing in Pete, we took the conventional Silver City road out of Murphy… stopped for a beer and checked out the graveyard… then, after getting lost, we discovered the 420 trail… it was incredible!!..

Length: 54.6 mi
Elevation gain: 10,177 ft
Route type: Loop

OHV/Off-road driving, Views, Wildlife

9. Brown’s, Castle, and Alder Creeks Trail

9. Brown's, Castle, and Alder Creeks Trail Fossil Butte National Monument

This Fossil Butte National Monument gravel road leading in was well-kept and groomed. Ample road and trail markings were in place as well. Driving some simple to moderate roads was a lot of fun for me. Road C600 was narrow and abruptly came to an end after approximately 1.5 miles. You should avoid taking the C600 road if you don’t want your rig to get scuffed.

Length: 40.6 mi
Elevation gain: 4,790 ft
Route type: Loop

Kid friendly, Horseback riding, Mountain biking, OHV/Off-road driving, Bird watching, Dog friendly, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife

10. Holy Rocks Sand Castles OHV Trail

10. Holy Rocks Sand Castles OHV Trail Fossil Butte National Monument Boodocking Locations

For the most part, it was a pleasant ride. There were a few spots that were a little rough around the edges. When we followed the map, it took us to a gate that was locked, after which the trail was immediately accessible. As we returned to the starting point, we discovered another trail that led us back to where we started. That part of the trail was a little rough around the edges. Overall, it was a pleasant ride, and I will do it again. One of the easiest OHV trails at Fossil Butte National Monument for beginners.

Length: 16.0 mi
Elevation gain: 1,141 ft
Route type: Loop

OHV/Off-road driving, Bird watching, Views, Wildlife, Rocky, No shade

Conclusion

A visit to the Fossil Butte National Monument is well worth the investment of anybody’s time. Hiking is a powerful cardio workout that can lower your risk of heart disease, improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, boost bone density (since walking is a weight-bearing exercise), build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs, strengthen your core, improve balance, help control your weight, and as we mentioned before, our entire reason for going, boost your mood. Lets not forget that hiking outdoors has plenty of perks such as nice views, fresh air, and the sounds and smells of nature. Go the Fossil Butte National Museum in Kemmerer, Wyoming. It is truly an experience that you will regret missing out on.


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