Location: Front Range District, Royal Gorge Field Office, Fremont County
Size: 2,728 acres
Designated: 1996 Royal Gorge Land Use Plan
Land Manager: Bureau of Land Management, Royal Gorge Field Office
The Garden Park Fossil Area is located south of Cripple Creek and only 8 miles north of Cañon City. Garden Park is an area of rock butte 'fortresses' with geologic exposures that helped fuel the dinosaur “bone wars” of the late 1800s. Garden Park is the location of the first discovery of several species of dinosaurs including the ridged back and spiked tailed dinosaur, known as the Stegosaurus. After its discovery the Stegosaurus was moved to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. A total of three nearly complete stegosaurs have come from the Garden Park Fossil Area, one specimen became the Colorado State Fossil and State Dinosaur and another, the most recent find, "Ms. Spike" discovered by Denver Museum of Nature and Science paleontologists in 1992, provided scientists with new information about the fearsome tail spikes that Stegosaurus likely used for protection. With that discovery, and many others, Garden Park has gone on to be named one of the premier paleontological localities in the United States. In 1973, in recognition of its scientific importance, Congress designated the area as a National Natural Landmark. By the 1990s the BLM designated the site a Research Natural Area and an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The Colorado Natural Areas Program in 1991 designated the area as a Colorado Natural Area.
For additional information on Garden Park please see the following links: