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Geology and Paleontology

Geology and Paleontology

The Royal Gorge Field Office manages a broad range of fossil resources in eastern Colorado.  Immediately surrounding Canon City, Colorado where our field office is located, one can find fossils ranging from the Ordovician Harding Formation to the Cretaceous Vermejo Formation. 

Information about the fossil resources managed by the Bureau of Land Management is available through the Cultural and Fossil Resources and Tribal Consultation Group. This website has good information about cultural, historic, and paleontology resources. 

Other sources of information:


Garden Park Fossil Area

The BLM's Royal Gorge Field Office is home to the Garden Park Fossil Area which is located approximately 5 miles north of Canon City, Colorado. The Garden Park Fossil Area is currently managed as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) due to the high scientific value of dinosaur fossils that have been recovered from the area and the presence of the Brandegee wild buckwheat which is listed in Colorado as a sensitive plant species.  

National Natural Landmark Designation:
Part of the Garden Park Fossil area is also designated as a National Natural Landmark.  This is a voluntary National Park Service designation that allows the BLM and the NPS to partner in the preservation of sites that illustrate the geologic and ecologic history of the United States, and to strengthen the public’s appreciation of America’s Natural Heritage. The designation is part of a greater subset of Mesozoic Vertebrate Paleontologic sites across the nation that was completed in 1973. 

The BLM is currently proposing to expand the designation to include all of the historically significant fossil locations within the Garden Park Fossil Area. 

The Royal Gorge Field Office works with Hands on the Land to provide information and educational materials highlighting the significance of the Garden Park Fossil Area. 

Visit the Royal Gorge Paleontology page for more information

Royal Gorge Paleontology Series 

The Garden Park Fossil area in the Royal Gorge Field Office is host to several historic dinosaur quarries that are important for helping shape the science of paleontology to what it is ttoday.  Find out more in our 5 part series. 

Intro: Paleontology Series (2:33) | .wmv (26MB) | YouTube | Transcript
Part One: The Cope Quarries (5:06) | .wmv (53MB) | YouTube | Transcript
Part Two: The Marsh Quarries (5:03) | .wmv (52MB) | YouTube | Transcript
Part Three: The DeWeese Quarries (3:24) | .wmv (35MB) | YouTube | Transcript
Part: Four: The Cleveland Quarry (2:47) |.wmv (29MB) | YouTube | Transcript
Part Five: Stegosaurus Gulch (5:27) | .wmv (57MB) | YouTube | Transcript

BLM Paleo

Hands on the Land Garden Park Fossil Area

The BLM's Junior Explorer program helps introduce young explorers to the lands and resources that the BLM manages. The Royal Gorge Field Office is proud to introduce the newest Jr. Explorer Activity Book - Geology of the Gold Belt Byway, which helps students understand what rocks and fossils tel us about Earth's past.  Click below to download your copy today - printed version coming soon!

Junior Explorer - Geology of the Gold Belt Byway

Click here to download the Jr Explorer - Geology of the Gold Belt Byway Activity Book

Find other Jr. Explorer activities here.

Geographic Regions of the Royal Gorge Field Office - Click links on right side to learn more

Geographic Regions of the Royal Gorge Field Office

Cañon City Basin

Denver-Juesburg Basin

Front Range Uplift

Huerfano Park

Raton Basin

South Park Basin

Southeastern Colorado

Upper Arkansas Valley