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Buffalo Field Office

Dry Creek Petrified Tree EEA Virtual Tour

The Dry Creek Petrified Tree Environmental Education Area (EEA), set aside as such in 1978, is located about 9 miles east of Buffalo, Wyoming. A parking area, picnic table, and interpretive facilities can be found here.

As you travel around a loop nature trail about 0.8 mile long, you will go back 60 million years to the geologic era of the Early Eocene when this area was shaded woodlands and mossy glades. You will learn how the uplifting of the Big Horn Mountains helped to create the prairie ecosystem we see today. And you will also learn about early vegetation and the formation of coal, scoria, petrified trees and other indicators of the past.

This area was very different from what can be seen today. Giant trees grew in a jungle-like area somewhat like the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia. A large system of rivers flowed north to a distant ocean. Huge swamps filled the wide, flat plain between the Big Horn Mountains and the Black Hills. There may have been turtles, crocodile-like creatures, large fished similar to modern gars, and primitive mammals and birds.

The ecosystem of the swampy plain played a significant part in the development of coal, an important energy resource today. Your virtual trip into the past begins here.