Ready to hit the open road in search of your next great RV adventure? Why not plan to spend a day visiting Nevada's Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. It's a great place to learn more about the fossil record in the United States.
Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is located just outside Las Vegas, Nevada. It is within this wetland environment that fossil specimens were discovered, showing proof that the region was once home to such creatures as mammoths, lions, and camels.
Quarry workers developing the land in 1933 uncovered mammoth remains on the grounds. In honor of their discovery, the property was renamed "Tule the Baby Mammoth." This first fossil finding led to a more concentrated excavation effort by world-renowned paleontologist, Mr. Fenley Hunter, a scientist employed by the American Museum of Natural History. Decades of research was invested into the land. In 1962, the Nevada State Museum commissioned an excavation known as the "Big Dig." The Big Dig saw tunnels built that stretched up to one mile in length. During this large undertaking, a vast resource of animal fossils was found including those of mammoths, bison, camels, ground sloths, and Great North American Lions. The property also bears the distinction of being the first American site to make use of radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the fossil specimens discovered on the premises.
April 20th, 1979 saw the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument take pride of place on the list known as the National Register of Historic Places. As of 2004, over 11,000 fossils have been discovered on the property, many of which were moved for curation at the San Bernardino County Museum. Today, this collection remains the largest and best representation of fossils from the Pleistocene era.
For a fascinating walk through ancient history, plan a trip to Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. You'll learn lots and have a great time too.
The journey from Las Vegas, Nevada to Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument encompasses 18 miles in total. The highways leading to the monument are comprised of both two and four lanes with all roads kept in excellent condition. Traffic moves all very well, and road construction is encountered infrequently, primarily during the summer months. It is important to note that the entrance to the monument proceeds past a dual cable fence.
Parking can be found via the lot outside the dual cable fence.
There is daily bus services from Las Vegas to Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument through the Regional Transportation Commission. Consult the Commission's website for schedules and associated fees.
Red Rock Canyon Campground is found within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in nearby Las Vegas, Nevada. The campground is home to 53 campsites including some suited for group camping, RV use, and tent camping. The individual campsites for RV and tent use must be reserved ahead of time to ensure a space. The 14 walk-in sites are available on a first come, first served basis. Generator use is permitted, and dogs may join their families on the grounds so long as they remain leashed.
There are several amenities at Red Rock Canyon Campground including vault toilets, drinking water, and trash receptacles. Each campsite is complete with a grill, picnic table, and fire pit for campfires.
Among the on-site activities are rock climbing, hiking, and bike riding.
The hiking is spectacular at Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. There are several long trenches located to the south of the monument which formed a part of the 1962 "Big Dig" excavation at which time many animal fossils were discovered.
Wander through the vast wetlands and along the trenches where you'll discover such interesting features as fossils, rocks, plants, animals, and unusual artifacts. Do take care not to disturb any of your findings as the area remains a rich fossil resource.
With such an incredible backdrop at Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, it would be hard to resist enjoying a picnic on the grounds. Pack a lunch and tote along some drinking water, and you've got a recipe for a party.
Find a spot at one of the picnic tables or throw a picnic blanket on the ground where you can spread out your feast to enjoy with your family and friends.
While you're at it, bring along your camera to capture a few snapshots of a relaxing afternoon in a picturesque spot.
There are several paths around the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument property where families can enjoy taking a bike ride. Though bikes are not permitted on the grounds themselves, there is ample room out front of the monument for a tour around the park.
Be sure to bring along lots of drinking water to keep thirst at bay. A snack or two would never go amiss, and sunscreen is highly recommended.
The surrounding area at Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is comprised of mountainous terrain and rock, making it the ideal spot to do some rock climbing. Be sure you have the correct gear with you for the sport or consider hiring a guide to accompany you on your adventure.
There are different options for climbs based on your skill level and whatever path you choose, you're certain to be rewarded with some stunning views.
Horseback riding is a popular activity at Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. There are several trails that permit this type of activity; however, families are advised to proceed with caution as the fossil beds can crumble under extreme weight.
Be sure you have adequate drinking water with you for you and your horse. Snacks are always a good idea as well.
Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is a photographer's dream location for a shoot. Grab your camera and head out in search of stunning desert sunsets, endangered plant species, and animal fossils in one of the most beautiful and tranquil settings in the state.
The area is also the ideal spot for taking some family photographs against a magnificent backdrop.