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Desert landscape at Ice Age Fossils State Park

Desert landscape at Ice Age Fossils State Park. Photo: Park Facebook Page.

If you are fascinated by paleontology and geology you will definitely want to visit Ice Age Fossils State Park.

Tucked away in the northern part of Nevada, this unique destination is home to an impressive collection of fossils that date back to the Ice Age, including the remains of mammoths, camels, bison, and other prehistoric animals.

Visitors to the park can take a self-guided tour along the interpretive trail, which features informative signs and displays that provide insight into the history of the area and the animals that once roamed the land.

There is also an excellent visitor center that presents captivating exhibits and artifacts, while birding and picnicking are also popular activities too.

Situated just a 25 minute drive from Las Vegas, the park is a pleasant day trip destination for those who want to leave the bright lights of the city behind for a while.

There is no camping available onsite, but if you need somewhere to stay in your RV or trailer, there are several campgrounds in the nearby area in which you can stay.

Activities

When visiting Ice Age Fossils State Park guests can immerse themselves in all it has to offer in several different ways.

Presented below is a brief summary of some of the main sites and attractions you can enjoy during your time there.

Visitor Center at Ice Age Fossils State Park

The visitor center at Ice Age Fossils State Park in Nevada is a great place to start your visit to the park.

Overall, it features several informative exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays that provide visitors with a better understanding of the park’s geology, paleontology, and natural history.

One of the main highlights is a life-size replica of a Columbian mammoth, which provides a great photo opportunity for visitors. The center also features displays on the history of the area, including the stories of the people who first discovered the fossils and settled the land.

In addition to the exhibits, the visitor center offers a bookstore with educational materials, souvenirs, and other items for purchase. Park rangers and staff are also available to answer questions and provide assistance to visitors.

Fossils at Ice Age Fossils State Park

The park is home to an impressive collection of fossils that date back to the Pleistocene epoch – also known as the Ice Age. The park’s fossils were first discovered in the 1930s by local rancher Pete Kitchen, who stumbled upon the remains of a mammoth while drilling a well.

Since then, numerous fossils have been excavated from the park’s sedimentary deposits, including the remains of mammoths, horses, camels, and bison. The fossils provide valuable insights into the prehistoric wildlife that once roamed the region and give visitors a glimpse into the area’s geologic history.

Visitors to the park can see fossils on display at the park’s visitor center and take a self-guided tour along the interpretive trail, which features informative signs and displays that provide insight into the history of the fossils and the geology of the area.

Fossil collecting is not allowed at the park, but visitors can appreciate the fossils in their natural setting and learn more about the fascinating history of Ice Age Nevada.

Hiking at Ice Age Fossils State Park

As previously mentioned, the interpretive trail is a self-guided, half-mile loop trail that takes visitors past several fossil sites and provides information about the park’s geology and history.

The trail is mostly flat and easy to navigate, making it ideal for families with young children or visitors with limited mobility.

If you fancy going on a trail that offers a bit more of a challenge, the Kitchen Creek Trail is a two-mile trail that climbs steadily uphill through scenic canyons and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

The trailhead is located near the park’s campground, and hikers are advised to bring plenty of water and wear sturdy footwear.

Here is a short YouTube video showing what the hiking trails look like at Ice Age Fossils State Park:

Pets

Pets are welcome at Ice Age Fossils State Park in Nevada, but visitors are reminded that they must be leashed at all times and under their owner’s control. This policy helps protect the park’s wildlife and prevent pets from becoming lost or injured.

Owners are also responsible for cleaning up any mess their pets might make and also disposing of it properly. Waste bags are available at the park’s visitor center and other designated areas.

While pets are allowed on the park’s trails, it’s important to note that some trails may not be suitable for all pets. Owners are advised to consider their pet’s age, health, and physical abilities before taking them on a hike.

Visitors should also be aware that pets are not allowed in certain areas of the park, including the picnic area, the visitor center, and the fossil excavation sites.

Camping

Unfortunately there are no camping facilities available at Ice Age Fossils State Park.

However, if you are not staying in a hotel in Las Vegas and you need somewhere to stay in your RV or trailer, then there are a few campgrounds dotted around the local area.

One very good one is Scott State Park, which is just a short drive from Ice Age Fossils State Park. This park features both primitive and modern campsites, as well as numerous amenities such as hiking trails, fishing ponds, and even a swimming beach.

Another terrific option is Cedar Bluff State Park, which is about 30 minutes from the park. Again it offers both primitive and modern campsites, as well as a range of recreational activities for guests to enjoy such as hiking, fishing, and boating.

Park Location

Ice Age Fossils State Park
8660 N Decatur Blvd
North Las Vegas, NV 89085
Phone: 702.533.7819

Park Website

Map