Ashfall Fossil Beds

Ashfall Fossil Beds

NOTE: Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Park permit required and there is an admission fee. The park is closed in the winter months.

One place to see some wildlife and natural resources from Nebraska's history is Ashfall Fossil Beds in Royal, Nebraska. Ashfall Fossil Beds are part of the University of Nebraska State Museum and not associated with the Upper Elkhorn NRD.

Twelve million years ago a supervolcanic eruption in southwest Idaho blanketed northern Nebraska with glassy volcanic ash. This catastrophic event resulted in the death of much of the wildlife. Today the remains of barrel-bodied rhinos, three-toed horses and llama-like camels are still buried in volcanic ash at the Ashfall Fossil Beds. Dozens of perfectly preserved fossil skeletons have been revealed and are on display.

When visiting the site, check out the interpretive displays and the fossil preparation laboratory where you can ask the paleontologists about their work. From the Visitor Center, it is a short stroll to the Hubbard Rhino Barn, where new discoveries continue to be unearthed. Ashfall is situated on 360 acres of rugged rangeland in the scenic Verdigre Creek valley. Nature trails were developed to help interpret the geology as well as the flora and fauna of the area. Picnicking is permitted on the park, and campers can use nearby Grove Lake Wildlife Management Area near Royal.

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