Quarry Stories: American Fossil Quarry

When digging in one of the quarries near Kemmerer, WY, don’t let yourself feel like a “fish out of water” when you start finding, well, fish out of water. The area is home to not only centuries of fascinating community history, but millions of years of incredible biological and geological history. Here in Lincoln County, some of the most clearly seen fish, plants, and marine life fossils can be found by anyone, including yourself. Even better, at the American Fossil Quarry outside of Kemmerer, you can not only find real fossils but keep each one you uncover.

The American Fossil Quarry is six years old but helps visitors uncover fossils that are upwards of 50 million years old. They’re a well-established quarry on the Green River formation, where they help tourists uncover, chisel out, and search for fossils. What makes their quarry special is that they are the only fossil quarry in the world where you can keep every fossil you find. Additionally, the American Fossil Quarry is one of only two places in the world where a fossilized three-toed horse has been discovered. At the quarry, you can find stingrays, shrimp, various species of fish, turtles, crocodiles, birds, ancient camels and rhinos, and more. 

“Every time I crack open a rock, it’s like Christmas. I hardly ever know what I’m going to get, but I know it’s going to be amazing,” one visitor said as she split open a large plate of stone, revealing a small school of fossilized fish.

For many of the visitors at American Fossil Quarry, finding fossils comes easily, they’re all over. One could say it’s harder NOT to find a fossil here, practically every chisel into a rock is guaranteed to reveal something. As a result, visitors leave with a box full of fossils and a head full of good memories.

“We have people visit from all over the world to dig up fossils with us,” Gibb, one of the on-site managers shared. “Getting to see the impact this experience has on them is really meaningful, it makes it a great time for everyone.”



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Fossil Basin