Fossil Basin, Wyoming, is an unbeatable destination for a variety of adventurers. Whether you’re looking to get your hiking boots dirty, tear up a dance floor or live out your childhood dreams of becoming a paleontologist, Fossil Basin is waiting!
1.The Outdoor Enthusiast
Located on the banks of the stunning Ham’s Fork River, near the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and home to Fossil Butte National Monument, Fossil Basin is a natural destination for fishermen, hikers and RV’ers alike. Here are a few ways to explore the quintessential Western scenery in Fossil Basin:
Fly Fishing: The two top locations for fly fishing in Fossil Basin are the beautiful Ham’s Fork River and the Green River. Cast your rod with finesse and you can expect to reel in a rainbow, brown or cutthroat trout. Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced fly fisherman. The Solitary Angler and Fly Fishing Western Wyoming offer guided fly trips with expert tips and local advice.
Bait and Ice-Fishing: If a day out on the boat or dropping a line through the ice is more your speed, visit Fontenelle or the Viva Naughton reservoirs. At Fontanelle, you may be surprised to reel in a Kokanee Salmon — it’s the only reservoir in southwest Wyoming with a salmon population! Viva Naughton Reservoir is known for its monster catches and annual Kemmerer Lions Club Ice Fishing Derby. Enjoy a relaxing day bait fishing the reservoirs or visit Viva Naughton in February and try for the biggest catch at the Ice Fishing Derby.
No matter the time of year you visit Fossil Basin, you’ll find the perfect fishing spot to (hopefully) reel in a big catch!
If you’re looking to explore deep into the great Wyoming wilderness, strap on your hiking boots and head to Fossil Butte National Monument or Bridger-Teton National forest.
There are two maintained trails in Fossil Butte National Monument. The Historic Quarry Trail leads you on a 2.5-mile loop up to the historic fossil quarry and near the gorgeous Green River and Wasatch formations. Fossil Butte National Monument’s Nature Trail leads you on a 1.5-mile loop through classic Wyoming sagebrush and aspen forests. If you’re looking for more options, the Bridger-Teton National Forest area offers several hikes ranging in difficulty from short day hikes to advanced backpacking trails.
With over 19 trailheads between Fossil Butte National Monument and Bridger-Teton National Forest, your perfect adventure awaits — whether a quick jaunt, a day hike, or a backpacking adventure!
You don’t have to be a hiker to explore Fossil Basin’s views! Luckily, the abundant prairies and mountain views are easily visible on a scenic drive.
If you’d like to explore the area from your RV or car, take the Big Spring Scenic Backway from Fossil Basin’s Kemmerer to Cokeville and enjoy 68 miles of mountains, valleys, and wildlife views from your window.
2. The Fun Fanatic
Fossil Basin may be small in population, but it is definitely not short on excitement. Every July, Kemmerer hosts Wyoming’s largest free music festival!
Oyster Ridge Music Festival attracts bands from across the country to take the stage and fill the streets with banjo and country twang. National acts such as Trampled by Turtles, Mountain Heart, The Steeldrivers, Young Dubliners and The Ballroom Thieves have played for the swing-dancing crowd.
Oyster Ridge Music Festival amps up Fossil Basin’s small-town charm with invigorating festival vibes. Plan your visit to Fossil Basin in July and cut some rug with the locals to the tunes of this country’s best folk musicians.
3. The Knowledge-Seeker
Fossil Basin earned its name from the millions of fossils unearthed in the region. Forming from a prehistoric lake, Fossil Basin’s land continues to offer up fossilized alligators, birds, plants and fish! For a particularly unique experience, visit privately-owned fossil quarries and try your hand as a paleontologist… Sometimes you even get to keep your finds as a unique souvenir!
After visiting the private quarries outside of Fossil Butte National Monument, you can check out the Historic Quarry Trail within the National Monument. The trail leads you on a scenic hike up to one of the basin’s older quarry sites. After hiking to the quarry, check out the Fossil Butte National Monument visitors center for displays of the most unique fossil-finds from the region.
Couple the hands-on fossil experiences with expert information about Fossil Basin’s prehistoric past, and you’ll leave invigorated with your new knowledge. And hopefully a fossilized creature from the private dig-sites!
See you soon!
Fossil Basin is the Wyoming destination for adventurers. So pack up your bags and head to the quaint town on the Ham’s Fork River — get outside, dance the night away at the Oyster Ridge Music Festival, learn about the landscape as it was 6 million years ago… or do it all! Perhaps this is the first time you’ve heard of Fossil Basin, but visit once and you will never forget it!