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National Parks National Parks

Colorado National Parks
Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site



Would you and your family like to discover the Odrovician Period, 450 million years ago? Then, Indian Springs Trace Fossil National Natural Landmark is the right place for you! ThisĀ National Natural Landmark is on PRIVATE PROPERTY. You have to make an appointment to see the Fossils at Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site to explore with a guide - callĀ 719-372-3907.

Tour guide pointing to fossils at Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site near Canon City, Colorado.
Fossil Meet Tour Guide Carly
Close up of a sandstone fossil track from the Odrovician Period found at the Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site near Canon City, Colorado.
Discover Fossils over 450 Million Years Old

In south-central Colorado, East of Cañon City along the Goldbelt Tour Scenic Byway, on the grounds of Indians Springs Ranch/Campground lies what is considered North America's best site for trace fossils. There are at least 25 different types of fossils found here. Including horseshoe crab, brachiopods, trilobites and jawless armor-plated fish that roamed the inland seas that were once here. You will see, in amazing detail, their every footprint, resting spot, and flick of a fin in the sand. The Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site changed history when it was discovered in the 1960s by owner Bennie Thorson, and today it's not only a hot spot for geology groups from around the country, but for tourist and families alike. Mr. Thorson's daughter, Carly Thorson, still conducts tours of the fossil site and will gladly decipher and explain the creatures who's incredibly well preserved fossil footprints were captured in one moment of time millions of years ago.

Fossil from the Odrovician Period much like other fossils found at the Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site near Canon City, Colorado.
Trace Fossil from the Odrovician Period
Sketch of Euypterids fossil tracks like those found in Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site, Colorado.
Sketch of Euypterids Fossil Tracks

The National Park Service designated it a National Natural Landmark in 1979 due to the importance of the Ordovician Period trace fossils found here. There are tracks left by animals walking, swimming and burrowing in what had been a tidal lagoon's mudflat.

Ownership: Private
Designation Date: 1979


Stone stair path leading up to Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site in the Royal Gorge area of Colorado.

PLEASE NOTE: You have to make an appointment to see the Fossils - Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site is private property.

PHONE: 719-372-3907

From Colorado Springs: From the Junction of I-25 and Colorado Highway 115 follow CO 115 south for about 32 miles. Turn right on 3rd Street in Penrose. Continue on Fremont County Road 123. Turn right on Phantom Canyon Road (also known as CR 67); from CR 123/67 intersection turn right and travel 1-1/2 miles further to the road sign "Indian Springs Ranch" turn left to enter our property. The office is 1-1/4 miles from the entrance.

From Cañon City: Follow Royal Gorge Boulevard (also known as US-50) east out of town to the intersection of CR 67/US 50; make a left onto CR 67; drive 3.25 miles to the road sign "Indian Springs Ranch" turn left to enter our property. The office is 1-1/4 miles from the entrance.

Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do

Indian Springs Ranch, LLP and Campground Web page link icon Photos on page icon
Unique, family friendly and Geological destination Campground. A NATIONAL NATURAL LANDMARK FOR FOSSILS - Tours by Appointment! Working Cattle Ranch 10 miles to Cañon City. We LOVE Groups!

More Activities & Information

Royal Gorge Area, Colorado includes: Cañon City, Coaldale, Cotopaxi, Florence, Guffey, Penrose, Texas Creek

National Historic Sites and Landmarks in Colorado

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