Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Travel Guide

  • Visitors Center
    Visitors Center
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  • Historic Bone Cabin
    Historic Bone Cabin
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  • Fossil Hill Trail
    Fossil Hill Trail
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Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Things to Do

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    Nebraska 29 crossing the Niobrara River

    by Toughluck Written Aug 10, 2007

    Right, saw the stream and walk part way down. That was the place to be on this hot day. It's also a place to visit either at the beginning or end of the day. Here you'll find more plants and animals than anywhere else. Water is life in the high plains.

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    • National/State Park

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    by Toughluck Written Aug 10, 2007

    There is a vast geologic history exposed here. It's not as old as the coal fields, the ore mines, the Grand Canyon, or the dinosaurs, in many ways it's more rare. It's the Cenozoic era. That's the early phases of the world we live in, not it's history, but the 'Age of Mammals'!

    The earliest documented bedrock at Agate dates to the Oligocene era, 34 million years ago, but most of Agate’s Oligocene deposits are well buried beneath later Miocene deposits. Oligocene-era beds are well exposed at Badlands National Park, 130 miles northeast of Agate.

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    • Desert
    • National/State Park

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    Prickly Poppy (Argemone polyanthemos

    by Toughluck Written Aug 10, 2007

    The park includes a range of natural areas. It has some good examples of high plains life. This includes Animals and Plants.

    Animals
    Numerous amphibians and reptiles, mostly near the river. The larger mammals will not be seen during the mid-day, but more likely (if at all) around dusk and dawn.

    Plants
    The most common plants in the park are the various grasses. But there are other flowering plants. These grow where the conditions are 'just' right. There may be a bunch in one area and none elsewhere. The park has identification cards (very large) that will help identify over 50 plants in the park.

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    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism

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Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Warnings and Dangers

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    by Toughluck Updated Aug 10, 2007

    Summers are hot, I mean real hot. 100-105 F(40c) is hot. Yes, it's a dry heat. That only works if you can find 'open shade'. Inside a car or a building will not work, unless it's air conditioned. The problem with Agate is that there are no trees, except where planted. You're out in the open and the sun can be merciless.

    Winter is just the opposite of summer. Cold days. -20 F (-29C) are known. There is nothing to block the wind and the snow can blow for miles. It'll drift in to deep piles around every obstruction. The roads run out in the open (mostly) that means that if you have problems, there is no place nearby to get out of the wind. It also reduces the amount of drifting on the roads.

    It's best not to travel if you don't know the conditions or are prepared to deal with the weather conditions.

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Agate Fossil Beds National Monument What to Pack

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    Niobrara River Valley

    by Toughluck Written Aug 10, 2007

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: You need a hat. Keep the sun off in the summer and the heat in, in the winter. Even the shade of a had is enough to cool you down a few degrees and make the heat bearable.

    Long sleeves is important. Exposure to the sun at this elevation can burn quicker than at sea level. Light weight in the summer. Heavier if it's winter.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Sunscreen.

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