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Hunting for Trilobites at U Dig Fossils

Written By: admin - Apr• 20•10

U Dig Fossils

Are you ready to go on a great dinosaur dig for kids or those that are just a kid at heart? Then digging for fossils in Millard County, Utah at U Dig Fossils may be just the adventure your family is looking for.

One of the Great Fossil Sites for Kids

Trilobite fossil

At U Dig Fossils you’re allowed to dig for dinosaurs or more exactly trilobite fossils to your hearts content. Good examples of these fossils can cost anywhere from five to many thousands of dollars each.

Unlike many places that you can go to too dig for dinosaurs, no mater how rare the specimens you find at U Dig Fossils are, they’re yours to keep.

Finding your trilobite fossils at U Dig Fossils is not very hard at all, which helps make it one of the best fossil sites for kids you could ever hope for.

There are literally millions of trilobite fossils encapsulated in the shale limestone deposits at U Dig Fossils.

If by chance you are having a problem finding some trilobites for yourself, the folks at U Dig Fossils will help show you where and how to look for them.

Dig For Dinosaurs at U Dig Fossils

Due to the fact that the fossils are so abundant and can fetch a nice return, you’ll be charged for entrance based on the amount of time you wish to stay at the quarry and dig weather it’s 2 hours, a half day (4 hours), or a full day (8 hours).

For the 2 hour digging adults are charged $28 and kids (age 7-16) are $16. For the half day adults are $42 and kids (age 7-16) are $28. Finally for the full day adults are $70 and kids (age 7-16) are $42.

Any one of these are a bargain, but if you only go with the 2 hour dig, time will seem to fly by, so plan accordingly.

So how do you dig for dinosaurs in the quarry at U Dig Fossils? Well every couple of days the folks there go down and remove new stone from the walls, this is to make sure there is always a fresh supply of trilobite fossils for new folks to find each day.

If you prefer the mine does allow you to remove your own rock from the wall of the quarry, but this is really not necessary since they do that hard and tedious work for you.

Once you find a nice piece of shale that you would like to look in, check the sides to see if you can see the layers.

So what is a nice piece, well you’re going to want one small enough to handle, but big enough to have a real possibility to find some good stuff in it.

Keep in mind you have to carry it out of there, and it can be a real walk if you’re carrying a large rock.

The limestone here was laid down over millions of years in layers and is quite easy to split with a rock hammer into nice flat sheets along these layers.

Once you see a split start to form in the side of the stone, just continue to hit down the seam until it splits in half. Then comes the really fun part, take a look inside to see what you found.

If you’re lucky enough to break it along a layer that has multiple trilobite fossils in it you have what is called a “plate”, this is a very good thing, because plates are worth more then single trilobites.

Digging for Trilobites at U Dig Fossils

Your trilobites may be either right side up, or upside down. You’re probably wondering how it is that a fossil can be upside down, well with trilobites they can.

If you have one that is right side up you will see the bumpy form of its body, with legs, eyes, etc. in this case all is well, and you’ve made a good find.

If on the other hand your trilobite is upside down, all you will see is an outline of its body. Not to fear, you can handle this.

What you need to do is to try and get the fossil to pop out of the limestone.

Trilobites that have been popped out of the stone

So how do you get a 500 million year old trilobite to just pop out of the limestone? You’ll do this by hitting the stone around your fossil to break it loose.

Do not hit your fossil directly, because all you’ll have is a bunch of pieces of a broken trilobite if you do.

Just take your time, and hit around it a few times, it will come out of the shale as a perfect little fossil with no other stone attached to it.

These freed trilobites are actually quite interesting and strangely beautiful, best of all they make wonderful jewelry.

Once you’ve got your trilobites home you may be wondering how you can make them look even better.

A great way to do that is to run them against a fine bristled wire wheel. Once you do this they will look great.

All you’re after in doing this is to remove some of the remaining shall that’s in the crakes and crevices of the trilobite fossil, so don’t get too aggressive with this.

Now that you have them clean, you may be wondering, how do I make my freed trilobites into jewelry?

To do this you will need a small diamond tipped drill bit, you can get these at most hardware stores, and some string or other material to make a necklace. Just drill a hole in the head area of the trilobite fossil.

Don’t push to hard while doing this or you may break your fossil, let the drill do its job and you’ll be fine. Then run your necklace material through the hole. If nothing else you’ll have a great conversation piece hanging on your neck.

So what do you need to bring to dig for fossils in Millard County, Utah? Well folks at U Dig Fossils will provide you with a hammer and buckets to collect your fossils with, other then that here is a list you may want to consider bringing for yourself:

-Hat (the sun can be a little harsh out here)
-Sunscreen (once again the sun can be a little harsh)
-Safety glasses (sharp pieces of stone in you eye will ruin the day)
-Rock hammer (if you prefer to use your own)
-5 Gallon Bucket
-Heavy-duty gloves (hard rock mining is very hard on the hands)
-Food and lots of Water (no food is available at the mine)
-Cushion (this is to sit or lean on, rather then just the hard rock which will wear on you after a bit)

Getting to U Dig Fossils

U Dig Fossils is open 21 March thru 31 October 9am to 6pm, be sure to get there before 4pm, because if no one is at the quarry at 4pm they close the gates.

If you’d like to go to one of the best fossil sites for kids or just dig for dinosaurs yourself at U Dig Fossils then you’ll want to fly into Salt Lake City, UT. Be sure to have a rental car waiting since its 130 miles from the quarry.

You’ll want to make your hotel reservations at one of the many places in Delta, UT although still 52 miles to U Dig Fossils, this is the closest area to the quarry with amenities.

Directions to U Dig Fossils
To get to U Dig Fossils from Delta go 32 miles west on Highway 6/50. Between mile markers 56-57, you’ll see the Long Ridge Reservoir sign, turn right. There is a U DIG Fossils sign at this intersection.

Follow this well-maintained gravel road 20 miles to reach the U DIG Fossils trilobite quarry. Most vehicles can make it down this road with little difficulty.

Contacting U Dig Fossils

For more information about the quarry, or to set up a large tour contact:
Call (435) 864-3638 or E-mail

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  1. My Kids would love to go to U Dig Fossils. We did go to the dinosaur park at Thanksgiving point and they loved the indoor dig site at the end of the tour there.
    Great idea for families with youngsters.

  2. jackie poorman says:

    This really sounds like something that my family would love to do but I am afraid it is just to out of the way for our trip to Yellowstone from Texas. I was wondering if you had any other quarries or know of any in Wyoming or South Dakota. If not then I guess our next family trip will me in the Arizona, Utah area!

  3. admin says:

    Hi Jackie, thanks for your comment.

    In SD the only think I have on record is a gold mining experience. But, I do have several fossil hunting places in Kemmerer, WY that I have not written about yet. One is Wyoming Fossils, but they are closed right now due to the winter, you can contact them here: to see when they open again. Another is Tynsky’s Fossil fish here: and another is Ulrich’s Fossil Gallery, which is here:

    You didn’t state when you would be going, just keep in mind that all of these quarries have a limited season due to the winter. If you do manage to make a trip to one of them please let me know, I would love to write in your first hand experience for one of these…

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