To the north of Las Vegas, Nevada, is Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. This monument features rocks with fossils from extinct mammoths, lions, camels, and horses that once roamed what were wetlands in this area. The fossil beds represent a period between 200 to 3 thousand years ago, during which time there was an abundance of mammoth skeletons, so it has been referred to as “mammoth central” by researchers who study paleontology, geology and prehistoric climate change.
Located a short drive from Las Vegas, Tule Springs Fossil Bed National Monument is the first national park dedicated to paleontology. It features patchy patches of rare bear poppy flowers as well as fossils that date back over 500 thousand years ago! This monument provides visitors with opportunities for educational and scientific discovery that are perfect for people of all ages.
It was established on December 19, 2014, to protect the fossils and recreational resources of this land. It’s a unique national landmark that can be enjoyed by future generations as well. The Tule Springs Fossil Beds are 36 square miles located just north of Las Vegas in southern Nevada, with an elevation between 2,000-2,600 feet above sea level.
The Tule Springs Monument spans 22,650 acres along US Highway 95 in North Las Vegas. It is situated just north of the city and stretches from Aliante to Creech Air Force Base. The monument holds a wealth of paleontological resources that date back to 200,000-3,000 years ago during the ice age when prehistoric animals like mammoths roamed across Nevada landscapes alongside extinct horses, camels, and bison, as well as dire wolves, which are now extinct dogs native only to North America’s southwest region including Mexico.
It is key to note that the Tule Springs National Monument is still new. There are no visitor centers, facilities, or parking areas at this time; however, the national monument’s website does provide information on how people can access it via public roads in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. Federal regulations prohibit off-roading within park boundaries because only approved vehicles may access them when they have valid licenses for street use.
Visiting Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is free. When you visit the national monument, make sure to bring some water and sunscreen because it can get pretty hot out in Las Vegas. You may also want to explore on your own or take a guided tour around one of the many trails that are available for visitors.