The following is a list of fossil localities in Arizona, and quite a few I have transcribed from my own notebook. Many I have personally collected, while others were either given to me, found through research or are anecdotal in nature. The bottom line is that this is what discovering the clues to what life was like in the geological past....discovering fossils. Some of the locality information is quite detailed, while other sites are referenced to get you into the right area to start your own exploration. Some of the fossil sites have issues of land ownership, legal protection or other concerns that some in the scientific community might not want made known to a large audience. I leave this in your hands to "do the right thing." If you do your own homework before you head out to any fossil collecting area, if you don't simply go souvenir hunting, if you are or become a scientist wishing to learn, take the moral high ground by not devastating a site by vacuuming it clean of all specimens, obeying the laws, making rare specimens available for study by scholars, and sharing in the knowledge that you've acquired, it's a better-than-even chance that the science of paleontology will be all the better for your efforts. If you find any errors in my listings I'm sure you will let me know, and I will gladly make corrections. The value of this Internet format is that it will be a growing and changing tool for you to use. New localities will be added continually, so keep tuned. If you would like to share an Arizona fossil collecting locality with others, you contributions are welcomed. Many have done so already. Email site information or comments to me at
Nice old Arizona map from the 1880s
First, A Universal Ethics Code For Fossil Hunters

The Paleontological Society

Portal to all things fossils

The Paleontology Portal, developed by the Paleontological Society is a new website designed as a resource for anyone who is interested in paleontology, from the professional in the lab to amateurs who enjoy hunting for fossils. It should appeal particularly to students at all levels. The object of the portal is to serve as a single point of entry for many different sources of paleontological information that exist on the Internet. Images and links that are available through this site have been reviewed and selected for quality by one or more members of the Editorial Board. The Paleontological Society is a sponsor and participant in the production of this site, together with the University of California's Museum of Paleontology, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and the United States Geological Survey. Below is this society's code of ethics, which is a good set of standards which fossil collectors should go by, whether they belong to this organization, any other, or none at all.

"Wind blown and dust covered, searching for the threads in the fabric of time." When you're in the field, and in sight of that X on your map, you can almost smell the fossils. Almost better than s...well, some of you know the feeling. .
The Constitution of The Paleontological Society (Article I) states
"The sole purpose of the Society shall be, and all of its assets and earnings shall be exclusively devoted to, the advance of the science of Paleontology.

"In order to pursue this goal, the Society recognizes that:

1. The principal importance of fossils is for scientific, scholarly, and educational use of both professionals and amateurs.

2. The numbers of specimens of fossils vary widely but certain fossils in all taxonomic groups are rare and that conserving and making available for study significant fossils and their contextual data is critical.

3. To leave fossils uncollected assures their degradation and ultimate loss to the scientific and educational world through natural processes of weathering and erosion.

The Society therefore adopts the following practices associated with the collection and curation of fossils:

1. Prior notification will be made and permission or appropriate permits will be secured from landowners or managers of private or public lands where fossils are to be collected.

2. All collections will be in compliance with federal, tribal in the case of Native American lands, state, and municipal laws and regulations applied to fossil collecting.

3. The collector(s) will make every effort to have fossil specimens of unique, rare, or exceptional value to the scientific community deposited in or sold to an appropriate institution that will provide for the care, curation, and study of the fossil material.

Courtesy of the Paleontological Society

If you are serious about finding fossils and getting them home in good shape, you need a few quality field tools. Some required tools can be found at the local hardware store, others are a bit harder to round up. One truly exceptional business that offers about any tool you can think of for fossil collecting is Geological Tools and Outfitters.
They've been collecting fossils for more than 70 years and for three generations, and from that experience they've generated a collection of fossil and mineral collecting tools, supplies, equipment, that is unequaled. "During the years we have consistently been challenged with the task of finding the right fossil collecting tools for the right fossil collecting job in the right place. Almost all of our associates have expressed the same frustration. We have even resorted to making our own quality tools when we can't find what we need. Geological Tools and Outfitter, LLC 71 N. 200 W. Brigham City, UT 84302. Call them at 1-435-225-8665 (TOOL) or email1-435-225-8665 (TOOL). Visit their fabulous website where there are hundreds of tools and I've compared the prices and even with shipping you're going to save a lot of money.
You can tell you're in Cambrian strata when you see a a lot of trilobites and virtually no other critters, except hyolithids, inarticulate brachiopods (such as Lingulepis, etc.), and a few primitive articulate brachiopods. Corals, bryozoans, and stromatoporoids that are common in younger Paleozoic strata are not found in Cambrian rocks. Cephalopods, gastropods, and articulate brachiopods are rarely seen or are completely absent.

Examples of Middle and Upper Cambrian trilobites include Agraulos, Olenoides, Maladia, Elvinia, and Tricrepicephalus. Examples of Upper Cambrian brachiopods include Micromitra, Dicellomus, Billingsella, Lingulepis, and Stenotheca.

Cambrian Age Abrigo Limestone
One-and-one-half miles ENE of Morenci, on the west side of Chase Creek Canyon, Cambrian fossils such as Linguella (brachiopod) are found.
Mohave County 

Peach Springs Lake Havasu City-Kingman metro area.

The Peach Springs basin, located in northwestern Arizona, has the only road to the bottom of Grand Canyon . The basin is bounded on the west by the Grand Wash Cliffs and Music Mountains, on the north by the Colorado River, and on the east by the Aubrey Cliffs. The western part of the basin is made up of the Hualapai Plateau, composed of flat-lying interbedded limestones, shale, and sandstones. Cut into the limestone just outside of the Town of Peach Springs are the Grand Canyon Caverns. In this cave, typical Late Pleistocene vertebrate become trapped. The remains of a Giant Ground Sloth (Glossotherium harlani) was found and a model has been created to showoff this sloth as it appeared in life in Arizona. "Gertie" (the model) is 15 feet tall; it is estimated that the living sloth would have weighed approximately 2,000 pounds. Gertie and her fellow Pleistocene big game fauna became extinct 11,000 and 20,000 years ago. In the limestone surrounding the cave, and in Cambrian rocks along Diamond Creek, invertebrates can be found, especially the enigma Hyolithes.
Hyolithese is an oval or cone-shaped shell that are very common in these rocks. Sometimes hyolithes exhibit considerable detail on very well-preserved specimens, what looks like a "lid" and two supporting "guide wires." Like many Cambrian fossils, some paleontologists classify Hyolithese as representatives of an extinct Molluscan class, others consider them as members of an extinct phylum. Hyolithes often occur in clusters on bedding planes of Cambrian shale or as groups of shells in limestone or dolomite.

Also found in platy shale on Diamond creek are the furrows produced by trilobites or some other trilobite-like arthropod cruzing along the sea bottom. Cruziana sp. Cruziana is a bilobed trail with "herringbone" (chevron-like) ridges defining a medial groove; the bilobed character is also a result of two parallel furrows that were formed in the fine-grained sediment and preserved as casts on the base of an overlying bed. Ridges within the trail are scratch marks.


Black Mesa , north of Chino Valley, section 9, Township 18 North, Range 2 West, Paulden Quadrangle, Yavapai County. Black Mesa here is capped by dolomite beds; large bedding surfaces on the mesa top has good fossils. Abundant corals, Trilobites, crinoids. 

FOSSIL CREEK: On south side of dam at Fossil Springs, Turret Peak Quadrangle, has fossils of many forms, with bryozoans abundant.


Above the bottom of Tombstone Gulch in the Abrigo Limestone, Middle Cambrian fossils are common, e.g., Obolus tetonensis, Billingsella sp.

 Tombstone: In the eastern Tombstone Hills, Cochise County, Arizona; in middle of roadcut on west side of U. S. Highway 80, 2.1 km. south of intersection with Cowan Road; 670 m. west and 240 m. south of the northeast corner of Section 31, Township 20 South, Range 23 East, Tombstone 7 1/2 Minute Quadrangle, 1978 edition. specimens of the pectinid mollusk Aviculopecten were collected from a locality south of the town of Tombstone. Pectinids, commonly referred to as scallops, The fossil locality is in the Tombstone Hills in limestones of the Colina Formation No other fossils were collected with the Aviculopecten but in the the Colina Limestone is moderately fossiliferous; and the fauna is characterized by a large variety of gastropods including Omphalotrochus, Straparollus, Orthonema, Naticopsis, Euphemites, Meekospira, and Anomphalus. Other less common elements of the fauna include brachiopods, scaphopods and echinoid spines.

4.5 miles WSW of Bisbee on the southwest side of Escabrosa Ridge, Middle Cambrian brachiopods Linguella desiderta, Schizambon manitouensis, etc. Area outcrops of Pennsylvanian rocks, abundant fossils, especially protozoa, echinoid spines, corals, brachiopods, and bryozoa.


Abundant exposures throughout the canyon contain well-preserved fossils . NOTE: Permission must be obtained from the National Park Service offices before collecting can be done within the confines of the Park. Don't be caught with a pickax or shovel alongside the canyon's many trails. DO NOT chisel out specimens exposed along these trails as they are there for all visitors to enjoy. Take lots of photographs.

Permian fish remains from the Kaibab Formation have been collected within the campground area and in float gravels on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. The type specimen for Megactenopetalus kaibabanus was found in the Kaibab Formation on the north rim near Point Sublime.


In Arizona, both Lower and Upper Ordovician strata are present in the extreme southeastern portion of the state (but not in the Tucson area). The Lower Ordovician is difficult to recognize paleontologically and is best done by the absence of certain groups - stromatoporoids, corals, and bryozoans. Gastropods, such as Raphistoma and Ophileta, nautiloid cephalopods such as Orthocena, and a few trilobites and articulate brachiopods occur in the Lower Ordovician, but they cannot easily be distinguished from those in the Upper Ordovician.

SILURIANSilurian rocks have not been recognized in Arizona, but they do occur in neighboring New Mexico. It doesn't mean that there are no fossil-bearing Silurian rocks, just maybe they haven't been found or recognized as of yet.

DEVONIAN When you find the brachiopod Atrypa, you're looking in Upper Devonian strata. This time period is based on these brachiopod genus. Important associated taxa are the tabulate corals, Favosites and Coenites, the colonial rugose corals, Hexagonaria and Pachyphyllum, hemisperical and branching stromatoporoids, and a few other forms. Spiriferid, productid, and rhynchonellid brachiopods first appear in force in the Devonian, but all continue into the Upper Paleozoic. Vertebrate remains, represented by fish teeth, bones, and plates, are locally abundant, but similar remains also occur in younger Paleozoic formations.
Upper Upper Devonian strata are characterized by the absence of the lower Devonian corals and brachiopods and the presence of the sponge, Ensiferites, and the large rhynchonellid Paurorhyncha, and the large spiriferids, Syringospira and Cyrtospirifer.
Bothriolepis and Holoptychius plate fragments from the Devonian Temple Butte Formation were found in Chuar Creek Valley and in Sapphire Canyon and along the Yak Trail, all in the Grand Canyon.
U.S. alternate 89. Many of the roadcuts on both sides of the mountain contain good fossils. Fish plates are found in both a red shaley limestone and a massive grey limestone. The quarried roadcut and the talus slope below the road grade are the major collecting areas. Cross-sections of the arthrodire plates that measure 1 1/2 inches thick and 15 inches long are abundant.

 North of Tucson, take Picture Rocks Road exit on I-10 west to Sandario Road, turn south 1.4 miles to Twin Peaks Road, then take the Twin Peaks Road to the locality; Arizona Portland Cement Company is presently mining on the eastern hill. One of the hills is completely mined out, to ground level. That was a lot of limestone! 

Colossal Cave area, Tucson: Mississippian Escrabrosa limestone. In this section of the Tucson Basin are exposures of the Escrabrosa Limestone. It's a deposit of massive limestone and it takes a bit of searching to find good fossils, but in certain beds, they exist. Once fossil hunter recently discovered an exciting new trilobite, but most of the fauna is of various brachiopods, crinoids, coral and bryozoa. From east 22nd Street, turn south onto scenic Old Spanish Trail and follow it about 17 miles to Colossal Cave Mountain Park. Or, take I-10 east from Tucson to exit 279 (the Vail/Wentworth exit), turn north, and follow the signs for about 7 miles. Area outcrops outside of the park can be investigated.


Peppersauce Canyon is located on the northeast side of the Santa Catalina Mountains, and crosses the Oracle-Mt. Lemon Road about nine miles south of Oracle. The zone containing fish remains is located within the upper part of the Martin Formation. Cladodus teeth are locally abundant within red to brown sandy lenses located approximately sixty feet below the top of the Martin Formation. Here, tilted Paleozoic rocks rest upon the Precambrian Apache Group. Cambrian, Devonian, Mississippian and Pennsylvanian rocks are all well exposed on both sides of the canyon and contain good fossils. Peppersaucs Canyon is in the Coronado National Forest is 8.4 miles southeast on Mt. Lemmon Road/Forest Road 38.


Mt. Elden fossil locality is located approximately one mile northeast of Flagstaff. Fossiliferous Devonian strata is approximately midway up the east side of the mountain. The fish fossils are most prolific in a grey thin-bedded limestone about 30 feet above the talus covered base. Arthrodire plates and fish teeth of various genera are abundant at this locality, as well as numerous invertebrates.

Paleozoic shark teeth

Devonian rocks at Superior, outcrop on the first ridge east of the city. The fossil locality consists of a basal bone breccia in a light, coarse-grained sandstone located above the base of the Martin Formation. Armor plates of scattered teeth comprise approximately twenty percent of the lithologic material of the breccia. The plates average four millimeters in thickness, lie horizontally and represent two distinct kinds of these primitive fish. Fossil fish teeth were also found in the marine limestone between this fossil bed. Conodonts are also common.


Devonian arthrodire fish plates and invertebrates have been found in the road quarry south of U.S. Route 89 approximately 19 miles south of Ash Fork.


The Martin Formation crops out on the south side of Pinal Creek, three miles northwest of Globe, contains many Devonian invertebrates and fish teeth.

The Devonian rocks at Mingus Mountain are best exposed in a large quarried roadcut 9.6 miles west of Jerome along U.S. alternate 89. Many of the roadcuts on both sides of the mountain contain good fossils. Fish plates are found in both a red shaley limestone and a massive grey limestone. The quarried roadcut and the talus slope below the road grade are the major collecting areas. Cross-sections of the arthrodire plates that measure 1~1/2 inches thick and 15 inches long are abundant.
Bony plates of Bothriolepis are found in Arizona's Devonian Rocks

Located in a roadcut one mile north of the East Verde bridge on Arizona Route 87 between Payson and Pine, arthrodire plates are common in the sandstones, dolomites and interbedded shales. Devonian age invertebrates are common.


The Picacho de Calera Hills located northeast of Tucson between Tucson and Silverbell Mountains. The locality in this area is a pair of closely spaced, isolated hills composed of eastward dipping strata. The western hill and the saddle between the two hills is composed of Abrigo Limestone. The easternmost hill is composed of Devonian, Mississippian and Pennsylvanian rocks. The western slope of the easternmost hill is basal Devonian strata called the Picacho de Calera Formation. The best fossiliferous strata here is a brown calcareous sandstone which contains well-preserved fish teeth, trilobites and other invertebrates.This locality is reached by traveling Highway 10 (towards Phoenix) and exiting on the Avra Valley exit. 


Rimmy Jim Tank is located some 35 miles east of Flagstaff in NW'/4, Section 17, Township 17 North, Range 9 South, Gila and Salt River Baseline and Meridian. Fish fauna is associated with a good invertebrate assemblage in the Kaibab Formation. Ganoid teeth were collected by disintegrating the limestone in a ten percent solution of monochiorocetic acid.

Lake Mary is located five miles southeast of Flagstaff. Ganoid fish teeth and spines are found in the Permian Kaibab Limestone on the northwest side of the lake. Marine invertebrates are also found.

Isolated boulders of Kaibab Limestone on the pediment slopes in the Sedona area have provided some of the most spectacular specimens of Arizona fish. The Kaibab Limestone boulders are porous, weathered and reddish. The locality is reached by turning south from Sedona on Arizona Route 179 for 1.4 miles, then turning to the east through the Broken Arrow subdivision for another half mile. The vertebrate material is very scattered and rare. Bone scraps and scales occur with prolific invertebrates.


Helmet Peak, located south of San Xavier Mission off the Twin Buttes road, ganoid fish teeth and invertebrates in the Permian Rocks.


Located in a roadcut one mile north of the East Verde bridge on Arizona Route 87 between Payson and Pine, arthrodire plates are common in the sandstones, dolomites and interbedded shales. Devonian age invertebrates are common.

The floor of Tonto Creek, at Kohls Ranch 19 miles northeast of Payson on the Heber-Young Road, contains arthrodire plates and good invertebrates. Roadcuts and hill slopes in this and the East Verde area contain many fossils.


Devonian rocks at Superior outcrop on the first ridge east of the city. The fossil locality consists of a basal bone breccia in a light, coarse-grained sandstone located above the base of the Martin Formation. Armor plates of scattered teeth comprise approximately twenty percent of the lithologic material of the breccia. The plates average four millimeters in thickness, lie horizontally and represent two distinct kinds of these primitive fish. Fossil fish teeth were also found in the marine limestone between this fossil bed. Conodonts are also common.


Five-tenths of a mile south of Bottomless Pits, in railroad cuts, mollusks common. Many localities within this area contain good fossils, especially north of Walnut Canyon on the west side of the valley.

At north end of Lake Mary, large pelecyopods plagioglypt, Nuculopsis, etc, as well as brachiopods, corals and bryozoa can be found.


The Martin Formation crops out on the south side of Pinal Creek, three miles northwest of Globe, contains many Devonian invertebrates and fish teeth.

Seventeen miles north of above locality, abundant Paleozoic fossils can be found. Four-tenths of a mile north of this locality roadcuts occur in Devonian Martin Formation and Mississippian Escabrosa Limestone (high cliffs).


6.3 miles north of Hieroglyphic point overlook on Highway 77, basal, dark, siliceous shaley Devonian beds contain important fossil plants. For about one mile north on this road, roadcuts can be highly fossiliferous.

(Mississippian, Pennsylvanian & Permian)
Mississippian Age Escrabrosa Limestone
Productid brachiopods dictyoclostids, linoproductids, and echinoconchids - are by far the most diagnostic indicators for the Permo-Carboniferous. These productids should be associated with a rich and varied fauna of spiriferid brachiopods fenestellid bryozoans, and, in the younger strata, fusulinids. Common, but less diagnostic, associates are the productellid, rhynchonellid, rostrospiriferid, leiorhynchid, strophomenid, punctospiriferid, and terebratulid brachiopods. Trilobites, goniatite and nautiloid cephalopods, and pectinoid pelecypods may be found but are usually rare. Particularly noteworthy is the complete absence of the stromatoporoids.


Mississippian rocks can be rather difficult to delineate paleontologically because so much of the fauna is rather bland spiriferid and productid brachiopods which can easily be interpreted as Permo-Pennsylvanian. The absence of the morphologically distinct fusulinids and the brachiopods Neospirifer, Juresania, and Derbyia, which are all characteristic of the Pennsylvanian and Permian, suggests rocks of Mississippian age. The Mississippian bears an abundant spiriferid fauna which generally lacks rib bundling. Along with these will be a fair complement of dictyoclostid, echinoconchid, and linoproductid brachiopods that are typically smaller than many of their Permo-Pennsylvanian descendants.

Corals, both solitary and colonial, are a common element of most Mississippian rocks where carbonate is the major lithology. In Arizona, the easily recognized Lithostrotionella is found only in the Mississippian. Syringoporid corals are also common in Mississippian strata, but they also occur in the Pennsylvanian and Permian. The distinctive bryozoan Archimedes has only been reported from the Upper Mississippian Paradise Formation.


Peach Springs wash, Hualapai Reservation, Section 8, Township 26 North, Range 10 West, common fossils are corals, Syringopora, bryozoa, fenestellids, brachiopods, and cephalopods, Tniboloceras and others. blastoids, Pentremites, are also found.

The Blastoid Pentremites
West of Strawberry and Pine. Seen in the photo at right is a view across Fossil Creek. On the canyon wall is a caprock of Permian Kaibab Formation and Coconion Sandstone, descending in time to Permian Supai, the Permian Naco, Mississippian Redwall, Devonian Martain Formation and Cambrian Tepeats Sandstone near the botttom.I'm not one to scare easily on mountain roads, but the road from Straberry the bottom of Fossil Creek is a 1 3/4mile on a 1/2 lane twising road from the pavement of Hwy 87. Granted, it was raining that day, I was the passinger and the road was washing into the canyon below from under the wheels of the truck. But the fossils there were really worth the effort, as usually is the case. There are some great plants and Paleozoic invertebrates.
Redwall Limestone (Lower Mississippian) is exposed in Narrow Gauge, at Bodkin, one mile northwest of Russel, Section 12, Township 16 North, Range 1 East, Clarkdale Quadrangle, Yavapai County. Along old narrow gauge railroad beds where the hillside was blasted through, extensive marine fossils.


Whitehorse Hills (Marble Mountains) near Center, Section 12, Township 23 North, Range 6 East, Flagstaff Quadrangle, Coconino County. Fossil exposures along flanks of Volcano laccolith in a fault-block hogback ridge, horn corals, colonial corals, brachiopods and crinoids are common. I think this is the Redwall Limestone. The Lower Mississippian Redwall Limestone was deposited in shallow seas probably comparable to the Bahama region of today's world. Blastoids or stalked echinoderms are found in great numbers within the Redwall Formation. There were marine filter feeders believed to indicate shallow, clear water, and many fossil corals and algae probably also lived close to low tide levels, and down to depths of only ten or twelve feet. In general, the Redwall deposits represent an ancient continental shelf lapping eastward against a landmass on the Arizona-New Mexico border. The Redwall Limestone forms a great east-west ridge extending from Holbrook to Peach Springs, Arizona, and a second ridge of sediments extending southwestward from Holbrook past Payson. The following localities, numbers 5-13, are fossil-producing areas within the Lower Mississippian strata; there are hundreds of others in these areas.

East Verde River along south line of Sections 6 and 7, Township 11 North, Range 10 East, and along north side of Arizona Highway 87, Mississippian and Pennsylvanian rocks contain many fossils, including the coral Polypora, brachiopods, crinoids, and large echinoid spines.

Coconino County 

Walnut Canyon area, Kaibab limestone. Leave I-40 at Exit 204, 7.5 miles (12 km) east of Flagstaff; drive south 3 miles (5 km) through exposures of Kaibab Limestone. The Middle Permian Kaibab Formation, popularly referred to as the 'Kaibab Limestone', comprises a continuous layer of cap rock in much of northern Arizona. Its depositional environment was that of a relatively shallow, ancient sea that cyclically encroached and retreated over "Arizona" 250 million years ago. In the Walnut Canyon area, the Kaibab Limestone overlies the Coconino Sandstone. The Kaibab is a grey, sandy, marine.The Kalbab is very fossiliferous: Here are some of the fossils to be found. 

Bryozoa: Unidentified bryozoans are known only as fragmentary remains from the lower portion of the Alpha Member of the Kaibab Limestone.Gastropods:

Baylea sp. ,Bellerophon deflectus , Euomphalus sp.

Shark tooth
Pelecypods: Allorisma sp., Astarella sp. Aviculopecten kaibabensis ,Dozierella sp. ,Edmondia sp. ,Gramatodon politus ,Janeia sp., Kaibabella curvilinata Myalina sp. , Myalinella adunca , Nuculana sp. , Nuculopsis sp. , Palaeonucula levatiformis , Parallelodon sp. Permophorous albequus, Pleurophorus albequus , Schizodus texanus, Solemya sp., Solenomorpha sp.

Scaphopod, Plagioglypta canna

Ammonites: Aulometacoceras sp., Metacoceras unklesbayi, Stearoceras sp., Tainoceras sp.

Brachiopods: Chonetes sp., Composita arizonica, Dictyoclostus sp. , Marginifera sp., Peniculauris bassi , Quadrochonetes kaibabensis , Rugatia paraindica

Trilobites: Anisopyge sp. , Ditomopyge sp.

Vertebrates: A variety of shark's teeth are known from the Kaibab Limestone including: Sandalodus, Deltodus, Symmorium, Petalodus, Orrodus and phyllodont tooth plates.


Iceberg Canyon, Lake Mead Recreation Area, Township 32, Range 16 West, many outcrops of shale and limestone produce abundant corals, especially Zaphrentites, and other Paleozoic fossils.


Jerome, Arizona (southwest of Flagstaff), Jerome Quarry, Section 16, Township 16 North, Range 23, Clarkdale Quadrangle near Benchmark 5677, Cephaplopods, Poterioceras, Triloboceras, Mooreoceras, and Muensteroceras, the blastoids Cryptoblastus, Globoblastus, Lophoblastus and Orophocrinus, with 64 species of crinoids including Acrocrinus, Macrocrinus, Platycrinites and Pleurocrinus.


Peppersauce Canyon is located on the northeast side of the Santa Catalina Mountains and crosses the Oracle-Mt. Lemon Road about nine miles south of Oracle. Here, tilted Paleozoic rocks rest upon Precambrian rocks. Cambrian, Devonian, Mississippian and Pennsylvanian rocks are well exposed on both sides of the canyon and contain good fossils.


Fossils are found on the north flank of Little Table Mountain in the North Galiuro Mountains (SE1/4, Section 15; Township 7 South, Range 18 East, Gila and Salt Rive; Baseline and Meridian). The specimens are located in the Mississippian Escabrosa Limestone, 55 to 60 feet above the lower contact with the Devonian Martin Limestone. Both units have fossils.


In the northern Galiuro Mountains, on north flank in SE'/4, Section 15, Township 7 South, Range 18 East, approximately 1.5 miles on top of east slope, abundant fossils of coral, fish teeth, blastoids, brachiopods and gastropods.

Arizona's Penn-Perm formations are characterized by these species and others.

At road cut highway, U.S. 60, Section 20, Township 5 North, Range 18 East, exposures produce good specimens of brachiopods, particularly forms of spirifer, the blastoid Orophocrinis and many crinoids.


Five-tenths to one mile outside the east boundary of Walnut Canyon National Monument, and entire area, good fossils are found, especially Dictyoclostus, Dentalium, Marginifera and Bellerophon.


The Pennsylvanian may be difficult to distinguish from the Permian because they contain the same fossils with little diagnostic for the early or late portions. The fusulinids of the Pennsylvanian are, on the average, considerably smaller than those of the Permian.

In southern Arizona, the easily recognized colonial coral Chaetetes occurs only in the Pennsylvanian Black Prince and lower Horquilla Formation. South of the Mogollon Rim, the Naco Horquilla Formation is equivalent to the Naco. The distinctive bryozoan Prismopora also is a good guide fossil for both the Horquilla and Naco formations.

At Promontory Butte, on the Mogollon Rim, near Christopher Creek. This is a Pennsylvanian/Permian boundary river deposit that has a mixture of wetter coal swamp plants like ferns and horsetails and drier "upland" elements like conifers preserved in a gray shale. It's interesting because it shows this ecological transition that occurred about 300 million years ago when the conifers started to become important with drier conditions. Very nice fossil plants in easy to split shale.

Strawberry, a tiny hamlet outside of Payson. Fossils of Pennsylvanian/Permian boundary age 300 million years, similar to the Promontory Butte fossils site above.

Kohl Ranch site. From Phoenix, take State Route 87 north to Payson (Approx 70 miles) In Payson, take SR 260 east to Kohl Ranch. You cant see the site when you are heading east, and it is easy to miss the turnoff, so turn around at Kohl Ranch, and head west about 1/2 mile to the first pullout.(you can tell this is an old roadcut that was never paved) Most fossiliferous site in state; Literally millions of invertebrates of Pennsylvanian age are found in weathered limestone, shale and sandstone.


One mile north of the junction of State Highway 177 to Superior on Highway 77, Pennsylvanian Naco Limestone(very fossiliferous) is exposed at the south end of Dripping Springs Mountain, where the Gila River has cut its gorge(all area exposures of Naco Limestone in certain zones, contain good invertebrate fossils).



Winkleman: This fossil site is just less than a mile from the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) smelter smokestacks at the Ray Complex. In roadside outcrops of limestones and doleomites of the Upper Pennsylvanian Horquilla Formation in the Naco Group. The Naco Group was deposited around 310-290 million years. Some of the crinoid stems are very large, up to an inch in diameter. Some crinoid fossils at this site are typical gray casts, but others are permineralized with agate or red chert. Some mineralized specimens exhibit anatomic detail, including the 5-pointed, stellate central canals. Several brachiopod genera include Anthracospirifer, Linoproductus, Antiquatonia, and Composita. Naco brachiopods frequently show bite marks from fishes and cephalopodsThree types of bryozoans occur at Winkelman: branching, stick-like forms (ramose species); flat sheets full of tiny pits (fenestrate species); and species that form crusts on bivalves and brachiopods. Other faunal elements include solitary horn corals and trace fossils of burrows. Some trilobites.

Rain Valley, Late Permian Concha Limestone, Permian Epitaph Dolomite, Permian Colina, Permian Earp, Pennsylvanian/Permian Horquilla Limestone, Pennsylvanian Escabrosa Limestone, Missisppian Martin Limestone Devonian, Abrigo Limestone Mid to Late Cambrian, Bolsa Quartzite

.The Permian has, in addition to the characteristic Permo-Pennsylvanian fossils, several very diagnostic and easily identifiable forms. The large gastropod Omphalotrochus is one of the more common fossils in the Colina Limestone and serves as a guide fossil for that formation. The sponge Actinocoelia is also restricted to the Permian, occurring in considerable abundance in the Concha Limestone.


2.1 miles south of Mogollon Rim on Highway 77, good marine fossils occur in roadcuts. This is probably a Kaibab Limestone.

Permian-age rocks at Sedona. Hint,
look for lower outcrops to do your fossil hunting.
Area exposures of the Coconino Formation have abundant reptile, amphibian and scorpion tracks.
Isolated boulders of Kaibab Limestone on the pediment slopes in the Sedona area have provided some of the most spectacular specimens of Arizona fish. The Kaibab Limestone boulders are porous, weathered and reddish.

The locality is reached by turning south from Sedona on Arizona Route 179 for 1.4 miles, then turning to the east through the Broken Arrow subdivision for another half mile. The vertebrate material is very scattered and rare. Bone scraps and scales occur with prolific invertebrates.


 Forty-five miles southeast of Tucson, in the Mustang Mountains, thinly bedded Permian dolomitic limestone, above the Concha Formation contain scaphopods, echinoderm parts, bryozoa, pelecyopods, gastropods and crinoids.


East of Flagstaff, on the highway in Padre Canyon, Kaibab Limestone (upper yellow member) contains pelecyopods (Aviculopecten kaibabensis) the gastropod Bellerophon

Eight miles southeast of Flagstaff, in Walnut Canyon, in many roadcuts and arroyos, abundant fossils can be found. 

In the Kaibab Formation well exposed in the Bottomless Pit area, one mile east of the Flagstaff Country Club on the road to Walnut Canyon National Monument, isolated ganoid and elasmobranch teeth are abundant in buff-colored, porous limestone. 


South of Tucson on Beelzebub Butte is a Permian Concha limestone bed between Helmet Peak and the town of Sahuarita. Good fossil specimens have been recorded from several levels here. 

Helmet Peak, located south of San Xavier Mission off the Twin Buttes road, ganoid fish teeth and invertebrates in the Concha Limestone are common.


East of Meteor Crater, one mile west of Stanton, at base of dark Mancos Shale, very abundant Gryphaea newberri.

This entire area, in Dakota Formation, abundant fossils can be found, including corals, mollusks, brachiopods, etc.


1.3 miles south of Mogollon Rim, yellowish Cretaceous sandstone in area contains numerous marine fossils; 

Area outcrops of Triassic Moenkopi Formation (dark sand stone) may contain important, varied vertebrate fossils; Mostly reptiles, amphibians and fish bones. Collectors must prospect this area carefully. 

Twenty-two miles north of Bita Hochee Trading Post on an erosional feature known as white cone (Bidahochi Formation) Pliocene vertebrates, including camel, horse, horned beaver, large cats, wolverine, etc., can be found, mostly jaws on isolated bones. 

The turnoff to Grand Falls can be found 12.9 miles from the point where you entered the Leupp Road near Winona. The turn is to the north, soon after you enter the reservation. Take the rough dirt road past the Grand Falls Bible Church. Eventually this road intersects Navajo 70 and a few other spurs. Keep going toward the valley that you see in the distance. You slowly drop into it. You'll know you're at Grand Falls when you hit a river (or river bed) in the valley floor. You may park on the south side in the sandy area by the river or you might want to back up about half a mile and look for the weathered ramadas The three sedimentary formations to examine, from top to bottom, are the Moenkopi Formation, Kaibab Limestone and Coconino Sandstone. The knolls on the north side of the crossing are Moenkopi Formation, a mixture of shales and sandstones, the oldest rock of the Mesozoic Era in this area. The red color in a rock often indicates an oxygen-rich environment. The Moenkopi is no exception; it is terrestrial in origin and you CAN find animal tracks. The most recent Peleozoic strata here are the fossil-rich Kaibab limestones, a former coral reef. It has a distinct weathering pattern, forms the cliffs below the falls, and may be stained by the overlying Moenkopi. At the base of the falls you will find the third sedimentary rock formation - the crossbedded Coconino Sandstone, a beautiful wind deposited layer.

East of Bisbee, Arizona, near Paul Spur (a railroad spur) Highway 80 passes through a ridge of Mural limestone. This was a plankton and coral reef with some other typical Cretaceous age (140 MYA) fauna. The reef is of early Cretaceous age, roughly 140 million years ago. It's in the Mural Limestone which is the lowest member of the Bisbee Group. The rocks are thin-bedded limestone, shale and sandstone, massive limestone, thin-bedded shale, sandstone, mudstone, and limestones that weathers as a cliff. The Mural Limestone contains large fossil clam and coiled snail shells.


Placeras quarry in Chinle Formation is approximately 17 miles south and west of St. Johns. Lots of bone, phytosaur teeth, Placeras and other coprolites. The site is presently being used as a municipal landfill. Go figure.

In area exposures of the Triassic Chinle Formation around Ganado, fossil logs, wood fragments and stumps of the pine Araucarioxylon arizonicum, vertebrate fossils of phytosaurs, small dinosaurs, large amphibians, plant fossils and invertebrates can be found.

There's a lot of prospecting to be done in the Chinle Formation. Annual rain exposed an entire new suite of vertebrate fossils each year. The outcrops of these Triassic rocks (clay-shale) are incredible.

Metoposaurs were as common as frogs in a pond, only big enough to eat you!
Triassic Chinle Formation badland outcrops in northern Arizona are abundant. Here are a few I've visited over the years. Some localities may have been swallowed up by the recent expansion of the Petrified Forest National Park. Check for new signs. 1. Davis Ranch, 5 miles east of St. Johns; 2. Outcrops approximately 3 miles northeast of St. Johns; 3. Placerias Quarry, southwest of St. Johns.(Now the municipal landfill); 3.Roadcut 2 miles east of Holbrook; Roadcut 6 miles west of Holbrook: 4 At Moqui Wash, south of Highway 66: East of Highway 89 at Kaibab Monocline.
Eighteen to twenty miles west of Ganado, in the dark Mancos and Dakota Formations, marine Cretaceous vertebrates and invertebrates are commo


Dinosaur bones, Gorgosaurus (Albertasaurus) and Trachodon (Anatosaurus), and invertebrates have been found in shale and in concretions in Section 26, Township 18 South, Range 16 East, south of Empire Mountains.


Black Mesa. A diverse and abundant Cretaceous fauna can be found. Almost any area exposed on the flanks of the mesa can produce good quality fossils, including shark teeth, fish bones, Ostrea glabra and the ammonites Calycoceras navicula, Kanabiceras septemseria , Metoiceras, Worthoceras, and many others.

In area badlands around Tohachi, Cretaceous Fruitland Formation is exposed, containing dinosaur fragments and turtle shells. Five miles south of Tohachi, in Fruitland shale (characterized by iron concretion fragments), bone fragments and shell heaps of Ostrea and Modiola are interesting.

Area outcrops of Triassic Moenkopi Formation (dark sandstone) may contain important, varied vertebrate fossils. Mostly reptiles, amphibians and fish are to be found by careful prospecting of badlands and sandstone deposits.

Small hill on the east side of Bisbee Quadrangle opposite the mouth of Glance Canyon and about three miles east of Glance, about .2 miles east of U.S. Highway 80 about 12.7 miles WNW of Douglas, good Cretaceous brachiopods Caprina, Rhynchonella, Terebratella, oysters, small rudistids and few echinoids. All Mural Limestone.

In the extreme southern and southeastern part of Arizona, the Lower Cretaceous Lowell Formation outcrops best in the Ninety-one Hills area, south of Bisbee Junction (not the town of Bisbee, but rather, where the Southern Pacific Railroad crosses its northbound line directly to the east of Naco). Probably representing near shore deposition, the Lowell Formation often contains silicified tree remains, from scattered fragments to various sizes of large tree trunks, all belonging to the pine Araucarioxylon. Ranging from alternating maroon shales and limestone beds to coarse sandstone, the Lowell Formation contains numerous fossils of marine invertebrates.

Mammoth teeth, Wolly and Imperial
The Wooly kind

The City of Chandler and help of the many volunteers, the excavation of the Mammoth fossils ended successfully after 11 days on Sunday afternoon July 13, 1997. The fossils are probably those of the Columbian Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) which descended from mammoths which first entered North America around 1.7 million years ago from Eurasia across the Bering Land Bridge at the start of the Pleistocene epoch or at the beginning of what is known as the "Ice Age." They later became extinct at the end of the last glacial stage of the Pleistocene around 10,000 years ago. Three distinct strata representing three separate stages of deposition were excavated. All three contained fossils which were from at least two; possibly three different mammoths. The fossils collected include: 2 partial tusks: one complete tusk attached to part of the skull (premaxilla): partial pelvic girdle: two vertebrae: one neural arch: 7 foot bones (left & right forelimb): 12-13 mostly complete ribs: many rib sections: partial radius (forelimb): several tooth (molar) sections: one larger molar section from a second mammoth: partial lower jaw (mandible): tortoise? shell: Several in-situ bone "clusters": 100+ unidentified bone fragments.

In Late Pleistocene gravel terraces found around the most of the time dry lake bed known as Wilcox Playa near the southeastern town of Wilcox, bones of some of Arizona's Ice Age megafauna, such as Imperial Mammoth, bison, horse and camel can be found. In one afternoon I found two large mandibles and a couple of limb bones of a mammoth. Not bad for one day's effort.Wilcox Playa, near the Town of Wilcox between Benson and the New Mexcio border, is typical of many old lakebeds that were filled with water during the Wisconsin Ice Age, but are now effemeral and dry except for the brief rainy periods here in Arizona. During the Pleistocene, the lake's water level fluctuated dramatically. The old lakeshores are now seen as terraces of sand and gravel on which animals died and were buried quickly enough to be preserved as fossils.
Lower jaw of Mammoth from Wilcox Playa
Pima County
Brawley wash: the Brawley Wash (as it has come to be known) is fifteen to twenty feet deep and up to 1400 feet wide in some places. It reaches from Aguirre Lake north to Robles Junction, a distance of forty miles. In this Late Pleistocene (Rancho LaBrean) strata, I've found mammoth, horse, camel, bison and other mammal teeth and bones. After a good rain, I found an incredibly complete camel, Camelops, skull and some possible associated Paleo Indian artifacts. In one strata near the base of the wash a marvelous set of Pleistocene mammal tracks were found, including mammoth (or mastodon), camel, and carnivores. Exploration for vertebrate fossils here is best after a good rain, as the soft silt of Brawley is rapidly cut by the running water and fossils are exposed along the wash walls and on its floor.
Looking West from Tucson, the Plesistocene of the Avra Valley must have looked like the mammal-rich habitats of East Africa today. Brawley wash cuts through this valley and exposes Ice Age sediments and fossil bones.

12.9 miles north of Highway Junction 70/60, Highway 77 turns north of Holbrook. Round hills directly to east are Pliocene deposits. Area deposits containing mastodon, horse, rodents, plants, etc., have been found here. NOTE: All area outcrops of Moenkopi and Coconino sandstones; north of this road may contain footprints of amphibians and reptiles. Collectors should look for bedding surfaces.



Glyptodont found in the San Simon Valley, Arizona
Dry Mountain Locality Pliocene-Pleistocene Vertebrates Common. About 17-20 mi. SE of Safford E side of San Simon Creek valley. 

15 mi. W & 2 mi. N of Safford (SW corner of Bear Springs Flat) Pliocene-Pleistocene Vertebrate fossils. Cenozoic Quaternary Lt. Blancan

Fourteen miles east of Safford in Township 8, 9 South, Range 28, in area badlands, Pleistocene vertebrates, horse, mastodon, rodents, capybara, etc. can be found by prospecting. Pliocene marls exposed sixteen miles southeast of Safford contain bones of giant sloth, glyptodonts, rodents, etc.


Wolf Ranch locality: SW'/4 of Cochise County, in approximately the center of Section 6, Township 22 South, Range 22 East, on the U.S. Geological Survey map (Tombstone 1952). The exposures are in Arroyo Oro Verde which runs east-west, parallel to Arizona Highway 90. Strata of light olive-grey, siltstone contain good specimens of Pliocene vertebrates, such as Pliohippus, trilphodont, mastodon, turtle, camel, etc.

Benson: West of Tucson about 30 miles is the small town of Benson, a turn of the century cattle town, railroad junction and farming community. In the 30's the American Museum of Natural History ran field crews through the area looking for Pleistocene vertebrate fossils. Of course they were successful collecting many horse, camel, mastodon, turtle, Glypodon, and many other specimens. The low bluffs east and south of town produced many good specimens. To the west of the highway and again south of town, many Glypodon scoots and other bones have been collected. Further south about 5 miles passing through and south of St. David more Pleistocene deposits, the University of Arizona has been collecting these localities for years and are still producing. As you travel further south towards Tombstone you will cross over low limestone ridges always check these out. In and around tombstone you will encounter the North Naco Formation Limestone, there you will find Mississipian invertebrate fauna, brachiopods coral, bryozoan etc. lots of good specimens.

Mojave County
In badlands 7 miles southeast of Wickeup (southeast of Kingman) to the northeast of US highway 93, a large number of well preserved vertebrates including horse, camel, carnivore, giant condor, and other Miocene to Pliocene species have been found in the Big Sandy Formation. I first learned of this site when The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was selling off quite a number of bones and teeth that had been collected from these beds. The locality I saw, the bones were in mass burials, piled one on top of each other.

Seen in the photo on the right, the horse is said to have been blased apart by a powerful, pyroclastic ash flow form a volcano.The skeleton was dismemeberd, bones snapped, yet other parts like the foot which in life is held togheter by rather tough tissue, stayed relatively intact. Notice on this block of matrix, just below the horse jaw illuminated, is the jaw of a large cat.

Middle Ploicene horse bones from the Big Sandy Formation near Wickeup

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The recreation area stretches for hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry in Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah, and the cliff faces have numerous caves, some of them big enough to hide mammoths. The ecosystem 20,000 years ago was different than today and consisted of grasslands, Blue Spruce and water birch. The Mammoths in Glen Canyon. The Columbian Mammoth and possibly the Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius).

Fossilized Dung
Mammoth Dung From Glen Canyon. A Pleistocene dung blanket found in a dry cave in Glen Canyon National Recreational Area has been found in one of the large caves that was big enough to shelter mammoths during the late Pleistocene. The fossilized boluses of dung (rich in graminoid stems) are comparable in size and content to African elephant. Two boluses were radiocarbon dated at 11,670 and 12,900 yr B.P., respectively. They are embedded in a 225 cubic meter dung blanket along with fecal remains and hair of ground sloths, artiodactyls, and small mammals. While no diagnostic bones of mammoth were recovered, the deposit yielded long coarse hair attributed to mammoth

.Mammoth Kill Sites around Glen Canyon

Small bands of prehistoric Indians, called Paleo-Indian people, roved through the Glen Canyon area at the end of the Ice Age, about 9,000 to 11,000 years ago. Herds of mammoth, large-horned bison, and camels roamed the land, and the climate was cool and wet. As the climate became progressively hotter and drier, the verdant landscape, big game animals, and related hunting opportunities all gradually disappeared. About 8,000 years ago, major climatic shifts heralded the end of giant wooly mammals like the mastodon, the mammoth and the sabre-tooth tiger.


 Rampart Cave is the best known of serval "Sloth Caves" that have been found in the walls of the Grand Canyon. Rampart cave contained an enormous mound of mummified dung of the Late Pleistocene Ground Sloth Nothrotheriops. Partly because of this disastrous incident, all cave ex;oration is presently not permitted. Unfortunately, after it was discovered, a careless smoker set fire to the dry dung and the cave burned until most of the precious poop was ashes.

Piles of Pleistocene Poop on the floor of Ramparat Cave (NPS)
Typical of Pleistocene finds found in many parts of Arizona, you've got to walk a lot of dry rivers to find good fossils. In the photo at near right, an arroyo (dry stream bed here in Arizona) shows typical cross section of late Pleistocene strata. Such accumulations often show gravels alternating with fine silt and clay and can represent changes in deposition from rivers to marshes. Near the top of this photo notice a dark-colored stripe. In most of Arizona, this is termed the "black mat" which is composed of decayed plant or algal remains, and is always the termination marker of the Pleistocene. Below this is "Ice Age" above recent, post 10,000 years.
Mammoth teeth are really very commonly found fossils in Arizona.
Welcome to the Black Mat: Above the black layer is recent, below is Pleistocene. After each good rain in Arizona, fossil collecting in such washes is a new ball game. Don't get caught sitting where this fellow is when the sky darkens.
15 miles southwest of Prescott, two Prescott National Forest employees discovered huge tusks eroding from the arroyo's wall. Another surprise came when excavation revealed that the creature was an American Mastodon; it had been expected that the tusks were those of a mammoth, which are much more common finds in the West. Much of the skeleton was uncovered. A Late Pleistocene mastodon is a rare find here. In Arizona, over one hundred mammoths have been found, compared to fewer than ten mastodons. The specimen was dated about 8,500 B.C.