For an unfurgettable outing in northwest Nebraska, drive out to the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument! Located in the heart of Sioux County, this underappreciated gem is one of the most complete Miocene mammal sites and home to some of the most impawtant fossils in the world. Bring your pup along for a paleontological adventure—they're welcome to join you in exploring the park's two trails as long as they are leashed!
The Fossil Hills Trail, which starts at the visitor center, takes you and your pooch to the early 1900s quarries where the monument's most famous fossils were discovered. Spanning 2.7 miles, this paved path will bring you and Fido across the Niobrara River and its wetlands, as well as through short- and mixed-grass prairie. You will then find yourselves hiking around University and Carnegie Hills, where local rancher James Cook found fossilized bones in the mid-1880s.
At the west end of the park lies the 1-mile Daemonelix Trail, which features the Daemonelix or Devil's Corkscrew: spiral burrows created by the dry land beaver. You and your pup will also encounter ancient sand dunes and fossil grassland soils. From the trail's highest point, you'll get to see Cook's historic ranch and the vast tablelands that make up part of the High Plains.
Be sure to always have doggie waste bags on hand and pick up after your pooch! Note that there isn't any shade on the trails, so head out when the sun isn't too strong to avoid hot paws. After your hike, stop by the picnic area to refuel with a packed lunch and refill your water bottles at the drinking fountains. Water for four-legged companions is also available from the adjacent spigots. If hiking isn't your pup's thing, they may stretch their legs in the designated pet walking area, which can be found immediately north of the visitor center and museum parking lot. Keep in mind that except for service animals, doggos are not allowed inside the buildings.
A puptastic time awaits you and your furry pal at the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument!