May 14, 2016 – Today I road tripped 6 hours round trip with two 11 year olds and a 4 year old to the U-Dig Fossils Trilobite Quarry and loved it. The more rocks you crack open the more addicting it gets. You never know when you’re going to find the big one! This trip really was easy, from the directions to the roads, it was a million times easier than our geode expedition last weekend. I would highly recommend them both, but if easy is what you are looking for then this is the rock trip for you. When I was researching this trip I had quite a few questions. The following are a few of them and the answers I found.
**Edited to Add – I wish I had known that this place existed before we headed out to U-Dig. The Great Basin Museum in Delta is FREE and open Monday-Saturday. It looks like it would be a great place to start when heading out to find trilobites to learn about the area and the amazing fossils that have been found here.
What is a trilobite?
I am an air traffic controller, not a scientist, so I leave these kinds of questions up to the professionals. For this one I’ve quoted Aaron Miller at http://www.trilobites.info/trilobite.htm:
“Trilobites are remarkable, hard-shelled, segmented creatures that existed over 520 million years ago in the Earth’s ancient seas. They went extinct before dinosaurs even came into existence, and are one of the key signature creatures of the Paleozoic Era, the first era to exhibit a proliferation of the complex life-forms that established the foundation of life as it is today. Although dinosaurs are the most well-known fossil animals, trilobites are also a favorite among those familiar with Paleontology (the study of the development of life on Earth), and are found in the rocks of all continents.”
What type of trilobites can be found at U-Dig Fossils?
The following is the sheet they give you when you check in at the office. It lists all the most commonly found trilobites as well as a few that they only see about once every ten years.
Where is the trilobite quarry?
It is 1 hour west of Delta, Utah just off US-50 W/US-6 W on Death Canyon Road. To get there take I15 S to Nephi, take Exit #228, Follow UT-132 W to US-6 W in Lynndyl, then follow US-6 W through Delta to Long Ridge Reservoir Rd. When you are 33 miles west of Delta, you will see a gravel road on the right called Long Ridge Reservoir Road, there will also be a huge sign that says U-Dig Fossils Trilobite Quarry. You can’t miss it. Turn there and in 20 miles you will arrive at the U-Dig Trilobite Quarry. Unlike finding the Dugway Geode Beds, the trilobite quarry is VERY easy to find and your phone’s GPS should guide you all the way there.
On our drive down, we decided to stop in Delta for lunch. There are a few sit down restaurants, a Mc Donald’s, a Subway and a 7-11 gas station on the main drag. We chose Mc Donald’s since it has a PlayPlace and my kids love those. Anyhoo, the drive from West Jordan to the trilobite quarry is exactly 3 hours each way, so stopping in Delta on the way down and in Nephi, for dinner on our way home was perfect.
How much does it cost to hunt for trilobites?
The prices shown in the picture above include everything you will need to find triobites including buckets, eye protection and hammers. When we arrived, they were all out of eye protection for children, but luckily we had already purchased some on Amazon for our geode trip and brought them a long for this one. Oh, and don’t forget to show them your Utah drivers license to got 20% off!
What is a good age to bring kids to the trilobite quarry?
Ideally I would say 5+. Below is a picture of my 4.5 year old within minutes of us getting settled into our spots in the quarry. Let me just say this, hammers and toddlers don’t mix. Also, walking can be a bit difficult on all the broken shale, so even at 4.5 she struggled, so I would suggest that kids under 4 stay home for this trip. On the bright side, Livvy is the one who ended up finding all the trilobites that had fallen out of the shale when broken open, since she was bored and just searching the rock around her. If you look closely, you can find whole trilobites just laying amongst all the broken pieces of shale. Surprise!
Are there any services nearby? Gas Stations? Hotels?
No, no and no. The last “town” you will pass on US-6 W outside of Delta is, Hinckley (population 704), where you will see the sign below. If you are looking for gas stations, hotels and restaurants, Delta (population 3,485) is where it’s at.
What is the lake you can see off in the distance before you turn onto Long Ridge Reservoir Road?
Please note that traveling in remote areas can be dangerous from weather to road conditions to car trouble and much, much more. The information listed above was current on May 14, 2016, but anytime after that you must proceed with caution and at your own risk.
Click HERE to return to Let’s Rock and read about some of our other fun family rockhounding trips in and around Utah.