Where to Find Fossils in Arizona?

If you love to rockhound, Arizona is one the best places to start with, especially if you’re looking for fossils. There are many beautiful places to visit, like the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert National Park. 

They are all in northern Arizona, and each offers a unique set of opportunities.

But not only that, here I will share a list of places you can visit to increase the possibility of finding fossils in Arizona. 

Where to Find Fossils in Arizona?

Here are some of the best places to look for fossils in Arizona:

Petrified Forest National Park, located near Flagstaff, this park is home to fossilized trees that are over 300 million years old. You can see these fossils as you walk through the park or take a guided tour. 

The park has approximately 420 feet of exposed rock and at least five different types of fossil trees. Many of these trees were petrified by the heat and pressure, and they look like stone statues in their natural surroundings.  

Here are the coordinates 35.01634745882869, -109.7902961910628.

Paleo Site Monument is a great place to look for fossils in Arizona. The site is located in a beautiful canyon where ancient Indians lived. 

The Painted Desert Museum can take you on a guided tour of this canyon and show you the many diverse features of this place. 

This beautiful place is located at AZ-260, Payson, AZ 85541. 

You can also look it up by the coordinates 34.323348749208826, -111.11093039664803.

Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument

Littlefield, AZ 86432, United States this park protects an area that contains many fossils.

The park also protects the extraordinary Saguaro Cactus, which grew up to 50 feet tall. You can see these ancient beings at the Desert View Watchtower or at El Tovar, both near the Upper Campground.

This beautiful park is located at Littlefield, AZ 86432, and the coordinates are 36.30607119630235, -113.66828877672856.

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument located near the small town of Kanab, Utah; this monument protects a dramatic set of cliffs and desert valleys. 

The cliffs reach heights of 1,160 feet, and the valley is home to fossilized crocodiles, turtles and other prehistoric creatures. The monument also has many reminders of the historic Old Spanish Trail.

The address for this location is Marble Canyon, AZ 86036; the coordinates are 36.86282878748324, -111.82699428465428.

Painted Desert National Park this park contains an area of colourful badlands that offer some of the best opportunities for fossil hunting in Arizona. 

The “painted desert” is named for the colors seen in the rock layers formed from layers of ash from violent volcanic eruptions over 300 million years ago. The badlands are popular with rock hunters, and some of the fossils found can be quite impressive.

The park is located at 1 Park Rd, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028.

Grand Canyon National Park

You will find many opportunities to examine ancient fossils throughout Grand Canyon National Park.

This world icon is home to Kaibab limestone, one of the thickest large-scale fossilized forests in the world. The Kaibab forest was preserved when ash from a volcano buried it 250 million years ago. To see these fossils, visit the Verkamp fossil site, Kanab Creek and Hermit Shale sites.

Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness

Located near Lake Mead, this wilderness area protects diverse geologic features, including volcanic mesas and petrified wood. 

The forest consists of petrified trees that preserve a layer of ash from the massive Grand Canyon eruption of millions of years ago.

You can find this location at Sedona, AZ 86336; the coordinates are 34.937927953856196, -111.79477616138286.

Navajo Sandstone

It is located in the Kaibab Monasitc National Forest near the town of Grand Canyon. The stone was laid down by a river that changed its course millions of years ago. 

The sandstone is a fine-to-medium grained red and yellow sandstone that contains abundant fossils. Today, petrified wood, bones and dinosaur tracks are often found in this area.

You may like: Where to Find Fossils in Connecticut?

Was Arizona Underwater?

In the past, this land was once covered by a shallow ocean. Anyone can see the evidence for this on any given day when looking out to sea in southern Arizona. 

The ocean left Arizona millions of years ago, but the sea life that lived here left their traces in rocks. 

Fossils are hidden in many places in Arizona, and we can find them by looking at rocks and finding clues such as seashells or coral.

Keep an eye out for sea lilliput. These sediments have eroded away and have washed up on the beaches. The thick layers of dark coloured sandstone that form here are remnants of a time long past.

Arizona Fossils Laws?

Most fossils can be collected without a permit in Arizona. Anyone collecting fossils on state land must have a permit, and this only covers sites that are on state land and not sites that are on federal land. 

Only fossils found on state land can be sold in Arizona.

Common Fossils Found in Arizona?

Fossils are usually found preserved in ancient rock, and they can show us a lot about the lives of other creatures that lived millions of years ago. Some of the fossils found in Arizona include:

Petrified Wood – This wood is made up of fossil tree trunks or branches that have been transformed into hard aged rock.

Fossil shells – While many kinds of fossils can be made, the most common ones found in Arizona are from tiny sea creatures such as clams, snails and brachiopods. These fossils are found in the sandstone of Red Rock Canyon.

Dinosaur Footprints – Fossils of dinosaurs are found in many places, and they provide us with evidence of our past. Dinosaur tracks can be seen on the Jurassic rocks near Petrified Forest National Park. The late Cretaceous period dinosaur tracks can be seen at Dinosaur National Monument.

Human Fossils – Many human remains have been found in a rock layer near Phoenix that sits at the bottom of Camelback Mountain, a popular hiking spot.

Mammoth Fossils – There have been many finds of the “big tusker” or mammoths here in the state. A site near Petrified Forest National Park revealed a set of huge Cretaceous-age teeth.

Fish Fossils – are found in Arizona are usually broken bones from small aquatic and freshwater creatures such as flatheads, bowfins and gar.

Are There Dinosaur Fossils in the Grand Canyon?

There are fossils of dinosaurs in the Grand Canyon, but they are not abundant. The fossils of dinosaurs in the Grand Canyon are not well preserved. 

Some of these fossils were from marine reptiles that lived near the water, and some were from animals that lived on the surface of the water.

The fossils found in the canyon are usually bones or teeth, and the best place to see these is at Dinosaur National Monument.


Arizona is a great place for fossil hunters, and many people come here every year to search for the remains of long-dead animals. 

Fossils are found in many different places in Arizona and there are many opportunities to find these interesting reminders of our past.