Gem and History
Gemological and History Loop
If you want to learn something new, love history or geology, or have a student who is inspired to explore, this guide will get you a fun day at little cost and you will build great memories along the way. Teller County is one of the most geologically rich areas in the world. ‘Rockhounds’ come from all over to look for mineral treasure in this area. This tour keeps you near Florissant, but you will get a lot of bang for your buck.
Florissant Fossil Bed National Monument: Some of the biggest petrified redwood tree stumps (by diameter) in the world! Beautiful, detailed fossils of insects in leaves in a state-of-the-art museum. Fourteen miles of secluded hiking trails. A serene mountain valley with views of Pikes Peak. Elk, deer, and coyotes moving through a grassy mountain valley. Fun, hands on programs for kids, families, and adults. An active science program that continues to uncover and discover. We recommend all new visitors begin their adventure at the Visitor Center. There you can receive orientation information as the information desk and see the "Shadows of the Past" orientation film. In the visitor center you can explore exhibits and the bookstore.
Most visits last about 2 - 4 hours. During this time we recommend: seeing the park film and exploring the exhibits, hiking on the self-guided Petrified Forest Loop (1 mile) to see the petrified tree stumps or the 1/2 Ponderosa Loop Trail, attending a ranger program (May 30 - Labor Day), participating in the Junior Ranger program (4 - 12 year olds), visiting the grounds of the Hornbek Homestead, having a picnic lunch.
Adele Hornbek Estate (part of Florissant Fossil Bed Monument): She was a strong, determined woman who came to the area with her four children in the 1870s. Claiming land under the Homestead Act, Adeline Hornbek defied traditional gender roles to become the owner of a prosperous ranch. Located 1.5 miles south of Hwy 24 on Teller County Road 1.
Pikes Peak Historical Society Museum in Florissant (18033 Teller County Road #1 across from the Florissant Post Office.) The Pikes Peak Historical Museum Summer hours from May 27 to September 5 are 10 AM to 4 PM on Friday, Saturday and Monday but Sunday only 1 PM to 4 PM. We will gladly open upon request for school groups, social groups or for you and your family and friends. Just call 719-748-8259 to schedule a day and time at least 24 hours in advance. Our Museum admission is free.
Florissant Fossil Shop and Quarry (719)748-3275 Florissant Fossils date back from the late Eocene epoch, 35 million years ago. Each volcanic eruption formed a cloud of dust and ash which settled on the lake. As this process took place small animals, fishes, insects, and plants would be trapped under the weight of the ash and sent to watery grave at the bottom of the lake. Each layer of shale represents one eruption. Eventually the lake was filled, climatic changes took place and this is what we see today...Our Summer hours are 10-4 daily and by appointment. On sight collecting, groups, schools and individuals. We also supply museums, schools, gift shops, and collectors. The Florissant Formation is located in the geographical center of Colorado, at an altitude of 8,500 feet. The Clare Quarry is located 0.25 miles south of Florissant on the Teller County Road One.