Where to hunt for fossils in Cincinnati

Did you know Cincinnati used to be underwater? 

It’s true! Greater Cincinnati is surrounded by rocks with marine deposits from the Ordovician Period, a time when ancient ocean covered most of the United States more than 450 million years ago. Where we live today was covered in a shallow sea home to many weird and unique creatures. Today, we can still see those creatures in local creek and rock beds, making for epic fossil hunting conditions!

Here’s where to hunt for fossils in Cincinnati:

Cincinnati Parks

Cincinnati Parks, such as Stanbery Park, French Park, California Woods, McFarlan Woods and Caldwell Preserve, all have nice creeks for fossil hunting. Today you can find seashell like creatures such as brachiopods and pelecypods. There are also ancient corals such as bryozoans and horn corals.  You might even do a double take and find a snail shell that looks like it’s made of rock that would be called a gastropod.  Tiny rings are segments of a crinoid. Occasionally you might find a conical end to a cephalopod.{Collecting fossils is allowed; however Cincinnati Parks asks that fossil collectors be considerate of the wildlife that call the creeks home.}

Glenwood Gardens 

I walked the mile-long loop with my kids recently, having my older two alternate reading the trail’s descriptive signs. Near the end, we came to a stone bridge made of local rocks, letting us know we should be on the lookout for fossils from ancient sea creatures that lived here millions of years ago!

Rapid Run Creek

Part of Cincinnati Parks, Rapid Run Creek is a hotbed for trilobites, an extinct group of arthropods most closely related to today’s scorpions and horseshoe crabs. Trilobites are abundant in this region, which is why they attract scientists from all over the world and why they are Ohio’s official state fossil. These fossils contain important information about environmental changes and give clues about what life used to be like on Earth millions of years ago.

Sharon Woods Gorge

We tackled this trail on a recent hike, and my kids delighted in climbing down to the creek. The
forested gorge of Sharon Creek was created about 20,000 years ago by large volumes of glacial meltwater. A 90-foot cliff at the gorge is a great spot to search for marine fossils.

Trammel Fossil Park

This hidden treasure is 10 acres of rocky, rugged terrain, exposed to the elements — and totally rich with remnants from the past. The park is unique because it’s one of the only places to dig for fossils in the Cincinnati area that’s safe and accessible. Since the plot of Trammel Fossil Park has never been disturbed, there’s an abundance of fossils available at the tip of your fingers (or shovel). Admission is free — and you can take whatever fossils you find!

Trammel Fossil Park

Fossil Hunting is a fun and educational activity! As you venture out, please be mindful of social distancing guidelines and also be respectful to the environment.

Similar Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


From our Sponsors