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Monday, May 16, 2011

Cephalopod Gulch

After our failed attempt a few weeks ago, I decided to talk to a geology professor at the U of U before heading back up to Cephalopod Gulch to look for fossils. 
After confirming that there are still fossils up above the U, he added "There are still excellent exposures, but they are deeply set into large outcrops and essentially uncollectible - nor should these be collected, as they are an excellent resource for our students.  You will be able to find some decent fragments in float, but there's just not much left.  The "new" Huntsman excavations have been completely picked over."
We hiked up Cephalopod Gulch on Wednesday night (after parking at the U was free) and found some fossils, but as Dr Dinter had noted, they were uncollectable.  The fossils were embedded sideways in large limestone outcroppings and any attempts to remove them would take a whole lot of work and basically destroy them.  We looked and took pictures. 
We enjoyed scrambling across the hillside looking for the oblong marks of the fossils.  I looked and looked for a side view of an ammonite, but only found the one in the first picture, and it was in poor shape.  We looked for float pieces that had weathered free, but didn't find any. 
There still are fossils in Cephalopod Gulch, but if you go looking, please leave them there for others to also find and enjoy! 

Nearest City: Salt Lake City, UT
Location: N 40° 46.587 W 111° 49.871  I will remove the coordinates if I hear of any destruction to the sites or attempts to  remove embedded fossils!
Time Needed: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Kid Friendly:
Additional Info:


  1. My boys and I hiked up to look at the cephalopods this morning, very cool! GPS coordinates were most helpful.

  2. My wife, daughter, and I hiked up there to take a look. We didn't find any side-view ammonites, but we did find plenty of the cross-sectional fossils that you have pictured. Here is the path we took:


    As you can see, we tried hiking up either side to see if there was an alternative to just walking up the hill. We didn't find one. It felt a little weird straying off the path, but it seemed to be okay. I would consider the hike up the hill to be strenuous, but I am severely overweight and not in good shape at all.