Does digging for fossils intrigue you? For us, it’s like a treasure hunt, and we enjoy finding them as a family. Throughout Utah there are various places to find fossils or go rockhounding, but we’d like to show you a trilobite quarry in Delta that’s fantastic: U-Dig Fossils.
Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can find great trilobite treasures here. The owners, Shane, Carrie, and sons will educate you on what to do and give you great pointers so you’ll know where to dig and what to look for.
Shane has a big excavator, which he uses to turn over the layers of sedimentary rock in the quarry, exposing fresh layers for customers. You’ll still have to dig and split limestone shale, but it’s totally doable–and fun! Whatever you find, you keep!
What Is a Trilobite?
It’s an extinct form of marine life, about 550 million years old. Anciently, these prehistoric life forms roamed the bottoms of the seas in search of food. The fossils at the quarry range in size from one-eighth of an inch to two inches. The biggest we found was about an inch long. To rookies like us, trilobite exoskeletons simply remind us of bugs. (Yeah, we’re scientific for sure!)
But it’s not quite that simple. A variety of trilobites and other fossils can be found at the quarry. Click here to learn more.
How Long Should You Plan for Your Visit?
You’ll want to dig at least for two hours. But you can stay longer. Click here to see options for your visit.
We live in Davis County. For us, this was an all-day adventure. We arrived at the quarry about 1:30 and dug for 2 hours. Then it took us an hour to select our top pieces and then have them sawed and polished. We have a family of four and brought our niece. Each of us pretty much filled a 5-gallon bucket. So we sifted through 25 gallons of rocks. Some people may find less, others more. But you can keep whatever you find–and we were there to find!
From where we live in Davis County, it took us almost five hours to arrive at the quarry (including bathroom stops and one quick drive-thru for lunch). We left at 9:30 that morning and drove straight back without stopping to our home at 8:00 pm.
Directions to the U-Dig Fossil Quarry
The quarry is located 52 miles west of Delta by Antelope Springs. We loaded the coordinates when we arrived at Delta. U-Dig shows up just fine on GPS. Just make sure you load the coordinates before you leave Delta, as there’s pretty much no cell reception or internet access beyond there. The road is well maintained, and you can drive a car out there. Just follow the signs along the road to the quarry. They’re easy to spot.
What Are the Hours and Pricing?
Visit April 1 to October 31. Click here to visit their website for exact days and times of operation. They’re generally open 9 am to 6 pm, Monday thru Saturday. They are closed on Sundays. Please arrive before 4 pm. No appointments are necessary.
Prices start at just $19 dollars. That includes professional guidance for digging. You keep whatever you find. Pricing varies. Click here to see all options.
What Equipment Does U-Dig Fossils Provide and What Should You Bring?
Don’t worry about bringing hammers to split the rock. U-Dig Fossils will provide those. They also have buckets for you to use while at the quarry. Bring your own gloves, safety glasses, and bags or buckets to take your trilobite finds home. Also, there’s no shade at the quarry. Bring sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats. Also, knee pads would be so helpful. The quarry isn’t level, so temporary shade would be difficult to set up. Also, do NOT forget to bring your own potable water. You’ll need it.
What Amenities Are Available?
Porta potties are available onsite. They’re clean and well maintained. Please understand, you’re out in the middle of nowhere. Potable water isn’t available. So bring water to drink and for washing purposes; or just use hand sanitizer.
Currently, there are no food items for sale at the U-Dig Fossils stand. There’s also no electricity and little to no cell phone coverage (depending on your carrier). So bring what you need.
What Can You Do with Trilobite Fossils?
Aside from just being way cool to collect, there are several creative things you can do with your trilobite fossil finds. First, use them for educational purchases. We gifted a few of our finds to teachers so they can use them in the classroom. As is, they make cool gifts. Quarry operators have a rock saw and polisher to help you finesse your best finds. You can also lightly polish them with mineral oil if you’d like.
Be creative and consider making the following:
- Book ends
- Home decor
- Yard decor
What You Might See on Your Drive to the U-Dig Fossil Quarry
You’ll enjoy seeing wildlife on your drive. We spotted antelope and wild horses, which we always love to see. In addition, we were fortunate to come across a sheep camp. There were probably about a thousand ewes and lambs waiting for water. The water tanker had just pulled up and was providing the drink. It was cool to see!
You never know what you’ll see on the drive. Just go and enjoy.
More Tips to Know before You Go
- Pets are allowed. Just pick up after them if they’re in the quarry area where everyone is working. You’ll need to bring your own baggies.
- Dress in layers. Depending on the time of year you visit, it can get windy and cold in the quarry. We brought jackets and were glad to have them. Then as we hammered and worked, we warmed up and didn’t need them.
- Wear sturdy shoes. This activity would not be safe to do in sandals. You’re moving around on rocks. It would be super easy to bust a toe if you aren’t wearing protective shoes.
- Rethink wearing shorts. The quarry will be hot in the summer. If you’re wearing shorts, at least bring knee pads (as recommended above). You are sitting or kneeling on rocks for two hours at least. Plan ahead to protect your legs. As you hammer on the rocks, shards of shale bounce off anything nearby, especially bare legs.
- Bring your own snacks and potable water. No food or beverage items are currently sold at the quarry.
- Make sure you have an extra tire. While we were there, someone got a flat tire. Remember, you’re out in the middle of nowhere. So make sure your vehicle is stocked with the basics.
- Souvenir tshirts are available. We bought a couple and love them.
You Might Like This Too
Our family loved digging for geodes too. We tell you how to get to the Dugway Geode Beds and what you might experience there. It’s another fun outing, shared with you by Utah Family Fun Stuff. CLICK HERE.
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