Agate Fossil Beds – Mitchell Nebraska


In the early 1900s, paleontologists unearthed the Age of Mammals when they found full skeletons of extinct Miocene mammals in the hills of Nebraska — species previously only known through fragments. At the same time, an age of friendship began between rancher James Cook and Chief Red Cloud of the Lakota. These two unprecedented events are preserved and protected here… at Agate Fossil Beds.

Don’t let the name fool you. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument features more than world-class fossil exhibits and a hiking trail to the Arikareean-age Agate Springs quarries. One of visitors’ most surprising—and frequently unexpected—discoveries, the Cook Collection, has nothing at all to do with fossils. What the Cook Collection consists of is Native American artifacts the Cook family received in the late 1800s and early 1900s from close family friends like Red Cloud, Chief of the Oglala Lakota.

We drove from Scottsbluff to the Fossil Bed on a North two lane highway through the sand hills, just beautiful. Hardly no trees, no farms that you can see, no corn, just grass fields as far as you can see and every once in a while you might see some cattle. This National Park is in the middle of now-where and the folks that work there drive 30-60 miles just to get to work. The first few photos are of this drive North.