s/y Nine of Cups
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Idaho
May 2012
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More National Parks and Monuments?

More American Odyssey trip?

Roadside Americana?

Birds of North America?

Wildflowers of North America?
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument is most famous for
the horse that is Idaho's state fossil. No other fossil beds
preserve such varied land and aquatic species from the
Pliocene Epoch period. These plants and animals represent the
last glimpse of that time that existed before the Ice Age, and
the earliest appearances of modern flora and fauna.Eight
species found here are found nowhere else in the world and
43 species were found here first. To protect these fossil beds
which still produce over 3,000 new fossil fragments each year,
the area was declared a national monument in 1988.
The Oregon Trail crosses the southern portion of Hagerman
Fossil Beds.  The Monument is one of only four units in the
National Park system that contains parts of the Oregon
National Historic Trail. Ruts for the trail are still quite visible.
Did you know horses evolved in North
America?  The Hagerman Horse,
, was the first true horse though its
bones most closely resembled Grevy’s zebra. .
Hagerman is home to over two hundred
different species of fossil plants and animals:
including Sabertooth Cat, Mastodon, Bear,
Camel, Ground Sloth, and many other
The little town of Hagerman, ID is home to the
Visitor Center for the National Monument as
well as the temporary location for the
Minidoka National Historic site.
The actual monument is outside of town and not
accessible to the public. The 600' bluffs seen from
the Snake River Overlook provide the best view
of the sedimentary layers.
About 14,300 years ago, the massive Bonneville flood carved
a deep valley through what is now southeastern Idaho. The
raging water ripped into the earth and scattered massive
boulders called “melon gravel” across the landscape.

The flood exposed a thick layer of sedimentary rock that
contains the fossilized remains of 220 different animals and
plants. Among the fossils, scientists unearthed 30 complete
skeletons of “Hagerman Horses,” a distant ancestor of the
horses we ride today.   
We crossed the historic one-lane Owsley Bridge,
a suspended metal bridge built in 1920 and used
in 1929 by the Smithsonian paleontological team
for making the first scientific excavations here at
This area is also
famous for the scenic
Thousand Springs.
An aquifer creeps
through an area of
several thousand
square miles under
southern Idaho's
porous volcanic rock
before emerging as
cascades along this
scenic route..
Housed in the same building as the Hagerman Fossil Beds
NM, a tiny room is dedicated to the Minidoka National
Historic Site. Minidoka was a war relocation center where
Japanese Americans were evacuated during 1942 to 1945,
the war years. Minidoka was home to some 9,000
residents, all Americans with Japanese descents coming
from the states of Oregon, Washington and Alaska. It
became a National Historic Site in 2001.
Minidoka National Historic Site
Entrance to the Minidoka National Historic Site
A black and white photo of the prison camp in 1943
taken from the archives.
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Next stop...Craters of the Moon
National Monument. Come on along.