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Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry
Rocks and Geology Around Las Vegas
Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry
trilobite
Head shield from a trilobite in green shale

Overview. The Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry is located on the east side of the Las Vegas Valley at the base of Frenchman Mountain, a short walk from the pavement. Most of the fossiliferous material is fragmentary, but the site is close to town and it is always fun to dig for buried treasure.

The quarry is located on public lands administered by the BLM. As such, access is legal and free, and collecting "invertebrate fossils" is legal and free, subject to a limit of 200 pounds per person. Bring your rock hammer and eye protection. If other fossils are found in the area, let the BLM know what you found.

Link to Map.

Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry
Fragmentary trilobite fossil

Location. The Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry is located off East Lake Mead Blvd on the east edge of Las Vegas. From downtown (Table 1, Site 0800), drive north on I-15. In about 1.8 miles, exit onto Lake Mead Blvd East (Site 0801) and drive east across town. The last main road crossing is North Hollywood Blvd, and the last street is Los Feliz. Past Los Feliz, the houses end and Lake Mead Blvd continues into the desert. From the edge of town, continue 0.30 miles to an unpaved parking area (Site 1533) on the right and a blocked-off dirt road to the south. Park here; this is the trailhead.

The Hike. From the trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 01), the trail follows the old road south for 0.33 miles to the old quarry. Trilobite fossils can be found in all of the green shale along the left side of the dirt road, but the best fossils are found in the green shale at the far end of the quarry (Wpt. 02).

Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry
Start of trail (view S from trailhead)
Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry
Entering the main quarry area
Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry
Hiker in the trilobite quarry area
Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry
Hiker at main trilobite quarry site
Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry
Trace fossils in shale
Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry
Trace fossils in shale
Frenchman Mountain Trilobite Quarry
Quarry site (view SE from nearby mountain top)
more to come ...

Table 1. Highway Coordinates based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download highway GPS waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Verified
0800 I-15 at Hwy 93-95 666019 4004656 36.17427 115.15402 2,040 Yes
0801 I-15 at Lake Mead Blvd 667429 4007078 36.19585 115.13784 1,950 Yes
1533 Frenchman Trilobite Trailhead 679188 4007631 36.19873 115.00700 2,178 Map

Table 2. Hiking Coordinates and Distances based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download hiking GPS waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Trailhead 679187 4007602 2,179 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Trilobite Quarry 679138 4007070 2,297 0.33 0.33 GPS
01 Trailhead 679187 4007602 2,179 0.33 0.66 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 140915

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