U-Dig Fossils is a private, family run quarry west of Delta, Utah. Containing one of the world's richest deposits of trilobites, at this site you can dig and find your own fossils. The fossils are found in limestone shale rocks that split easily into flat sheets, revealing the trilobite fossils. Bring your own hammer, or U-Dig Fossils can provide one. If you want to dig deeper and remove fresh rock for yourself, larger tools are available. You don't need to do that, though. U-Dig regularly extracts fresh chunks of fossil-bearing rock with heavy equipment.
A form of invertebrate marine life, trilobites lived more than 500 million years ago. Today they are extinct. These hard-shelled prehistoric critters roamed the sea floor and coral reefs in search of food. They are one of the most popular fossils with collectors because there are so many varieties and they are often preserved in excellent condition.
The most common trilobite species found at the Quarry are: Asaphiscus wheeleri, Elrathia kingi, or Peronopsis interstricta. Alokistocare harrisi, Bolasidella housensis, and Olenoides nevadensis are some of the rarer species that have been found. Other fossils, including brachiopods, sponges, worm tracks, and phyllocarids, can be uncovered, but they are harder to come by.
The fossils range in length from an eighth of an inch, to two inches. Most visitors to the park find ten to twenty trilobites in a four-hour period. The U-Dig staff will roam the quarry area and are happy to show you how to find the richest veins of fossil-bearing rock. These men will you how to split the rock to find trilobites, and can help identify what you find.
There is forty acres at the quarry. Fresh rock is exposed with an excavator on a regular basis. The quarry can provide hammers to split the shale, buckets to hold your collection and to transport fossils to your vehicle in the parking area. They will provide digging instructions and assistance with finding and identifying fossils. There are toilet facilities at the quarry.
The U-DIG Fossils quarry opens for the season in the middle of March. Business hours are Monday through Saturday from 9am to 6pm.The quarry is closed on Sundays.
It is open on some holidays during the season. Please arrive at the quarry before 4pm, as it closes early if no one is present by then. Do not attempt to enter the quarry when it is closed.
The quarry is located approximately fifty two miles west of Delta, Utah. It is near Antelope Springs. It is approximately ninety miles from Provo to Delta and approximately one hundred and thirty miles from Salt Lake City to Delta. Once in Delta, travel thirty two miles west on Highway 6 / 50. At the Long Ridge Reservoir sign between mile markers 56-57, turn right. There is a U-DIG Fossils sign at this intersection. Then travel twenty miles down a well-maintained gravel road to reach the quarry. Any type of vehicle can travel this gravel road.
Tips for visiting the quarry - bring a pair of gloves to protect your hands. Garden gloves are adequate. Wear sturdy shoes to protect your feet from dust and sharp rock and bring a light jacket in case the weather changes. Depending on the time of your visit, you might want to bring beverages and a light lunch. Take plenty of water. It is also important to bring safety glasses. The quarry is not allowed to provide eye protection due to health concerns. Splitting rock can create shards of stone, which could injure your eyes if not protected. Inexpensive safety glasses are available at most hardware stores.
Pricing for the quarry is based on age and length of stay. Age groups are from 7 to 16, and 17 and older. There is no charge for children under six if accompanied by a paying adult. Length of stay charges are broken into two, four and eight hour time periods. Group discounts are available for ten or more. There is also a discount for Boy Scout groups and local school groups. A discount of 20% is available for Utah residents who can show a driver's license. The quarry accepts cash, checks, and all major credit cards. They prefer cash.
Leashed dogs are allowed at the quarry, be sure to bring extra water. There is plenty of room for RV's at the site. There is no organized camping; however much of the land around the U-DIG Quarry is BLM or public land. You can camp anywhere you want on BLM land. The camping is primitive camping only. Pick a spot below or above the U-DIG Quarry. The nearest food and gas is in Delta, fifty two miles away.
One online reviewer said, "I just got back from my second trip to U-dig fossil quarry. This time I found even more fossils than the last (in 2000), including a completely intact 2-inch Elraithia, and numerous complete baby Asaphiscus. I found 75+ complete to near complete trilobites in a 5 hour period. The guides are very helpful and will provide tools if you do not choose to bring your own. I recommend wearing mechanic's' gloves, as regular garden or work gloves will not allow for fine-tuning of rock matrix around your trilobite with the hammer. I think the most beautifully intact and well-preserved fossils can be found in the solid black rock but if you look in the softer layers you can occasionally find a nice specimen that just flakes right out of the matrix. My 4 year old son was a bit young to really get into this (at least after the first two hours we were there!) but enjoyed playing with trucks and sand toys in the dirt. Thanks for a great time, U-dig, we'll be back!!!''
Another reviewer said, "We made the long trip from Florida to the U-dig mine this August with the Fairygodmother Make A Wish Foundation. (Wish foundation for people with life limiting illness) The folks at U-dig were absolutely wonderful with making this happen for us. We can't thank these fine, thoughtful people enough, and would like to tell you about our wonderful experience at the U-dig mine.
The three of us, (Myself, my 6 year old son and wife) Stayed in Delta then got up early to beat the heat at the U-dig mine. The mine was easy to find, and the roads were passable by just about any kind of vehicle. There were several signs so the quarry was easy to find. It was cool when we arrived, and the staff was absolutely wonderful about showing us where and how to dig. Splitting the rock was not that hard, and the fossils were not hard to find. With a little looking you could find really beautiful specimens. About noon it became kind of hot, but not unbearable if you bring plenty of water and maybe some snacks. Be sure to bring sunscreen. We found around 30 really nice fossils in about 3.5 hrs. We only left the mine because my portable oxygen had run out! We would have loved to have stayed longer, it's quite addicting once the fossils start showing up, which is almost immediately.''