When most rockhounds think of Ohio, the only stone that might come to mind is flint.
But, there’s an abundance of geological riches to this place beyond the Ohio State gemstone.
Here are 6 fantastic spots near Cincinnati to hunt for fossils.
Rockhounding Near Cincinnati
The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.
Famed for the finds made here, Trammel Park is a fantastic place to go if you’re looking for relics from a time long gone.
Among its lovely features, this park is inviting not only to the rough-and-tumble rockhound.
The safety and accessibility of this park allow it to cater to families looking to explore the rocky terrain.
The hill area on the lower side is perfect for the exploration of children.
Within the limestone and shale available at this location, there can also be found fossils that are representative of the Ordovician Period, a period in prehistoric times which occurred millions of years ago.
For the best of luck, try the hillside area of the park.
Although, at this point, visitors must understand: this side demands sturdy shoes for the trek up the jagged hills.
Due to these conditions, this portion is more suitable for older, more experienced rockhounds.
Admission to the park is completely free and the park is open through all four seasons.
So, if prehistoric fossils excite you, Trammel Park is only a drive away.
Rapid Run Creek
Trilobites are a group of extinct sea creatures and Rapid Run Creek is full of them.
Alongside more limestone, shale, and mudstone, the Creek allows for an adventurous search for these fossils, which can be found here in plenty.
This location is open to the public and it attracts visitors from all over the globe, guaranteeing a memorable time and a good fossil find.
Because of Rapid Run Creek and other locations like it, the trilobite is the Ohio State fossil.
To visit the creek, travel via Rapid Run road.
Only 15 minutes out of Cincinnati, this gorgeous creek carries no entry fees or parking fees.
With this information and a breathtaking world of discovery available to you, what’s stopping you from heading straight to Rapid Run Creek?
East Fork State Park
With an almost unbelievable size and the opportunity to hunt for marine fossils, this whopping 5,000-acre location allows the rockhounding adventurer who longs to experience a wide range of activities to have their cake and eat it, too.
The journey to this location is an easy half-hour drive from Cincinnati.
The park allows visitors to collect fossils.
However, one must receive a permit from the visitors’ center located at the park.
East Fork is unique because it has a designated spillway for the express purpose of collecting fossils.
Created during the Gold Rush of the late 1800s, the spillway caters to rockhounds seeking fossils from the Ordovician era, the period from which most Ohio fossils come.
This park is open to the public from January to December, but the park office functions Monday through Friday.
Fortunately, East Fork State Park draws no entry fees or parking charges.
For the rockhound seeking the serenity of green, crisp forests and babbling brooks, French Park is a necessary stop.
An exciting feature of this park is that it allows dog owners to bring their furry friends along for the adventure.
The multitude of creek beds at this park will be the center of attraction; here, the rockhound can seek out fossils.
The views afforded at the top of French Park’s hills are to die for, so after a jaunt at the creek, take a hike up to the top for an even greater reward.
To get to this 275-acre land of adventure, a short 15-minute drive from Cincinnati is all you need.
With no entry fees or parking fees, this enchanted woodland calls for a day of relaxing, serene exploration.
Prepare to walk a lot, but the wooden bridges, beaten paths, and expansive land all give a sense of whimsy that will enhance your rock-hounding experience.
Sharon Wood Gorge
A half-hour outside of Cincinnati lies a treasure trove of fossils.
Sharon Woods is a green mix of forests, hills, hiking trails, and other attractions.
But, for someone seeking prehistoric mementos, this location invites quality rockhounding.
Within the signature shale and limestone, Sharon Woods offers fossils.
This park opens from the time the sun rises until it sets, so you can go hunting for as long as you desire within park hours.
Sharon Woods charges Hamilton residents $3 for parking, but for the general public, the parking fee is $5 a day.
For the exploring family, the park offers an impressive array of features for explorers of all ages.
Thanks to the setup of this park, with its friendly paved paths and easy climbs, kids will love to seek out fossils with you!
Cowan Lake State Park
When it comes to fossils, Cincinnati really is the gift that keeps on giving.
And Cowan Lake State Park is a jewel in its crown.
Here, families can stroll in; no entry fees or parking charges are required.
Getting to this serene lake park will take an hour by car, so be ready for the journey.
Even with the inviting absence of fees, the park management does, however, require that diggers acquire a fossil collection permit.
This park also features a spillway with a surprising array of fossils.
Including marine fossils ranging from horn corals to bryozoans, this park has more than a thousand acres, wide open for exploration.
For pet owners, Cowan Lake also invites your beloved animals.
The park management also insists on the leashing of dogs for the safety of all visitors.
Thanks to the location of this park, the geological observations which can be made (while picking up fossils, of course) are immense.
For the rockhound visiting Cincinnati, a rich variation of parks, forests, and gorges, full of fossils, awaits!
With an extraordinary culture of openness and magnificent finds to be had, a trip through Cincinnati should be the next item on your itinerary.
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