Day 6 (Friday) Road trip: Hot Springs SD – Toadstools, Fossils, Scotts Bluff – Rawlins WY

First stop was a place called Toadstool Geological Park. Warning, to get here, you drive many miles on a dirt road. I believe it was 11 miles of dirt to the park and around 12 to get out on the other side (our direction to continue) to the highway. Fortunately the road is in good shape so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. This is a unique place of rock formations – a vast change from all the green ag lands you may be used to seeing. There is an honor system in place here for the fees. You can camp here as well or use it for day use hiking. There is a box on a post with envelopes to fill out with your dates/fees then you drop it with the money into a post. The day use fee was $3 and I believe it was $15 per vehicle per night to camp. As you move out to the trail, there is another spot at the gate to fill out a slip as to where you plan to go. We opted for the short walk since we had a couple of other stops planned for the day.

Further down the road we stopped at Agate Fossil National Monument and as much as I hate to say it, we found it to be disappointing. There is no charge here. There is a building with some fossils, dino skeletons, and Native American display. As well, there are two trails, but as far as fossils go, there wasn’t much to it. And now we know.

Now it was on to Scotts Bluff National Monument which is on the Old Oregon Trail. There was no charge here either. There is a ranger station when you enter and they asked if we had been there before, gave us a map and suggested if we had time to drive to the summit for the views then come back down and stop at the Visitors Center. We did exactly that. From the summit you can see what’s left of the Chimney. The visitor’s center has a lot of info/pictures etc. of the old trail and info on how long it would have taken pilgrims to get from here to the West. There is a trail from the visitor’s center. I’m not sure how long it was, but it winds up the mountain (and passes through it) up to the summit from what I could see.

And lastly we made our way to Rawlins, WY for the night. Entered back into Wyoming, and saw more antelope on the way.

Days 7/8 headed home…. will post soon

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