Almost every where you look within the Cincinnatian outcrop belt you can see fossils. They are in the rocks that line the stream bed. They are in the rocks along the road cuts. They occur in old railway cuts, along spillways at dammed lakes, at construction sites, and in your backyard. The opportunities for collecting fossils in the Cincinnati region are nearly endless.
However, not all locations are equally productive or safe for collecting. Here we provide a list of some key sites that provide both outstanding fossil diversity and collecting conditions safe for people of all ages and abilities.
Another great way to learn about fossil collecting in these rocks is to join the Dry Dredgers for their field trips and Beginner fossil classes.
Brookville Lake Dam (Franklin County, IN)
The high wall above the Dam exposes the Richmondian Waynesville, Liberty, and Whitewater Formations (C5 sequence). Additional exposures at the Dam outlet and road leading to the high wall expose strata of the C3 and C4 sequences. Brachiopods, bryozoans, crinoids, bivalves, and trilobites are typically found. Collecting rules apply, request collecting permission at the Visitor Center.
Ceasar’s Creek State Park Spillway (Clinton/Warren Counties, OH)
This site exposes Richmondian strata of the Waynesville, Liberty, and Whitewater Formations (C5 sequence) which includes abundant brachiopods, bryozoans, crinods, corals, and trilobites. The US Army Corps of Engineers allows fossil collecting in the Emergency Spillway near the Caesar Creek Dam. To collect fossils, you must first obtain a free permit from the visitor center.
Cowan Lake State Park (Clinton County, OH)
The Emergency Spillway near the Dam exposes Richmondian strata of the Liberty and Whitewater Formations (C5 sequence). Brachiopods, horn corals, and bryozoans are particularly abundant. Collecting rules apply, request collecting permission at the Visitor Center.
East Fork State Park (Clermont County, OH)
The Emergency Spillway near the Dam exposes Fairview and Bellevue Formations (C2 sequence). Brachiopods, bryozoans, crinoids, and trilobites are typically found. Collecting rules apply, request collecting permission at the Visitor Center.
Hueston Woods State Park (Preble/Butler Counties, OH) fossil collecting guide
Several locations in Hueston Woods State Park expose fossiliferous layers of the Richmondian (C5 sequence) strata. These locations yield brachiopods, bivalves, bryozoans, horn corals, crinoids and trilobites. Two localities occur along stream cuts near the north end of the lake and another collecting location is along the spillway at the south end of the lake. Stop by the Visitor Center for collecting rules.
Trammel Fossil Park (Hamilton County, OH)
Fossiliferous strata of the Fairview Formation, Miamitown Shale, and Bellevue Formation (C2 sequence) are well exposed in this location. Interpretive signs provide a key to the fossils and strata of this site.