Although you won’t find a brontosaurus thigh bone, it is relatively easy to find tropical ocean fossils at several state and local parks in Ohio. Among the fossil types you might find are Isotelus – the Ohio state fossil shown in the header above!
While most of northeast Ohio was covered in Glaciers during the Ice Age, and all ruffled up by the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the farmlands to our West are ripe for fossil hunting.
A Favorite Childhood Adventure!
The Fossil Park in Sylvania, OH
Be a fossil hunter at this Devonian Fossil Dig Site in Northwest Ohio near the Michigan Border, and near Toledo. Open to the public, this site is a treasure trove of fossils in this 5 acre, ADA-accessible rock quarry.
Caesar Creek State Park Fossils
This Ohio Sate Park is near Xenia and Lebanon Ohio, in the Southwest corner of the state. The park boasts crystal clear waters, boating, camping, and a lodge. What you won’t find ont the Ohio State Park Page is the abundance of fossils found at the park at the spillway.
While you can’t use tools, and need a permit to collect at the visitors center, there are an abundance of fossils- mostly ocean going items like trilobites, brachiopods, corals, bryozoans, gastropods, cephalopods and Crinoids.
The accessibility of the fossils is due to the creation/blasting of the spillway by the Army Core of Engineers back in the day…
Cowan Lake State Park Fossils
Camping and Cabins are available at this state park also near Cincinnati- very near Caesar Creek State Park listed above. This locations fossils are also found near the lake’s spillway. Special permission for collecting is required at the visitors center.
East Fork State Park
One of the largest Ohio State Parks, this nearly 5 thousand acre area offers a wide swath of outdoor opportunities, including of course camping, hiking, boating and…WiFi (listed on the state park page!)
The East Fork also has a spillway where fossils can be collected. Thank you once again dynamite (dynamite created the spillway in the rocks folks)! Again, special permission at the visitors center is required for fossil collecting.
Hueston Woods State Park
On the far edge of the state near Indiana you can find Hueston Woods State Park.
Hueston Lake State Park seems to be one of the only Ohio state parks that lists fossil hunting in their main description. There are several areas around the lake where rock strata are exposed, allowing for fossil finds! Collection rules for fossils are delineated at the Visitor Center.
Hueston Woods State Park Webpage
Oakes Quarry Park
located northeast of Dayton, this park was originally used to quarry limestone by a local cement company, the park includes foot and bridal trails that showcase exposed limestone fossils. It seems this park might be best to SPOT fossils in the stone, but likely not collection.
Trammel Fossil Park
Located within the city limits of Cincinnati suburb Sharonville, the TRammel Fossil Park is 10 acres that allows visitors to dig for fossils in a safe and accessible area. They claim a high number of fossils.. do check it out.
Sharonville Fossil Park Webpage
Now, this isn’t Ohio, and this isn’t a fossil park, it’s a city. But the strata exposed along roadsides within Ambridge Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, I have read, is supposed to be outstanding.. Just find a friend in Ambridge to show you around!