If you’re looking for a state that has some fantastic fossils in the eastern side of the country, one of the best choices is the Keystone State, Pennsylvania. Drive down just about any highway or state road in the area and chances are you’ll find a road cut that has some fossils from the Devonian Era for you to find. Just be sure that you aren’t trespassing, and that you’re keeping your safety, and the safety of others, in mind.
Unlike many states, Pennsylvania does allow for fossil collection in designated parks and areas. While I haven’t been to these locations in quite a few years, I remember them being some of the best places to find some great fossils. However, since things change over time, be sure to check with the authorities to make sure that fossil collection is still allowed.
Located just northeast of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, off of Interstate 81, Swatara Gap is home to the Fossil Pit, a place where people of all ages can come and collect various marine fossils from the Devonian Era. Originally located as a road cut near Interstate 81, the original site became so popular that avid fossil collectors actually started to undercut the road making it unsafe! So instead of allowing that to happen, excavators moved the road expansion excavation material, fossils and all, to the new location.
Another great place to hunt for fossils in Pennsylvania is the man-made lake that was created in a fossil bed! Located in the central region of the state, this park is centered around Beltzville Lake, which was originally the site of a quarry. Fossils can be abundant here if you know where to look. Often simply wading out into the water and looking around is enough to find a treasure!
Located in the valley of the infamous and very fun Youghiogheny River (commonly referred to as the “Yawk” by people who enjoy whitewater rafting), this park is a fantastic place to not only do plenty of outdoor activities but also do some serious fossil collection. While the fossils may be small, if you take the time to look for them, the number of marine fossils is substantial. Just keep your eyes open as you visit the park!
What are some of your favorite places to hunt fossils in Pennsylvania?
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