Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
One of our newest national parks sits just outside of Las Vegas, and is home to one of the richest Ice Age–era fossil beds in North America. Back in the 1960s, paleontologists, hypothesizing that the area contained evidence of human interaction with Ice Age megafauna, dug trenches to search for such evidence. Remains of homminids never appeared as hoped, but the search did turn up the bones of herds of columbian mammoths (six-foot tusks!), as well as fossils of giant sloths, Camelops, and American lions, among other enormous and extinct creatures. Elsewhere in the park, fossils are so prevalent visitors can see them right on the surface of the soil. Because the park is so new, it lacks facilities, trails, and even basic signage inside. Plans are in the works to build a handicapped-accessible path.