This 10,000-acre landscape is celebrated for its rugged and scenic wonders, including 7,000-foot Angel Peak. Managed by the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management, there are overnight camping and picnic areas available.
About 70 million years ago it was! Then the oceans withdrew and the dinosaurs that once ruled the earth vanished, scientists are still not sure why. Then the face of the land changed, when between 50 and 30 million years ago the Rocky Mountains rose to the north and east and other mountains formed the west. New kinds of animals (the mammals) developed in these new lands. They had fur instead of scales and gave birth to live young instead of laying eggs. Plants were different too, as there was much more rain. Temperatures were more equable than they are now, as summers were cooler and winters were warmer.
As rains washed down into the San Juan Basin from surrounding mountains, the water carried with it sand and silt from the mountains. Streams and rivers formed, flowing into a rich land of grasslands, marshes, lakes and forests. Horses, camels, wild dogs, huge cats and bears (some looking very different from their descendants today) made this area home. Slowly the streams eroded the highlands and filled the basin with more than 10,000 feet of sand and silt.
Over time these deposits formed the layers of rock you see around Angel Peak. The top layer you can see is mostly sandstone, much harder than the siltstones and mudstones below it. And as generations of animals and plants lived and died here, they were buried in the sand and silt, then preserved as fossils.
You can see many kinds of fossils at Angel Peak Scenic Area: bones of animals, prints of leaves, and even whole branches and trunks of trees. If you are interested in
fossils, you can collect a limited amount of fossils of plants, insects, shell and petrified wood on BLM land. Under Federal Law, you CANNOT collect fossils of animals
with bones (vertebrates). You may not sell any fossil that you collect from Federal land.
Camp Sites consist of parking space with picnic table and metal BBQ pit.
Pavilions are covered picnic tables with metal BBQ pits.
|Sage Picnic Area
|Castle Rock Picnic Area & Overlook
|Cliffs Picnic Area
|Angel Peak Campground