Ladonia Chamber of Commerce

Ladonia Fossil Park



Ladonia National Fossil Day Events

  • Sunday, October 13, 10am At Ladonia Fossil Park & Hwy 34
  • Tailgate Fossil Show and North Sulphur River Exploration with Dallas Paleontological Society
  • Show free to all. Surface hunters invited to bring fossils for identification and their displays and join in the show.
  • Fatboys BBQ will have their concession wagon at the park from 11am to 1 pm.
  • Saturday, October 19, at Fannindel Gymnasium, 600 Mill St., Ladonia
  • 8-9am: Family Fossil Fun Day Registration, free event
  • 9am: Briefings on how to find fossils, safety at Ladonia Fossil Park, what to expect at the park
  • 9am: Kids Fossil Fun to include learning about fossils, crafts, and a sand pile fossil dig
  • 10am: Adjournment to Ladonia Fossil Park at North Sulphur River

Go to the link below for information on other Ladonia Outdoors Events on this date:

The park is open 365 days a year but hunting is determined by whether water is in raging flow. Due to safety issues, hunting is allowed only when the river is not flowing. Admission is free. The fossils date back about 80 million years or more. With a few exceptions, hunters may collect and take fossils out of the river. A fossil left in the riverbed or embankment will not be there after the next big rainfall due to extreme flow rate of the raging North Sulphur River. Exceptions are large museum worthy finds and unusual and rare specimens. For many years, the North Sulphur River has been an attraction for local fossil hunters, amateur and professional paleontologists, and various fossil, paleontological, gem and mineral groups and societies in Northeast Texas. More recently, it has attracted national attention.


Ladonia Fossil Park is a project of the City of Ladonia, Texas and is located two miles north of downtown Ladonia on Highway 34 north and west of the bridge spanning North Sulphur River. The park sits on the bank of the vast river channel and provides an entrance into canyon hunting grounds that have yielded a variety of fossils from the Cretaceous and Pleistocene Periods. The river banks and river bed provides fossil enthusiasts with surface area exceeding a thousand acres for hunting.

The channelized riverbed, dry most of the time, stretches a distance of about ten miles to the west of and ten miles to the east of Ladonia Fossil Park and is open year round for fossil hunting. The canyon is approximately 300 feet wide and 80 feet deep. Cretaceous fossils including mosasaurs and plesiosaurs are found in the bed while Pleistocene fossils including mastodons and mammoths are found in the banks. Of particular interest to serious fossil hunters are red bed outcroppings.

Ladonia Fossil Park Rules

The City of Ladonia is not responsible for accidents or injuries occurring on this property. Use of this property is at your own risk.

• Fossil collecting is allowed only within the river beds and banks.

• Parking permitted in designated area only.

• Possession/discharge of firearms, hunting and archery are prohibited.

• Possession/consumption of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs is prohibited.

• No pets allowed.


Enter and exit collecting area at designated points only. Area has dangerous drop offs, steep slopes and loose soil.


Encounters with dangerous insects/animals are possible.

Having fun finding fossils at North Sulphur River Canyon near the town of Ladonia in Fannin County will be the focus of weeklong activities as the area observes National Fossil Day starting Sunday, October 13th, and continuing through Saturday, October 19th. A Tailgating Fossil Show will begin the week on Sunday at Ladonia Fossil Park with fossil enthusiasts lead by the Dallas Paleontological Society displaying fossils and information about hunting of fossils. Fossil exploration in North Sulphur River Canyon will follow the midmorning show.

According to PK Kirkpatrick, chair of the Ladonia event, the Tailgate Show is a good time for fossil hunters to have their finds identified by knowledgeable paleontology experts. Dallas Paleontological Society President Stephan Gozdecki said his organization will also be selling its newly revised book, Fossil Collector’s Guidebook to the North Sulphur River, a reference guide to fossil identification for fossils from the Fannin, Delta, and Lamar Counties of Texas.

A Family Fossil Fun Day is slated for Saturday, October 19th. The day will focus on kids and new fossil hunters at NSR. It all begins in Ladonia at Fannindel School Gymnasium located at 701 Mill Street. A separate fossil program has been created by two Texas Master Naturalists who are childhood education specialists and will be held in a separate area of the building to focus on kids fossil activities and learning. Adults will gather in the gymnasium for introductory learning about the NSR and fossil and artifact hunting there. Then, the adults and kids will adjourn from the school for guided exploration at nearby North Sulphur River Canyon fossil beds. The North Sulphur River in southeast Fannin County is noted for CreItaceous Period marine megafossils such as mosasaurs and plesiosaurs and for Ice Age fossils such as mammoths and mastodons.

Registration at the Workshop will begin at 8:00 am and will continue to 9:00 am when the programs begin. Ladonia Mayor Jan Cooper will welcome adult visitors to Ladonia. Texas Master Naturalist Doug Franklin will give history of the NSR, and North Sulphur River fossil hunter and event chairman PK Kirkpatrick will address safety issues for safely hunting at Ladonia Fossil Park, aka Pete Patterson Fossil Park, and provide information on how to have a great hunt at the North Sulphur River Canyon. During the same time, kids will be talking about fossils, making artcraft fossils, and having sandbox fossil digs. At 10:30 am the group will adjourn for the guided exploration at Ladonia Fossil Park.

Partners joining the City of Ladonia to host the National Park Service sanctioned event include the Dallas Paleontological Society, and Texas Master Naturalist Bois d’ Arc Chapter and Blackland Prairie Chapter. Workshop chair, PK Kirkpatrick tells hunters, “While workshops of this caliber are usually with significant fee, these National Fossil Day events are free, thanks to a number of volunteers from our sponsoring organizations!”

In event of heavy rainfall, the river excursions will be postponed. Event Chair Kirkpatrick said those going on the excursion need to pack water, wear close-toed shoes or mud boots or mud wading shoes if the area should be so lucky to have had recent rainfall, and those with arthritic knees, ankles, backs, and mobility problems may want to stay topside at the park and not enter the river bed because of steepness and height of steps at the park.

For more information on the event, call Ladonia City Hall at 903-367-7011.

Ladonia Chamber of Commerce