A beautiful mountain valley just west of Pikes Peak holds spectacular remnants of the earth's prehistoric life. Huge petrified redwoods and incredibly detailed fossils of ancient insects and plants reveal a very different Colorado of long ago. Almost 35 million years ago, enormous volcanic eruptions buried the then-lush valley and petrified the redwood trees that grew there. A lake formed in the valley and the fine-grained sediments at its bottom became the final resting-place for thousands of insects and plants. These sediments compacted into layers of shale and preserved the delicate details of these organisms as fossils. The Florissant Fossil Beds are world-renowned, and in 1969 were set aside as a part of our National Park System; Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.