Hornbeck Wildlife Loop
In French, florissant means “flourishing” or “flowering.” Indeed, nearly 70 wildflower species flourish along Florissant National Monument’s Hornbek Wildlife Loop. The Hornbek name honors a plucky pioneer woman who raised four children in the historic 1878 log house that hikers discover about halfway into the loop. The circuit contains few ascending sections, making the loop a relaxing trail with less traffic than most in the monument. But the monument’s main claim to fame lies trapped in preserved volcanic ash—fossils embedded in the shale of an ancient lake. Giant redwoods and hardwoods rimmed the lake where a warm climate supported all kinds of life some 35 million years ago. Violent eruptions to the southwest trapped living tissue in the powder-fine lake sediments, creating a permanent record. A few of more than 60,000 collected fossil specimens preserved in shale are on display in the visitor center museum. Some of today’s wildflowers harken back to those 35-million-year-old fossils, including the wild rose found along the four-mile Hornbek Wildlife Loop. Wildflower alert: Fields of blue flax and a homestead yard of silverweed.
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Directions to: Hornbeck Wildlife Loopprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Skill Level||Easy to moderate|
|Season||Bloom is June to August|
|Top Elevation||8,560 ft|
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