Kemmerer, Wyoming is known as the Fossil Fish Capital of the World due to its proximity to the ancient Fossil Lake. Here, professional and amateur diggers can claim 50 million-year-old fossil fish, mammals, reptiles, and other creatures that are extremely well-preserved. In fact, the National Parks Service created the second national monument in Wyoming nearby in the 1970s as a tribute to the immense scientific and cultural value of these ancient specimens. In 2017, Fossil Butte National Monument was named the #5 Top Tourist Attraction in Wyoming by USA Today.

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Cockerellites liops, a common fossil fish found near Kemmerer.

Kemmerer is home to more rock and fossil shops per capita than anywhere else in the world, and visitors can dig and keep their own fossils.  

A French tourist digs for fossils near Kemmerer, Wyoming.

The area also has its own colorful and storied past. For example, the J.C. Penney Company started here over 100 years ago when a young mercantilist named James Cash Penney opened his first store in downtown Kemmerer, then called “The Golden Rule.”


During Prohibition, Kemmerer became the regional hub for moonshine making. Tunnels, old stills, and other relics of the moonshine era can still be found in Kemmerer and Diamondville.