Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

Medicine Bow, Wyoming

Fossil Bone Cabin

A century-old cabin off of Highway 30 touts an unusual construction material: dinosaur bones. 

If you head east on Highway 30 outside of Medicine Bow, Wyoming, you won’t see much. Rocky hills and scrub grass dominate the arid landscape, and buildings or people are hard to come by.

It won’t take long, though, to find something interesting: a dusty sign about seven miles from the city reading “Dinosaur Graveyard,” and directing your gaze to a quarried hillside not open to the public because of its status as a paleontological dig site. Not too much further down the road is the reason that the dig site exists: an entire cabin made out of dinosaur bones.

Known somewhat informally as “Fossil Bone Cabin,” this odd property has existed in its current form for 80 years, and for most of that time, doubled as both a private residence and a makeshift fossil museum. The museum is now closed to the public but the cabin is still a private home, and all that remains of its once-public glory are faded signs attached to the building. One, reading “BELIEVE IT OR NOT,” was added when the building was included in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and the other signaling its former days as a museum.

The building itself is still standing and well-maintained, and though not quite as receptive to visitors as it has been in the past, its unique and frankly humorous place in history is still in plain sight.

In 1897 a paleontologist named Walter W. Granger discovered a cabin on a hillside shockingly constructed from dinosaur bones. To his further surprise, it wasn’t difficult to find out where the bones came from – a nearby hill was scattered with fossils, and he immediately set up a dig to excavate the site, which he appropriately named “Bone Cabin Quarry.”

That quarry is what is now referred to as a dinosaur graveyard on Highway 30 just before one reaches the fossil bone cabin. The original constructor of the cabin was unaware that they were working with fossilized dinosaur bone fragments – only that the nearby hills were full of the perfect sized rocks for constructing the cabin.

In 1933, the cabin was completed as it exists today, and has only had two owners in nearly a century. It is a standing relic of a simple time when one built their home out of whatever the land provided – even if what it provided was priceless fossilized artifacts.

Know Before You Go

You cannot see bone cabin quarry from the road. It is on private property about 15 miles away from the site of bone cabin on Highway 30.