North of Canon City and west of Colorado Springs about an hour is the tiny town of Florissant. The beautiful valley surrounding this town holds petrified redwoods and detailed fossils of ancient insects and plants. About 35 million years ago, enormous volcanic eruptions buried the valley. A lake formed, and the fine-grained sediments at its bottom compacted into layers of shale, preserving these delicate organisms as fossils. The National Monument has yielded over 50,000 museum pieces of over 1,700 species of plants and animals. The most unique items here are the petrified redwood trees – which are now found only in a small area of California.