Ammonite Falls is one of three significant waterfalls in a series of canyons sliced deeply into the thick loam and sedimentary bedrock of Mount Benson's northwestern foothills. This is a vertical place, its cliffsides studded with oceanic fossils.
Ammonite Falls is named for the fossils that inhabit the stack of sedimentary layers of rock kept slick by the falls. A brief foray into the rock matrix in the Benson Creek Falls Regional Park reveals a vast number of concretions, ball'o'fossils that can be broken open to reveal ancient life. Most concretions contain merely a protean speck, while others house ammonites, snail-like creatures similar in shape and form to the modern nautilus. These were very common in Paleozoic and Mesozoic oceans, 400 to 65 million years ago. Many large shells are embedded in the stone of the riverbed (one at least is as big around as a vinyl record, and a meter-across fossil was newly found in the area sometime around 2012).
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Ammonite Falls can be approached from several directions. The approach from Jameson Rd (east) is more straightforward, while the approach from Dumont Rd (west) is more interesting – but it's also somewhat labyrinthine.
High on Jinglepot Road, turn onto Kilpatick Rd., then take the first right onto Jameson Rd. Stay right and look for the Creekside Place Community Park parking lot. From here, you'll need to head west.
After Dumont Rd. forks with Biggs Rd., it climbs up toward "the Wastelands", where there is a motocross track. As the road climbs, there are several trailheads on the left. Most of these should take you to the falls, but the trails are confusing and a little counter-intuitive. Built in part by inmates of the Brannen Lake Prison, these trails have names like "Mary Jane Trail". Expect to criss-cross through steep, lush canyons. There are some dangerous, steep, slippery parts, so this approach is only recommended for those who are fully prepared and have lots of light.
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