I've collected fossils from private land before, but this is the only public fossil bed in the entire US. I've wanted to visit for a long time. So on a lark we set off one cold, rainy Saturday.
Once you get to the town, just drive around for a few minutes and you'll spot the high school. It has an informational sign that talks a little about the fossils found there. Anyone can walk up to the hill and start digging, year round. They ask for a $5 donation per person, that each person only take two handfuls of fossils and that everyone dig gently with small tools.
I didn't even bring any tools. I spent about 45 minutes sorting through the pieces of rock already on the surface of the dig site, and doing a little bit of digging with my fingers to pry new rocks out of the clay. Here's what I came home with:
Bagged me some metasequoia and alder leaves. I'm sure if I'd brought tools and dug down I would have found some even better.
If you ever get the chance to visit, do it! If you visit while it's raining, though, learn from our mistakes: wear boots. The soil is that special sticky clay that clings in giant clumps to shoes and dog fur like dinglehoppers on steroids.