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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada


    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Quinn View Post
    What happened to:

    "Next up: More from Kingman and beyond."

    I was looking forward to that section, since it includes some of my late in-laws favorite rock hounding sites. Was it excluded accidentally?

    Rick, Operator-error (mine). It's there, post #5.


  2. Default Southern Colorado (Durango, San Juan Mountains, Cortez, Silverton, Walsenburg)

    Southern Colorado

    Southern Colorado rests at the extreme north-east of the Southwest. This thread defines the Southwest as below the 38th parallel. That line runs through or near towns like Ouray, Moffat, San Gabriel, and Rocky Ford. Most important collecting localities exist above the 38th. Geology
    Professor Richard Pearl described Colorado as having more mineralized ground than any other state, save California. Kevin Singel’s 2018 Finding Gold in Colorado is the best and most current writing on finding gold in this state.

    La Plata

    Four Corners Gem and Mineral Club
    2351 N Main (In Brookside Park)
    P.O. Box 955
    Durango, CO 81302
    Field trips, classes, lapidary shop. Since 1947. Join if thinking about Colorado rockhounding.
    Their newsletters keep one informed about collecting localities, local geology, and more. Their
    simple mission: “Collect and identify rocks, gems and minerals.”
    37░17.360' N 107░52.570' W

    The San Juan Mountains

    Professor Pearl maintained that not a single acre of tillable land existed in all of the San Juan Mountains. Instead, the mines of the mountains and their dumps yield “All of the important ore minerals of gold, silver, lead, copper, zinc, tungsten, manganese, and others.” The San Juan
    National Forest is all around Silverton, Telluride and Ouray and should be investigated.

    San Juan National Forest
    15 Burnett Court
    Durango, CO 81301
    37░16.405' N 107░53.591' W
    1.8-million-acre forest in Southwest Colorado spread over 10 counties.

    Mineral County (Creede)

    Last Chance Mine
    504 Last Chance Mine Road
    Creede, CO 81130
    37░ 53.035' N 106░56.197' W
    The Last Chance Mine is only open in summer when the snow retreats at 10,000 feet and rockhounds can advance. Underground tours conducted and a gift store. Rustic, picturesque property. Surface collecting on dumps allowed in the past but now dependent on the current
    owner. Sowbelly agate with amethyst the mine’s notable material. Look at for the mine’s geology. It is several miles north of Creede past the Bachelor Town site. Check road directions at their website.

    Wolf Creek Pass, San Juan Mountains
    Noted collecting locality of agate nodules and unusual minerals on US 160. This pass is at 10,857 feet, crossing the Continental Divide. Summer travel only.
    37░26.976' N 106░52.865' W
    Treasure Falls Locality of Wolf Creek Pass is nearby.
    37░26.933' N 106░52.766' W
    Consult for present land status. Check for known minerals

    Montezuma County (Cortez)

    San Juan Gems (Rock shop and more)
    11523 Highway 145
    Cortez, CO 81321
    37░22.771' N 108░33.293' W
    Larry Sanchez, G.G., is the principal here, a lifetime with rocks and gems and lapidary. Larry is a master silversmith as well as an accomplished cutter and polisher. Dino bone authority. San Juan Gems is the most important rock shop in the Four Corners area and in Southern Colorado overall. Over 40 years in business.

    Gem Village – Only a memory, on the road to Durango
    America’s first organized rock colony. Today, only Tucson in winter can compare to the spirit and camaraderie that existed at Gem Village sixty years ago. Gem Village sat on US 160, 18 miles east of Durango. Beth Simmons wrote a nostalgic piece on it in “America’s Only
    Rockhound Colony,” which appeared in the August, 2016 issue of Rock&Gem Magazine. Still listed on many maps.

    Saguache County (Saguache)

    The ghost settlement of Beidell, as Richard Pearl described it, is for the adventuresome only. I have not been there. Pearl described its location by starting from La Garita and then proceeding some nine miles from there. He thinks the location is also called the Carnero Locality. It may now be accessible only by hiking trail.

    Amethyst was noted in the area well as fluorescent aragonite and other interesting minerals. Get his Colorado Gem Trails and Mineral Guide which was published in 1972 by Sage Books. The 1967 Lime Creek 7.5-minute topo is the appropriate map, available at the USGS store. The locality should be in Township 43 N., R. 6 E., near the head of Beidell Creek. Pearl describes it as a routine stop for rock clubs. Some information at

    San Juan County (Silverton)
    This author’s personal reference collection of rare earth and radioactive minerals includes two specimens from San Juan County. The first is torbernite on sandstone from the Happy Jack Mine. The second is Schr÷ckingerite from the old Mi Vida Mine Complex in the Lisbon Valley.

    Old Hundred Gold Mine
    721 County Road A
    Silverton, CO 81433
    37░49.446' N 107░35.106' W
    Underground mine tours into Galena Mountain. Operating equipment on view.

    San Juan County Historical Society Mining Heritage Center
    1557 Greene Street, Courthouse Square
    Silverton, CO 81433
    37░48.920' N 107░39.713' W
    Seasonal hours.

    Huerfano County (Walsenburg)

    The Walsenburg Mining Museum

    112 West Fifth Street
    Walsenburg, Colorado 81089
    719-738-1992 (Seasonal)
    37░37.505' N 104░46.923' W
    Located in an 1896 jail. Huerfano County's mining camp history and memorabilia.

    Next up: Southern Nevada and beyond.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-23-2023 at 07:19 AM.

  3. Default Southern Nevada: Las Vegas, Pahrump, Gold Field, Tonopah, & Pioche

    Southern Nevada

    The northern limit for this book is the 38th parallel. In Nevada that line runs between Goldfield
    and Tonopah.

    Any southern Nevada traveler should consult Although not a rockhounding
    site, provides tremendous coverage of many areas a rockhound may venture
    to, with GPS coordinates and location photos. Produced by Jim Boone, professional ecologist.
    An essential resource. A note here.

    Nevada has outlawed uncapped PVC pipes used as claim markers. These trap birds, condemning
    them to death when they drop into the pipes looking for nesting cavities. Other small animals can
    get trapped, too. It is legal to remove these markers when found and Jim and his people have
    done a great job of removing most of them from Clark and Lincoln Counties. If you find one and
    are uncomfortable removing it, notify Jim through his website about its location. He will thank

    Rockhounding Nevada by William Kappele is a recommended but dated hardcopy book to collecting sites.

    Clark County (Las Vegas)
    The United States owns about 85% of Clark County land. Air Force bases, three large National
    Recreational Areas, a National Wildlife Refuge, and the Nevada National Security Site remove
    vast land from rockhounding. The vast and remote Gold Butte National Monument offers the
    greatest rockhounding opportunity for casual, non-commercial collecting.

    BLM’s BLM’s Red Rock/Sloan Field Office at 1000 Scenic Loop Drive in Las Vegas manages the Red
    Rock Canyon National Conservation Area which prohibits collecting. They do sell maps.

    Humboldt-Toiyabe is the largest National Forest in the lower 48 states. It occurs as a collection
    of scattered lands from Reno to Las Vegas. Multiple hardcopy maps needed for travel. Over six
    million acres. Aside from NRAs, usual National Forest collecting rules apply.

    The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest District Office at 4701 N. Torrey Pines Dr. in Las Vegas
    manages the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area which prohibits collecting. They do
    sell maps.

    The Springs Preserve
    333 S. Valley View Blvd.
    Las Vegas, NV 89107
    36░10.346' N 115░11.411' W

    Nevada State Museum
    Located on the grounds of The Springs Preserve, this State Museum in Las Vegas has a number of earth science exhibits including displays on geology, fossils, and rocks and minerals. A small but excellent fluorescent room.

    The Nature Exchange
    The Nature Exchange is off to the side of the Spring Preserve’s gift shop, a trading post for
    children for rocks, shells, insect parts, plant parts and fossils. The Exchange emphasizes the
    importance of documenting finds, good advice for anyone going into the field.

    The Springs Preserve price structure is confusing. Ask first as to what is being paid for, the
    museum, the grounds, or both.

    Cactus Joes — (aka Blue Diamond Nursery)
    12740 Blue Diamond Rd.
    Las Vegas, NV 89161
    36░02.370' N 115░22.038' W

    Cactus Joes is a wonderful plant nursery. They are Nevada’s best and largest authorized dealer of Joshua Trees. They also carry rocks, some rough, some slabs. Much unlabeled, all of it fun. Seek out Cactus Joe himself for a good rock talk. Tell him Tom Farley apologizes for not being
    around again and that I have some rose quartz for him.

    Jewelry and Mineral of Las Vegas
    410 East Sahara Ave.
    Las Vegas, NV 89104
    36░08.631' N 115░09.130' W
    Interesting rock shop located very close to the Vegas Strip.

    Southern Nevada Gem and Mineral Society
    3111 S. Valley View #E125
    Las Vegas, Nevada 89102
    36░09.697' N 115░06.559' W

    This is a club well worth joining if living or visiting in Southern Nevada. Has an agate claim
    near the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. A fine club workshop. Check their website before
    going to the shop to avoid certain parking spaces.

    Visual Rock ID Sessions in Las Vegas
    University of Nevada at Las Vegas
    4505 S Maryland Pkwy
    Las Vegas NV 89154
    36░06.351' N 115░08.503' W

    Lily Fong Geosciences Building
    36░06.508' N 115░08.458' W
    Held while classes are going on in the fall, winter, and spring, these visual rock identification
    sessions are very valuable. I have gone to several sessions, particularly to talk with PhD student
    Drew Barkoff who is a friend of my book. I’d stress that you should bring in as much
    information as you can about your specimen’s locality. The geology of an area determines what
    can be found in that area.

    A geologic map or a small printout of same, no matter how simple, will help tremendously. You
    can find those at either or especially I
    once brought in a rock from Plymouth, California and did not and could not expect anyone there
    to know area’s geology. Bring a map of the collecting area if possible. Oh, and a small flashlight
    since the conference room is dim. And a hand lens. They have simple test tools like streak plates.

    At the above link you will find a link to a .pdf file that explains basic rock ID.

    Parking is tough. Many meters accept quarters but in some lots you will get only 10 minutes to a
    quarter. On many of those meters they have a credit card system in place. You call the number
    on the meter and voice prompts walk you through a ten-minute process to register your credit
    card, take down your license plate, and so on. It is frustrating and lengthy to set up the first time, considering you will be in full sun the entire duration. If you return at a later date your account will be established and it will be just a matter of calling the number back. There may be other parking options so, again, check the official UNLV link above.

    If you have a large or heavy rock, bring a cart or hand truck. The Geosciences Building can be a
    long walk from wherever you wind up parking. Everything is on the first floor and handicap
    accessible. There is an outstanding display of rocks and minerals on the first floor and I noticed
    that they have replaced all of the overhead lighting this semester. Things look great. The
    Geosciences Building is worth a visit just to check out this collection. All campus staff is
    friendly and people will happily point you out to the right building.

    Gold Searchers of Southern Nevada
    Non-profit organization based in the Henderson. Monthly outings as weather permits. Has a
    claim adjacent to the Nye Gold Seekers’ claim in the Johnnie Mining District outside of
    Pahrump in Nye County. Many people have memberships in both clubs.

    Clark County Museum
    1830 South Boulder Highway
    Henderson, NV 89002
    36░01.27266' N 114░57.679' W
    This is a complex rather than a solitary building housing a museum. Thirty acres in all. The Jilly
    Bean exhibit showcases Nevada hard rock mining in general and southern Nevada in particular.
    Invertebrate marine fossils are featured in another display. These can still be collected in parts of southern Nevada. Specimens include trilobites, sponges, crinoids, and brachiopods.

    El Dorado Canyon Mine Tours
    16880 NV-165
    Searchlight, NV 89046
    35░42.611' N 114░48.225' W
    “Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours is based in Eldorado Canyon at the historic Techatticup Mine. It's
    the oldest, richest and most famous gold mine in Southern Nevada. Just 45 minutes from the
    Strip in Las Vegas. We provide historic mine tours, photo shoots, movie backdrops and
    canoe/kayak rentals.”

    Tours go out from the picturesque road stop, Nelson, Nevada. Despite the address, they are not in Searchlight. A maps provided at the website. Nelson is a collection of old buildings, rusting cars, ancient mining equipment, old gasoline station signs, and every kind of now collectible discard from generations ago. A great location for trying out one’s camera lenses and shooting
    techniques. Call to make sure mine tours are on. The thing to know is that the entire "mine town" was created for effect. None of the buildings were there originally and despite their claims, their property does not include any of the actual Techatticup Mine. The mine tour is done in a shaft created to look like a historic mine.

    The First Lode Mine in Nevada
    Mormon pioneers settled present day Las Vegas in 1855. With the help of a Paiute guide, a small
    scouting party discovered what was eventually called the Potosi Mine in the nearby Spring
    Mountains. It produced lead, although it smelted poorly. The ore proved unsatisfactory in the
    main, never-the-less, on the return to Utah two years later, several tons of it were hauled 450
    miles across the Great Basin to Salt Lake. The ore was eventually used to make tools, paint, and
    bullets. Later miners successfully developed a zinc mine at the Potosi. Fluorescent mineral
    collectors, therefore, may be interested in the area, check land status first. The entire area
    eventually become the Potosi Mining District. A Nevada Historical Marker stands along Nevada
    Route 160 commemorating the efforts of these early miners.

    The mine itself is on a rugged off-pavement road in an area with no cell phone coverage.
    36░00.062' N 115░29.125' W (Marker location)

    Gold Butte National Monument
    36░43.906' N 114░13.088' W — Crossroads of Gold Butte Road and HWY 170

    This 300,000-acre National Monument allows casual collecting of rocks and minerals. It’s said
    that Gold Butte offers a tremendous variety of minerals but none in paying quantities. Materials
    previously mined include gold, mica, silver, lead, magnetite, copper and zinc. A century ago, the
    Gold Butte area had a recognized mining district. Jim Boone’s site is the best guide to this
    remote, service-free area. Past president of The Friends of Gold Butte, Boone describes rock art,
    wildlife, cultural resources, camping opportunities, and much more.

    Do not expect to average more than fifteen miles per hour on Gold Butte’s roads. This makes it
    difficult to experience the area as a day trip, since one has to drive hours to get to the
    Monument’s interior. It is really best for camping, preferably several days. Bring everything
    needed. Avoid summer. Large RVs are not recommended as the roads are too jarring to handle
    hour after hour. The Friends of Gold Butte produces the best map.

    Friends of Gold Butte
    12 West Mesquite Boulevard, Suite 106
    Mesquite, NV 89027
    702-613-5875 – telephone number for the Friends, not necessarily the center
    36░48.218' N 114░04.110' W

    This center relates the “The geology, ecology, and human habitation of Gold Butte.” Sells the
    latest and most detailed Gold Butte map. Absolutely essential for travel in the Monument. But it
    may not be available online and the center is closed on weekends. E-mail or call first.

    Esmeralda County (Goldfield)

    Located at the northern boundary of the Southwest is Goldfield, Nevada. Goldfield is Esmeralda’s County seat, the county having no more than 4,000 citizens. Goldfield is
    wonderfully picturesque and quiet. Wild burros, sometimes antelope in the fields. No gas. Fuel
    up in Beatty or Tonopah before arriving.

    Gemfield Nevada Chalcedony Rock Hounding Site
    Near Goldfield, Nevada off of U.S. 95
    37░44.370' N 117░17.642' W (Claim information board)

    The Gemfield Gem claims are a premier source of chalcedony, quartz of many banded and
    swirling colors. Makes for fine cabochons and tumbling material. Well graded road leading to
    the claim area, entry sign prominently marked along U.S. 95. No large RVs but passenger
    vehicles will have no problems.

    These claims have a long and storied history. This author wrote about them in the May, 2016
    issue of Rock&Gem Magazine. The owners are Sharon Artlip and her sister Nadiah Beekum,
    with rock shop Bryan Smalley assisting. All details and directions are at the claim’s website:

    This is a self-directed fee-dig operating under the honor system. Rocks are $1.00 a pound.
    Register before proceeding to the claim at Wild Inspirations or at Hidden Treasures Trading
    Company at 489 Bellevue Avenue.

    Please note that Sharon is open to custom tumbling. The ground at the claim is littered with small pieces that make for fine tumbles. Spend several hours at the claim to make sure you find the spots where green, red, light blue, and cream-colored stones appear.

    Wild Inspirations
    306 Crook Avenue
    P.O. Box 121
    Goldfield, NV 89013
    37░42.560' N 117░14.284' W

    Has some rocks, some collected by them. You can register here for digging at the Gemfield
    Claims. This building was formerly Sharon’s and still has “Gemfield Headquarters” at the top of
    the building.

    Hidden Treasures Trading Company
    489 Bellevue Avenue
    P.O. Box 512
    Goldfield, NV 89013
    37░42.220' N 117░14.066' W

    Bryan Smalley runs one of the Southwest’s most eclectic rock and gift shops. He is expert on
    local rockhounding and accomplished at cutting and lapidary. He does knapping and can talk
    authoritatively on making flintlock strikers from locally collected chalcedony. It is sometimes
    difficult to find him at his shops, three buildings in total.

    Ask locals where Bryan is if you can’t find him. Try the Dinky Diner. Goldfield citizens won’t
    mind your asking; they are quite friendly. Bryan has a minimal web presence since he focuses on finding rocks and cutting same. And making doors and entire buildings. Make sure to stop when investigating the Gemfield Gem claims. Tell him Tom said “Hi” and if you have a rock that
    needs cutting, ask him if he has the time. Oh, and buy something!

    Florence and Rustler #2 Mine Tours
    Call or text for information and reservations:
    James Aurich: 702-622-0500
    Jon Aurich: 702-622-1344
    Guided surface and underground tours by appointment. The surface tour views head frames,
    hoist houses, the black shop and more. Great views of the surrounding country, pockmarked like the moon with old mines the craters. One mile from Goldfield on an easy dirt road. Private
    residence on site. Those with mobility issues should bring up their condition with the owners
    before visiting.

    This page linked below contains photos and mine history. Information on the Florence exists in
    different places on the web, including

    Lincoln County (Pioche)

    Clover Mountains Wilderness Area
    Twelve miles south of Caliente off of State Route 317 lies the Clover Mountains Wilderness
    Area. Rhyolite in shades of, pink, yellow, red, orange and brown. Look for petroglyphs and
    37░24.338' N 114░19.618' W (Center of WA)

    BLM Oak Springs Trilobite Site
    Highway 93 (The Great Basin Highway)
    Caliente, NV 89008
    37░36.821' N 114░42.681' W

    BLM managed collecting site open to the public free of charge. Mostly partial trilobites here but
    finding a full bug will take luck, patience, and time. No services but well-marked trail. The site is
    not in Caliente but 11 miles west near the Oak Springs Summit. A brick hammer works better
    than a geologist’s pick for splitting shale.

    Mineral County (Hawthorne)

    Rock Chuck Gem and Mineral Gallery
    4045 S. Highway 95
    Schurz, Nevada 89427

    This is the store of John and Chelsea Keady. Rock Chuck isn’t in the Southwest but it is a
    mandatory stop leaving or approaching the Southwest. It is outside of Schurz, Nevada, a tiny
    town 34 miles north of Hawthorne, Nevada, 90 miles south of Reno. Their store is at the
    intersection of South Highway 95 (Alternative) and US-95 itself.

    Chelsea and John are miners, lapidary artists, rockhounds, and all-around good people. Bryan
    Smalley affectionately refers to them as “The Kids.” These young people signal a bright future
    for the rock and gem trade.

    They built their store themselves and everything that goes in it. They sell material they have
    either personally sourced or dug themselves. That includes Green Mist variscite and Hellfire
    agate. They carry many local rocks and gem material and fashion much of that into jewelry. John and Kelsea sell ready-made jewelry at the shop and they are always ready to do commission work.

    The Keady’s are now keeping the store open more often. Call first, though, to make sure they are there, and not off on one of their claims. If you can't visit them at the shop, you might catch them at Quartzsite in January. They try to get there each year.

    This store is a memorable stop on any drive from Las Vegas to Reno, or on any travel through
    central Nevada. Rockchuck is big on Facebook so check them out there if you want to keep up
    with their latest happenings. They have a nice dog.

    Nye County (Pahrump)

    BLM Pahrump Field Office
    4701 North Torrey Pines Drive
    Las Vegas, NV 89130
    36░14.718' N 115░14.038' W

    Nye Gold Seekers
    Pahrump Valley Museum
    401 E. Basin Ave.
    Pahrump, NV 89060
    775 751-8613
    36░13.172' N 116░00.335' W

    Great gold prospecting club with a Johnnie Mining District claim. Their general meetings are
    held at 2:00 PM on the third Saturday of the month except for June, July and August. The
    address listed above is for their meeting place. Local club membership is great, especially for
    newcomers. Learn on productive ground from the old-timers. Drywashing, metal detecting,
    panning, are all things you can learn at a club.

    The Tonopah Historic Mining Park
    Tonopah Historic Mining Park
    110 Burro Avenue
    P.O. Box 965
    Tonopah, NV 89049
    775- 482-9274
    38░04.136' N 117░13.801' W

    Tonopah was America’s last great gold and silver strike. You've heard about the Gold Rush of
    1849, the Comstock, and the Klondike. But there was also Tonopah in 1900 and for years
    thereafter. The visitor center and the park grounds highlight this stupendous and spectacular hunt for those precious metals at the turn of the century. Five-dollar admission.

    The park is right behind the extremely comfortable and period correct Mizpah Hotel. The
    entrance road is best approached in larger vehicles by Burro Street. The visitor center parking lot has room for two or three RVs and the exit road is a pull-through, so there is no worry about
    having to back up.

    The grounds offer a self-guided tour. Pick up a map at the visitor center which also houses a
    terrific rock, gem, and mineral museum. As for the grounds, hiking the park at 6,000 feet can be tough at times but take it slow and bring some water. Great opportunities for photographs.

    For those out of shape or mobility challenged, tours on a Polaris with a guide can be arranged. Call for current availability and charges.

    After a visit, top your tank since the nearest gas stations are 100 miles north and south of town.
    Also consider visiting the Central Nevada Museum before you leave, the city's best kept secret.
    They do have rocks.

    Next up: New Mexico and beyond.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-23-2023 at 07:18 AM.

  4. Default New Mexico: Albuquerque, Grants, Roswell, Carlsbad, Deming, Socorro, Taos, Portales

    New Mexico

    Rockhounding New Mexico by Ruta Vaskys and Martin Freed is an essential guide to collecting sites. A Falcon book. Watch for tribal land when traveling in any state in the Four Corners Area.

    These sovereign nations must be respected: no rockhounding, no traveling off main roads, no hiking or exploring without express permission and perhaps a guide. An excellent road map of the Navajo and Hopi Nations is produced by North Star Mapping of Scottsdale, Arizona. Some
    nav devices like my Garmin Montana 650 tell me when I am on tribal land, but only the bigger reservations and pueblos.

    Bernalillo County (Albuquerque)

    Mama’s Minerals
    800 20th St NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87104
    35░06.011' N 106░40.028' W
    Mama’s is a leading New Mexico rock shop, two stores, actually, the other in Santa Fe.

    University of New Mexico
    Earth & Planetary Sciences
    The Silver Family Geology Museum (Northrop Hall, Room #124)
    Albuquerque, NM 87106
    35░04.996' N 106░37.370' W

    Geology museum. One exhibit features rocks and minerals from the Harding Pegmatite Mine, worth seeing before visiting that site. Wide range of materials displayed including a fluorescent room. A hallway on the first floor also has some nice displays but at last visit were poorly lit. Bring a flashlight.

    New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
    1801 Mountain Road NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87104
    35░05.901' N 106░39.953' W
    Natural history museum. Life on earth and possibly beyond. Exhibits on dinosaurs, fossils, space sciences and more. Perfect for kids.

    Cibola County (Grants)

    New Mexico Mining Museum
    100 Iron Avenue
    Grants, NM 87020
    35░09.223' N 107░51.278' W

    This is New Mexico’s official mining museum, the counterpart to the state’s Mineral Museum two hours south in Socorro. The focus here is on the working end of mining. Emphasizes life in Grants and Cibola Counties when the uranium boom hit in the 1950s.

    Chaves County (Roswell)

    Ancients of Days
    127 N Main Street
    Roswell, New Mexico 88203
    33░23.656' N 104░31.341' W

    Eclectic rock shop and source for information on finding “Pecos Diamonds” on nearby BLM land. Close to the International UFO Museum and Research Center.

    Do˝a Ana County (Las Cruces)

    Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument
    Non-commercial collecting allowed as of this writing. This according to Colin R. Dunn,Paleontologist/Geologist for Prehistoric Pathways and Organ MT-Desert Peaks National Monuments.
    32░19.555' N 106░33.390' W — Center of Monument area

    Rockhounding in the northern Organ Mountains was featured in the August, 2019 issue of Rock&Gem Magazine. Robert Beard wrote the article entitled “Northern Organ Mountains.” It describes looking for garnets, calcite, and malachite.

    Las Cruces District Office

    1800 Marquess Street
    Las Cruces, NM 88005
    32░17.265' N 106░46.621' W
    Manages the above listed National Monuments.

    Eddy County (Carlsbad)

    Carlsbad Caverns National Park
    32░10.839' N 104░26.674' W
    Internationally known cave complex.

    Cerrillos Turquoise Mining Museum
    17 Waldo Street
    Cerrillos, NM 87010
    35░26.230' N 106░07.656' W

    Mine tour is $60.00. No collecting.

    Luna County (Deming)

    Deming Gem and Mineral Society
    4200 Raymond Reed Blvd.
    Deming, NM 88030

    Well worth joining if visiting this great collecting area.

    Rockhound State Park

    9880 Stirrup Road SE
    Deming, NM 88030
    32░12.458' N 107░37.531' W
    “This is the only place in New Mexico and one of only two places in the U.S. where you can take something from a state park,” says Manager Robert Apodaca to the Albuquerque Journal. “The most prevalent thing that’s readily available for surface collecting is jasper.” Visitors to the park also find geodes and thunder eggs, perlite and quartz, Apodaca says.

    Ask on arrival whether anything beyond surface collecting is permitted. Has steep, cactus studded hills. May need to watch where the kids play. A great place to camp for a few days of hiking and rockhounding. Bring boots! The visitor center has a good rock collection showing
    what might be found for those putting in the time.

    Stop at the rock shop described below for possible park collecting advice. Please buy something from the owner if he helps you with directions. A park map is here.

    The Basin Range Volcanics Geolapidary Museum
    6235 Stirrup Road SE
    Deming, NM 88030
    32░11.678' N 107░38.768' W
    Just before the entrance to Rockhound State Park is this gem of a rock shop. Christopher is the proprietor here and an expert all things thundereggs and geodes. Although he doesn’t sell geodes from Rockhound State Park, he did contribute samples for the Visitor Center’s rock display. And he may have hints as to where to look in the Park. Take in a park map to make any directions easier to follow.

    Black Hat Trading
    2785 US-180
    Deming, NM 88030
    32░17.705' N 107░46.008'
    Recommended by Christopher of the Basin Range Volcanics Geolapidary Museum.

    Trina’s Rock Shop
    1812 Columbus Rd.
    Deming, NM 88030
    32░15.048' N 107░45.112' W
    Recommended by Christopher of the Basin Range Volcanics Geolapidary Museum.

    Otero County (Alamogordo)

    Orogrande District
    32░27.616' N 106░06.483' W
    Over 300 mines existed in the District at one time and it is said that gold can still be found. Tiffany & Company owned a turquoise mine in the area which has been completely reclaimed.
    Commercial operators now pursue copper and garnet. Many mining claims exist but some ground is open.

    Quay County (Tucumcari)

    Dinosaur Museum and Natural Science Laboratory
    Mesa Lands Community College
    222 East Laughlin Street, Building F
    Tucumcari, NM 88401
    35░10.423' N 103░43.431' W

    Rio Arriba (Santa Fe)

    Chimayo Rocks
    416-A North, Riverview Lane
    Espa˝ola, NM 87532
    35░59.713' N 106░04.088' W

    A relatively new shop offering rockhounds guidance to collecting spots. This is a logical stop while traveling north from Santa Fe or Albuquerque to visit the Harding Pegmatite Mine.

    Mama’s Minerals Santa Fe / Laura Randolph Gallery

    100 E San Francisco St
    Santa Fe, NM 87501
    35░41.203' N 105░56.268' W

    Mineral and fossil gallery. Rocks, beads and more. Located at the La Fonda Hotel on the Santa Fe Plaza. The sister store to their Albuquerque location. May be changing.

    Roosevelt County (Portales)

    Miles Mineral Museum
    Dr. Jim Constantopoulos
    Director and Curator
    Eastern New Mexico University
    1500 S Avenue K
    Portales, NM 88130
    34░10.501' N 103░20.815' W

    Museum located in Roosevelt Hall, Room 103. Fred Miles and his wife publicized and collected local quartz crystals called Pecos Valley Diamonds. The Miles Collection is a product of 40 years of collecting.

    Socorro County (Socorro)

    Otero’s Gem & Mineral Rock Shop
    105 1st Street
    Magdalena, NM 87825
    Magdalena, NM
    34░07.150' 107░14.163' W

    Rough, cabs, jewelry. Many findings made by a native woman silversmith. High quality smithsonite.

    Kelly Mine Fee/Dig, coordinated by:

    Tony’s Rock Shop
    911 Kelly Road
    Magdalena, NM 87825
    (575) 854-2401
    $10 fee charged when this was written. Once well noted for smithsonite, a zinc mineral. Tailings and property grounds have been heavily scoured over the years. But any ground that you haven’t worked hasn’t really been scoured, has it? Bring UV lamps as zinc is an activator for fluorescence. Some success reported off the dumps.

    Picturesque mine grounds, well worth a visit. Short drive from Tony’s up the hill to the mine. Note the street signs, keep left. The road deteriorates quickly after the Catholic Church, consider parking when available and walking in. Bennie presently owns Tony’s. Ask other shop owners about his location if he can’t be found at his store. Which basically looks like a house.

    Mark Leatherman writes about his visit in “Socorro’s Mineral Cornucopia” which appeared in the March, 2019 issue of Rock&Gem Magazine.

    Mineral Museum
    New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources
    New Mexico Tech
    801 Leroy Place
    Socorro, NM 87801
    34░04.106' N 106░54.253' W

    This is the state mineral museum for New Mexico. It focuses on rocks, gems, and minerals. It is a counterpart to New Mexico’s mining museum in Grants. Excellent displays, a small ultraviolet room and a wonderful gift shop focusing on New Mexico gems and minerals. That shop is in the main room. Only a few feet away from the entrance to the museum is another shop that sells
    books. Make sure to look for it. Between these two stores, you will wind up buying many things.

    “The main exhibit hall, constructed in 2015, highlights top-quality minerals from New Mexico, the United States, and around the world. Over 5,000 mineral specimens are displayed in the main gallery. Spectacular mineral specimens from mining districts like Magdalena, Organ, and Santa Rita (to name a few), are presented in thematic displays illustrating the mineral wealth of each locality. Other thematic displays include Systematic Mineralogy, Uranium Mining of New Mexico, Lapidary, Gold & Silver, Agates & Geodes, Meteorites, and Petrified Wood.

    Blanchard Rock Shop/Desert Rose Mine
    2972 Hwy 380
    Bingham, NM 87832
    33░53.334' N 106░22.452' W
    Great YouTube video

    There’s a joke that Bingham isn’t the end of the world but that it can be seen from there. The Blanchard Rock Shop _is_Bingham; there are no other stores or services. Bingham is an abandoned town site, not a town. Fuel up in Socorro or at tiny San Antonio, New Mexico before
    visiting Blanchard’s. Take a look at the Rio Grande River if you stop at San Antonio.

    Blanchard is on Highway 380, seventeen miles east of the turnoff to the White Sands Missile Range. This makes it convenient to visit Blanchard’s on the same day the Trinity Site is open, an event that happens only twice a year. Speaking of which, Allison sells authentic trinitite.

    Genuine trinitite is expensive but don't miss a chance to pick up a piece of history. Bring small bills. Lots of them.

    Go anytime to Bingham to enjoy beautiful scenery and to visit the shop. The Desert Rose Mine is nearby. Fluorite is big here, with galena, barite, quartz, and calcite also present. A day-use pass is $20 a person and directions are given at the store. That $20 does not include rocks. Allison will look through any findings and determine a price for individual pieces. She also sells rocks from
    the mine.

    Allison is a modern-day, pioneering woman. With her grit, spunk, determination, and personality, she has succeeded in successfully running a business in a remote location where others would surely fail. Call before going. And ask her if she needs anything from town. Seriously, they are that far out.

    White Sands National Monument, Trinity Site
    White Sands was the location of the first atomic bomb explosion and it is only open twice a year to visitors. Next day is October 5th. Fascinating place, complete details on the web. Have a full tank of gas as you will be idling in a long line of cars and you’ll have quite a distance back to Socorro. If possible, top off your tank at the little town of San Antonio, New Mexico on I-380 before heading the final miles to White Sands. By-the-way, it’s a short walk to a bridge over the Rio Grande at San Antonio, fine views of the river.

    Take proof of registration, insurance, and don’t get going too early. Cars are permitted entrance until 2:00 PM and the longest line of cars will be when the gates first open. Wait a few hours, say, 11:00 AM. Do not take pictures while driving the ten or fifteen miles across the missle range to the Site, only photograph at Trinity. The guards will probably remind you.

    Upon arrival at the parking area, you can walk about a quarter mile to the obelisk or you can take a shuttle bus that runs to the Schmidt/McDonald Ranch House. “The ranch house is where the scientists assembled the plutonium core of the bomb. Visitors will also be able to experience what life was like for a ranch family in the early 1940s.” I did not take that bus last October, the logistics seemed complicated because I was trying to get to Blanchard’s after Trinity.

    The blast produced trinitite, a green material the result of tremendous heat melting the desert sand. Little pieces get exposed after every rain but you are not allowed to keep it. There are people watching, and if you stop too many times to tie your shoes, you may get a tap on the shoulder. You may, however, hunt for it and then turn it in. Good activity for the kids. There will be a table with many pieces on display and a knowledgeable person who can explain the stuff and its history. After your visit you can go to Blanchard’s down the road. Allison sells authentic, documented trinitite.

    Taos County (Taos)

    Harding Pegmatite Mine
    The Harding Pegmatite Mine is a former rare minerals quarry located in Taos County. Now maintained by the University of New Mexico, the Pegmatite Mine is open to rockhounds for no fee. Five pounds of material may be taken provided guidelines are followed. Large groups must
    pay a fee and they need to call ahead.

    Visitors must fill out a release form available at the mine’s website. Follow the University’s instructions exactly as it will be necessary to fetch the caretaker before entering the mine. The road to the first mine gate is short and passable by passenger vehicles. Parking is extremely limited at this first gate. No trailers or RVs. If the gate is open, a larger parking lot is farther along the road.

    Pegmatites are unusual and interesting rocks igneous rocks, originating from volcanic activity. At the Harding Mine, white sparkling rock is all around, some with pink tints, often with gray or darker inclusions. The pegmatite is the white rock, the various colors and inclusions the
    minerals. These can be quite unusual, needing an expert to identify them. Bityite, eucryptite, and fluorapatite are some. More common is the pink tinged lepidolite.

    A lepidolite tinged rock showing nice pink coloring is a challenging but satisfying project on a warm day in the beautiful hill country of Taos. If possible, bring a short wave and longwave lamp, along with a barbecue lid cover. Hunting fluorescent rocks enlarges searching beyond
    what appears in daylight.

    Print the “Walking Tour for the Harding Pegmatite Mine” file before visiting. It references the numbered markers that are spotted about the quarry.

    If possible, a tour of the old quarry should start at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Northrop Hall, home to UNM’s Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences. A museum in Room 124 displays specimens from the mine. A dimly lit case on the first floor also
    exhibits specimens, including a large chunk of beryl. In that case, notice how one rock seems to intergrade with others. The rose muscovite, the lepidolite, and the spodumene all seem variations on a theme. What’s not obvious is the sparkling nature of some of the rocks, which comes into play in bright light.

    The mine’s entrance off Highway 75 is on a strong uphill grade and is difficult to find. There is no sign indicating the mine road, save for a small wood plaque on a juniper asking people to pack out their trash. On a fair day, you will be caught up in looking at the surrounding
    countryside. This is the land D.H. Lawrence fell in love with and you will, too.
    36░11.890' N 105░47.346' W

    The Taos hill country surrounding the mine is populated with artist studios, wineries, and scattered Indian Pueblos. In the fall, cottonwoods blaze yellow along streams and other watercourses. It is a delight in fair weather. Iceland spar may still exist in the area, check for possible locations and for land status.

    LaTierra Mineral Gallery
    124K Bent Street
    Taos, NM 87571
    36░24.530' N 105░34.446' W

    Roosevelt County (Portales)

    Miles Mineral Museum

    Eastern New Mexico University
    Roosevelt Hall, Room 103
    1500 S. Avenue K
    Portales, NM 88130
    34░10.766' N 103░20.880' W

    Some meteorite specimens on display. Those thinking they have discovered a meteorite are invited to bring it in for verification. Meteorites are rare and most findings do not prove out.

    Next up: Southern Utah and beyond.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-23-2023 at 07:18 AM.

  5. Default Southern Utah

    Southern Utah

    Perhaps no other state show rock formations better than Utah, save Northern Arizona. Southern
    Utah’s National Parks and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument reveal countless
    bold and colorful sandstone layered cliffs. These are all off-limits to collecting but they provide a
    great geology education when using the ROCKD app of

    Utah charges a $10 fee for rockhounding on Utah’s trust lands. These are, to make it simple, state land where collecting is not otherwise prohibited. These lands are scattered throughout Utah in a random checkerboard fashion. Check to view at home. In the field, boundaries are impossible to determine. Send Utah their $10.00.
    Update April 2023: The fee has been raised to $25.

    Garfield County (Panguitch)

    Geologist James Wilson says this south-central county hosts volcanic rocks in the Markagunt
    Plateau, the Sevier Plateau, the Aquarius Plateau, at Boulder Mountain and in the Henry
    Mountains. Widespread sedimentary rocks result in agate, gypsum, petrified wood, and fossils.

    Dixie National Forest
    Supervisor's Office and Cedar City Ranger District
    1789 N Wedgewood Lane
    Cedar City, UT 84721
    435-865-3700 (SO)
    435-865-3200 (CCRD)
    37░42.630' N 113░03.478' W

    Free Dixie National Forest Maps at the Ranger District Door. The Dixie sits in parts of six
    counties, including Garfield, Washington, and Iron. Kane, Wayne, and Piute counties have less
    forested land than the others.

    State Hwy 14 runs generally east/west through the Dixie. No guide lists collection sites along
    that stretch. This author, however, found a nice agate scrap and an unidentified rock with crystals
    in five minutes by simply stopping at this random pullout:
    37░29.496' N 112░36.966' W

    The Panguitch Lake area further north is more solidly recommended for agates.

    Iron County (Cedar City)

    Iron County is named for the magnetite hosted in the rocks of the Iron Springs Mining District
    west of Cedar City. That area has quite a bit of unclaimed BLM managed land. The Cedar City
    area, though, is best known for agates including fingerprint agate near Enoch.

    The Southern Utah Rock Club
    497 N. 100 W
    Cedar City, UT 84721
    37░41.213' N 113░03.876' W

    The gracious and generous Lynn Dalton well represents this club’s membership. SURC’s
    lapidary shop is in Cedar City, club meetings alternate between St. George and Cedar City. Join
    if at all contemplating Utah rockhounding. Fellow club members may welcome a traveling
    rockhound, possibly showing places to collect.

    Cedar Rock & Bead Shop
    718 W 400 N #4
    Cedar City, UT 84721
    37░41.090' N 113░04.381' W
    Rocks, minerals, and beads.

    Kane County (Kanab)

    “Kane County lies along the Utah-Arizona border. The rocks that occur here are almost all
    Mesozoic sedimentary rocks and are likely to yield fossils, agate, and petrified wood. Kane
    County is best known for the occurrence of septarian nodules which are hollow and lined with
    calcite crystals.”

    Joe’s Rock Shop
    425 E 100th N or HWY 89@100 N
    P.O. Box 116
    Orderville, UT 84758
    37░16.671' N 112░37.818' W

    Family run since at least 1952, specializing in digging, cutting, and polishing septarian nodules,
    petrified wood and more. Rough and finished stones of all types. Custom rock cutting done.
    Septarian nodules are limestone rocks filled with calcite and aragonite. Decorative patterns are
    revealed when cut open. Some show crystals from the outside. Orderville is the most famous
    locality for these uncommon stones. The owners provide local rockhounding directions when
    asked. They also ship by mail and are closed in the winter.

    The Orderville Mine Rock Shop
    Orderville, UT 84758
    37░16.316' N 112░38.970' W

    Open when visited but the owner may be contemplating a sale.

    Fisher’s Rock Shop and Jewelry
    400 W State St
    Orderville, UT, 84758
    37░16.583' N 112░38.435' W
    May be closing.

    The Rock Stop
    385 West State Street
    Orderville, UT 84758
    37░16.330' N 112░38.883' W

    Rock shop in the form of a rock. Really. It cannot be missed when going through Orderville.
    This author guarantees that. Wide variety of material. They ship.

    A “glamping” campground with Yurts was operating across US-89 from Joe’s Rock Shop when I
    visited. This area is picturesque and somewhat close to Zion. Maynard Dixon’s home and a museum to him is further down the road in Mt. Carmel. If you don’t know who Maynard Dixon is, I weep for you.

    Western Hills
    288 West Center
    Kanab, UT 8741
    37░02.916' N 112░32.085' W

    Large size picture sandstone is a specialty, these wall art sizes amazing in beauty. Small fossil
    specimens. Nice figurines made from septarian nodules. Unusual sandstone coasters that absorb
    the water of a sweaty glass. The shop is right on 89 as one drives through Kanab.

    “ROCKD” App Demonstration in Kanab
    BLM’s Visitor Center for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, sometimes called
    the Kanab Visitor Center, is located at 745 East Highway 89 south of Kanab.

    Looking north from the BLM parking lot, a prominent peak of many layers rises up. Using the app called ROCKD, this point is identified as Indian Dance Hall at 1,684 meters.
    (Not all features are named.)

    Clicking on the gray layer reveals alluvium as the ground floor. On the rock itself, the pink
    marked Chinle Formation is at the lowest level. Next higher comes the Moenave Formation.
    Highest of them all, and possibly out of view, the Kayenta Formation. Each formation’s
    identification comes with detailed explanations as to what rocks make them up, their age, and the potential for fossils.

    San Juan (Monticello)

    San Juan County in Utah’s southeastern corner has a variety of materials. Wilson says the Abajo
    Mountains and part of the La Sal Mountains have igneous rocks but sedimentary rocks
    predominate in the county. Uranium mineralization occurs as well as copper deposits.
    Wilson recommended these areas many years ago: Northeast of La Sal Junction (agate), Chicken Corner Trail Area (marine fossils), Red House Cliffs (agate and algal balls), and the Joe Wilson Wash (agate)

    Manti-La Sal National Forest
    USFS Monticello Ranger District
    496 East Central
    PO Box 820
    Monticello, UT 84535
    37░52.353' N 109░21.111' W

    National Forest spanning 1.2 million acres. Lightly claimed at last look of
    Might be worthwhile exploring.

    Washington County (St. George)

    BLM Arizona Strip Office
    345 E Riverside Dr.
    St. George, UT 84790
    37░04.986' N 113░34.611' W
    Listed under Arizona. They may have Utah maps.

    Saint George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm
    2180 E Riverside Drive
    St. George, UT 84790
    37░06.091' N 113░32.090' W

    The Saint George Dinosaur Discovery site (SGDS) is must stop for rockhounds, amateur
    geologists, dinosaur enthusiasts, and kids of all ages. It is a place to look, study, and in some
    cases touch dinosaur tracks and fossils. At SGDS you can see in an hour what might take a
    paleontologist a lifetime to discover. Good ripple mark displays, movement of ancient water left
    in stone. Many Southwest desert washes have ripple marks and one should be able to recognize
    them. Excellent geology room with many representative rocks of the area.

    Silver Reef Museum
    Silver Reef, UT (townsite)
    1903 Wells Fargo Road
    Leeds, UT 84746
    37░15.196' N 113░22.006' W

    Detailed driving directions at their website. 18 miles north of St. George near Leeds, UT.
    This somewhat preserved townsite was only one of two locations in the world where silver was
    found in sandstone. Early miners had trouble getting investors because no one believed the
    occurrence could exist. Steve Voynick described the area and its mining in his June, 2015
    Rock&Gem Magazine article “Silver Reef, Utah.” The area is also noted for carnotite, a
    radioactive mineral, as well as copper. Private land all around. No collecting but great picture
    taking possibilities, especially when the townsite is open.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-23-2023 at 07:19 AM. Reason: updated Utah trust lands permit price

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