Rockhounding in Utah – Verified Locations and Gemstones

rockhounding in utah

Utah has some of the best rockhounding sites in the United States for both amateur and professional rock hunters. In this article, we will explore some of the best-verified sites for rockhounding in Utah, along with the rocks and minerals you can find in the state.

Utah’s rugged landscapes are a haven for rockhounds, offering a diverse array of geological wonders waiting to be discovered. The state is a treasure trove for rockhounds as it is rich in various gemstones and minerals such as geodes, garnets, gold, quartz, and more.

The state of Utah is unmatched when it comes to the sheer number of rockhounding locations. From the expansive sandstones to the rocky mountains in the north, there are various sites to be explored in Utah. And, what’s best is that most of the land in Utah is open to the public.

The best places for rockhounding in Utah are the Dugaway Geode Beds, Topaz Mountain, and San Rafael River. 

How We Picked the Top Places for Rockhounding in Utah

In order to find the best spots in Utah for rockhounding, we had to consider a lot of things. It can be tough to find the information we need to shortlist the best places. Here are a few things we took into consideration:

  • Input from local gem hunting associations and groups.
  • The safety of the mining location and the potential hazards.
  • The accessibility of the mining spot.
  • Private and public locations.

Rocks and Minerals Found in Utah

The state gemstone of Utah is Topaz, but there are so many rocks and minerals you can discover in the state. The southern region of Utah is known for its various specimens of quartz, jasper, agate, and other minerals.

There are several gold and copper mines in the state that you can explore to find quality gemstones such as topaz, garnet, and more.

Some of the common minerals found in Utah are:

  • Garnet
  • Pyrite
  • Azurite
  • Agate
  • Geodes
  • Jasper
  • Limonite
  • Malachite
  • Gold
  • Galena
  • Pyrite
  • Petrified Wood
  • Wonderstone

Also, look at the best sites to look for geodes in Utah and places to find geodes in Idaho along with the best gem mining spots in Kentucky

Our Favorite Spots for Rockhounding in Utah

Here are some of the best and verified spots for rockhounding in Utah and what you can find there:

  • Dugway Geode Beds
  • Topaz Mountain
  • San Rafael River
  • Wonderstone Quarry
  • Mineral Mountains
  • Strongs Canyon
  • Moses Rock and Comb Ridge

Dugway Geode Beds

Dugway Geode Beds

Dugway Geode Beds is located in the remote western desert of Utah. It is a paradise for those seeking stunning geodes. This area is renowned for its unique and beautiful quartz crystals, which are often encased in round, hollow rocks known as geodes.

The geodes found here can vary in size and color, with hues ranging from clear and white to shades of purple and lavender.

It’s important to note that a keen eye is required to spot these treasures, as the geodes may not always be immediately visible on the surface. Make sure to come packing with all the required tools like hammers and chisels to extract geodes.

Topaz Mountain

topaz mountain

Topaz Mountain in Utah is a gemstone lover’s dream. It is situated in the Thomas Range of the western Utah desert and the area is famous for its abundance of topaz crystals.

The unique amber-colored topaz found here can range from pale yellow to deep orange-brown, making it a prized find for collectors. Topaz specimens from this region are often found in association with other minerals such as red beryl, making the experience even more rewarding for enthusiasts.

You can also find other minerals nearby such as calcite, beryl, fluorite, and hematite. 

Wonderstone Quarry


For those who wish to explore unique rocks, Wonderstone Quarry is the place to be. It is located near Vernon Hills, Tooele, and is known for its deposits of Wonderstone, a type of rhyolite with vibrant colors and distinct banding patterns.

Wonderstone, when polished, showcases a beautiful array of reds, pinks, and purples. Make sure to explore the open pits in the quarry as wonderstone is usually scattered across the site.

The quarry lies on both private mining lands and BLM, so make sure to get a permit before collecting.

San Rafael River

San Rafael River

San Rafael River is located in central Utah and it has stunning canyons and riverbanks. You will find this appealing, as the river exposes sedimentary rock formations dating back millions of years.

Fossils of ancient marine life, including trilobites and brachiopods, can be found embedded in the rocks along the riverbed. You can explore the exposed layers of sedimentary rock, splitting apart layers to reveal well-preserved fossils that provide a glimpse into Utah’s prehistoric past.

The gravels and bars of the river are great for searching quartz, agate, jasper, chalcedony, gypsum, and selenite. 

Mineral Mountains

Mineral Mountains

Mineral Mountains are located in the Beaver County, Utah. Named for the diverse array of minerals found in the area, this region boasts deposits of garnet, topaz, bixbyite, and more.

Collectors can traverse the rugged terrain of the Mineral Mountains, searching for crystals and minerals embedded in the granite and quartzite rocks. The variety of specimens available in this area makes it an ideal destination for rockhounds with a broad interest in mineralogy.

There are several mines located in the area, which are now closed to the public. However, they yielded various gems such as opal, gold, silver, blue beryl, obsidian, and more.

You can explore the areas around the mine where there are abundant minerals to be discovered. The Rock Coral Recreation Area is the best place to start.

Moses Rock and Comb Ridge

moses rock utah

Moses Rock and Comb Ridge is situated in the southeastern part of Utah, known for the presence of fossilized dinosaur tracks. Rockhounds exploring this area may come across petrified wood, agate, and jasper, along with the thrill of discovering evidence of ancient life.

The layered sandstone of Comb Ridge often contains pockets of colorful agate, providing rockhounds with an opportunity to uncover visually striking specimens.

Moses Rock, known for its fossilized dinosaur tracks, adds an exciting paleontological element to the rockhounding experience in this region.

The area is popular for its pyrope garnet, also known as ‘Arizona Rubies’. These gemstones sell for $50 to $400 per carat, depending on the quality, and are mostly used in high-end jewelry.

Strongs Canyon

Strongs Canyon

Nestled in the Wah Wah Mountains of western Utah, Strongs Canyon is a great place for rockhounds to find agate, jasper, and gem-quality garnet. The vibrant colors and intricate patterns of the agate found here make it a popular destination for collectors.

Rockhounds can explore the canyon’s rocky slopes and creek beds, carefully inspecting the ground for signs of agate and other geological treasures.

Other Rockhounding Spots in Utah

Apart from the popular spots mentioned above, there are multiple areas to seek valuable minerals and gems in the state.

Please remember that the rock collection in these areas is constantly changing. So, it’s best to stay updated with the latest information. Some of these places are as follows:

Box Elder County

  • Vipont Mine – Azurite, Copper, Galena, Gold, Malachite, Quartz, Sphalerite
  • Grouse Creek Mountains – Epidote, Scheelite
  • Birch Creek – Kyanite
  • Raft Rivers Mountains – Gold, Chalcopyrite, Galena, Sphalerite, Pyrite
  • Willard – Galena, Hematite, Limonite, Azurite, Malachite

Cache County

  • Little Bear River – Azurite, Galena, Malachite
  • La Plata area – Galena, Malachite, Silver
  • Mineral Point – Quartz, Hematite, Specularite

Rich County

  • Laketown Canyon – Phosphorite
  • Swan Creek – Azurite, Galena, Barite, Wulfenite

Weber County

  • Ogden – Azurite, Malachite

Morgan County

  • Arthur’s Fork – Monazite, Biotite
  • Strawberry Mine – Gold, Copper, Silver

Davis County

  • Antelope Island – Garnet, Azurite, Epidote, Limonite, Malachite, Quartz, Sulful
  • Bair Canyon – Tremolite
  • Farmington – Azurite, Gold, Malachite, Pyrite

Salt Lake County

  • Alta – Apatite, Barite, Limonite, Galena, Quartz, Pyrite, Silver, Zircon
  • Bear Gulch – Gold
  • Little Cottonwood – Apatite, Allumite, Magnetite, Feldspar, Quartz, Pyrite, Zircon
  • Great Salt Lake – Gypsum, Halite, Bloedite

Tooele County

  • Dugway Range – Amethyst, Quartz
  • East Erickson – Galena, Quartz, Pyrite, Silver, Barite, Jasper, Hematite
  • Clifton Mining District – Opal, Pyrite, Garnet, Galena, Chalcedony, Calcite, Malachite, Limonite, Azurite, Agate
  • Dutch Mountain – Azurite, Fluorite, Galena, Malachite
  • Gold Hill – Azurite, Gold, Galena, Gypsum, Opal, Pyrite, Sphalerite
  • Ibapah Mountains – Aquamarine, Beryl, Cinnabar
  • Ophir – Gold, Galena, Silver, Pyrite, Quartz, Sphalerite

San Juan County

  • Big Indian Wash – Azurite, Chalcopyrite, Malachite, Pyrite, Galena, Fluorite
  • Bluff – Gold
  • Colorado River – Gold
  • La Sal Mountains – Amethyst, Azurite, Chalcocite, Limonite, Malachite
  • Mule Ear – Garnet

Tips for a Successful Rockhounding Trip in Utah

  • Research and Preparation: Before embarking on a rockhounding adventure, conduct thorough research on the specific minerals and fossils found in each location. Familiarize yourself with the geological history of the area to enhance your understanding of what to look for.
  • Safety First: Always prioritize safety during rockhounding expeditions. Wear appropriate gear, including sturdy shoes, gloves, and safety glasses.
  • Tools: Pack essential rockhounding tools, such as a rock hammer, chisels, a magnifying glass, and containers for collecting specimens. A field guidebook specific to the minerals and rocks in the region can be a valuable resource.
  • Time of your visit: Consider the time of year and weather conditions when planning your rockhounding excursion. Some sites may be inaccessible or less enjoyable during certain seasons, so plan accordingly for the best experience.
  • Respect the environment: Leave no trace and respect the natural environment. Follow ethical collecting practices, and avoid damaging vegetation or disturbing wildlife. Adhere to any regulations or guidelines set by the landowners or authorities.


These were the best sites for rockhounding in Utah. Utah’s diverse geological landscapes offer rockhounding enthusiasts a plethora of opportunities to discover unique and beautiful specimens.

Whether you’re interested in collecting geodes, searching for topaz crystals, and garnets, or uncovering fossils from ancient seas, the state’s varied terrains have something to offer every rockhound.

As you embark on your rockhounding adventures in Utah, always prioritize safety and follow any regulations or guidelines set by land management authorities. With the right tools, knowledge, and a sense of adventure, you can uncover the hidden geological treasures that make Utah a rockhound’s paradise.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *