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Nebo Loop Quarry

Nebo Loop Quarry

Calcite "Bacon Onyx"

January 252014

This kid-friendly collecting location combines a stunning drive, a short hike, and an easy place to collect attractive tumbling material while enjoying dramatic views of the back side of Mount Nebo.

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Graves Mountain Quarry

Graves Mountain Quarry

Rutile, Lazulite, Kyanite, Pyrite

January 202014

No Georgia rockhound should miss this site. Originally a quarry owned by Tiffany’s George Kunz, this claim produced 50% of the country’s industrial kyanite (used for the porcelain in spark plugs and tiles for the space shuttle). It is now open only for mineral collecting and has been popular with rockhounding groups for almost a century. You can find a variety of minerals here, but the rutile is world-famous.

Directions

Call Junior Norman, the caretaker to plan your visit. You may need to travel with a group. Junior can be reached at 706-359-3862 (his business) or 706-401-3173 (cell). Visitors usually bring a $15-$20 per person donation to compensate him for his time and trouble maintaining the site. Read the rules and sign a release form, and you’re free to collect until dusk.

Safety

This is an old quarry with high, unstable walls. Wear a hard hat and footwear with good ankle support. The quarry can get extremely hot in the summer months, so trips between June and August are not recommended.

Graves Mountain has a list of rules, reprinted here:

  • Park your vehicle in the designated area(at the end of the paved access road but not much beyond the woods to the right of this road).
  • NO child under the age of 12 years old is to be allowed on the mountain because of all the dangers involved.
  • ALL pets must be kept under control and on a leash.
  • The field trip leader(s) have final and absolute say as to where you may safely work.
  • Ladders or power tools of any kind will not be allowed. (HAND TOOLS ONLY!)
  • STAY AWAY FROM ALL HIGH WALLS!!
  • NO REPELLING OFF OF ANYTHING!
  • NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO DRIVE THEIR VEHICLE ON ANY PART OF GRAVES MOUNTAIN BEYOND THE PARKING AREA! (The caretaker must accompany anyone driving beyond the parking area!)
  • EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE OFF THE MOUNTAIN BY DUSK. (Absolutely no one is allowed on Graves Mountain after dark.)

 

Equipment

Links

Detailed description of how to collect at Graves Mountain, with pictures

Georgia Mineral Society description of Graves Mountain

American Rockhounds description of Graves Mountain

In the past, they have periodically held open days for people to come, collect, and swap minerals.

 

Stories

2001 brief trip report with pictures

Add your story!

 

[image credit: Dakota Matrix]

 

Buy mineral specimens from Graves Mountain



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Power’s Farm

Power’s Farm

Dravite tourmaline, smoky quartz, biotite

January 172014

This claim produces unique, world-famous black tourmaline. Smaller specimens aren’t too hard to find in the tailings piles, but if you’re willing to put in the work, you can still pull out museum-quality crystals up to one inch in size.

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Mule Canyon, Calico Mine

Mule Canyon, Calico Mine

Honey Onyx, Agate, Borates, Jasper, Petrified Palm, Ulexite

January 112014

This collecting location is a fun, beautiful section of desert hills to explore, and contains a wide variety of different materials. Mule Canyon is a great side trip if you’re thinking about visiting the Calico Ghost Town.

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Mineral Bar Placer Gold Deposits
October 92013

This is an easy place to prospect for gold for free. Most gold deposits are private claims, owned by individuals or prospecting clubs. You can pay to join a club, but many people want to try their hand at panning on their own before they decide to join a club. This location is an excellent place to get started.

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Coalinga Benitoite Mine
October 92013

Benitoite is the state gemstone of California and is valuable and rare. This mine is off-limits (the BLM closed the area due to potential asbestos exposure), but you can pay to screen through material extracted from the mine at another site nearby.

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Cinco

Cinco

Feldspar with Quartz

October 52013

The crumbly outcroppings on this hill contain well-formed feldspar crystals that are frequently twinned. Many also contain small, attractive quartz crystals. Bring a rock pick and break them out of the side of the hill.

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Oceanview Mine—Pegmatite Gems

Oceanview Mine—Pegmatite Gems

Tourmaline, aquamarine, kunzite, smoky quartz

October 52013

This is an active gem mine located in the Pala Mountains north of San Diego. For a fee you can make a reservation to tour the mine and screen for gems outside.

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Amboy Latham Shale

Amboy Latham Shale

Trilobites

October 52013

The most popular collecting site for Latham Shale trilobites is now a federally-protected site, but you can find excellent collecting locations if you know what the shale layer looks like.

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Flat Top Mountain
October 42013

This site was reported by BLM to be popular for collecting jasper. The location is approximate, so post an update if you attempt to collect here.

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Boron Flats Travertine

Boron Flats Travertine

Jasper, Petrified Palm, Travertine

October 42013

Material litters the ground all over the flats here. You can find loose pieces of travertine, jasper, and petrified wood (mostly palm).

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San Gabriel Placer Gold Deposits
October 42013

This is a very convenient (and popular) location to pan for gold. You are more likely to find a few flakes of gold with some hard work, but small nuggets are also found occasionally.

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Amboy Marble Quarry

Amboy Marble Quarry

Dumortierite

October 42013

Dumortierite is a beautiful blue stone that is great for cutting. High quality material has been reported in the tailings piles of the marble quarry outside of Amboy.

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Agoura Hills Agate

Agoura Hills Agate

Agate, Pyrite, Calcite

October 22013

In the hills outside of Agoura you can find Quartz, Agate, Natrolite, Chalcedony, Pyrite, Calcite, and Ferrierite. Pick a spot on the side of the road and hunt for material in the cliffside, or as float on the ground.

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Afton Canyon Calcite

Afton Canyon Calcite

Agate, Jasper, Calcite, Fluorite, Opalite

October 22013

This area contains a wealth of different cutting material spread throughout three canyons: agate, jasper, calcite, fluorite, opalite, and petrified wood, among others.

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Shadow Mountain “Golf Ball” Garnets
September 302013

Hike just above the wash into the hills and you should find garnets in the ridges.

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Adelanto Mine Dumps

Adelanto Mine Dumps

Garnets, manganese dendrites

September 302013

Dig through the tailings piles of this old tungsten mine to find massive rusty-colored garnets and manganese dendrites that look like fossilized ferns. You can find loose material laying around, but you might want to bring a rock pick.

Directions

On Highway 395 North of Victorville, turn left on Princess Pat Mine Rd. Drive for 3.8 miles and turn left on Mountain View Rd. Drive about one mile toward the concrete foundations. The road maybe washed out near the end. You should be able to see the tailings piles.

Links

http://www.highdesertinsider.com/html/adelanto.htm

Equipment

Rock pick

bucket

 

Buy dendrite specimens



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Acton Roadside Agates

Acton Roadside Agates

Agate, Sagenite, Moss Agate

September 302013

This is a fantastic place to collect agate. Simply park on the side of the road and hunt for the material.

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Puddingstone is a conglomerate of jasper and chalcedony. This is an active quarry, so get permission to collect.

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Coyote Lake Meteorite Field
September 252013

Drive out to any desert playa and hunt around. It’s not difficult work but requires a lot of walking.

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Athens Geode Beds

Athens Geode Beds

Geodes, Chalcedony

September 242013

If you search in the creeks and newly-plowed fields west of Athens, you can find geodes. Make sure you ask permission before collecting on private land.

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Seaman Wash

Seaman Wash

Petrified wood, agate, jasper

September 92013

Look around in the white and purple hills. You can find some really attractive jasper and agate here, with some petrified wood as well.

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Tule Valley – Fossils

Tule Valley – Fossils

Trilobites, ostracods, brachiopods

September 92013

brachiopods, trilobites, and ostracods can be found in the cliffside here.

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Conger Springs – Fossils

Conger Springs – Fossils

Crinoids, Coral, Brachiopods

September 92013

The fossils here are Upper Mississippian age shale—primarily crinoids and brachiopods. Look for weathered shale in the washes near the spring.

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Cowboy Pass – Ammonites

Cowboy Pass – Ammonites

Fossilized Ammonites

September 92013

Ammonite fossils can be found in the northeast corner of Cowboy Pass. At the end of the pass, drive south for 1.2 miles and look in the west side wash.

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Painter Spring – House Range

Painter Spring – House Range

Garnet, Pyrite, Molybdenite

September 92013

Painter Spring is an ideal place to camp in the House Range. Look for gemstones in the foothills and canyon bottoms.

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Amasa Valley – Gold Mining in the House Range

Amasa Valley – Gold Mining in the House Range

Amethyst, Smoky Quartz, Garnet, Gold

September 92013

Amasa Valley is a high hidden valley at the top of Sawtooth Mountain in the House Range. Use a good map to reach the area

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This is a world-class and world-famous location where you can find topaz, garnets, and other gemstones. Bring the kids and plenty of water.

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This is an easy location for hunting agate. It is actually near an old mining ghost town called Joy

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Milburn Fossil Beds

Milburn Fossil Beds

Ostracode Fossils

September 72013

Hunt for fossils in the clay beds of Sanpete County. You can find black ostracodes embedded in the light clay.

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Jalama Beach

Jalama Beach

Root Beer Agate, fossil whale bone

September 62013

Hunt for agate and fossils along the rocky bluffs of Jalama Beach.

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Opal Hill Mine

Opal Hill Mine

Fire agate

September 62013

Dig your own fire agates in this active mining site.

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Spectrum Sunstone Mine

Spectrum Sunstone Mine

Oregon Sunstones

September 62013

Sunstone is a variety of labradorite, and also the state gem of Oregon.

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Saddle Mountain

Saddle Mountain

Opalized Petrified Wood

September 62013

This BLM site next to the Gingko Petrified Forest has an entire forest of petrified trees weathering out of the ground.

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Bandon Beach
September 62013

Stroll along the beach at low tide and you can find wave-tumbled agates and petrified wood.

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U-Dig Fossil Beds

U-Dig Fossil Beds

Trilobites

September 62013

This is a famous location to collect trilobites and material is very plentiful.

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Mason’s Gem Mine
September 62013

For a fee you can collect plenty of pink sapphires and some rubies.

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Stonerose Fossil Beds

Stonerose Fossil Beds

Plant Fossils

September 62013

This educational center offers guided tours of an Eocene fossil bed.

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Rock Candy Mine

Rock Candy Mine

Fluorite, barite, small geodes

September 62013

This family-friendly mine is located next to a historic mining ghost town.

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Jake’s Geode Mine

Jake’s Geode Mine

Quartz Geodes

September 62013

The Keokuk area has famous geode beds. Most material is filled with white quartz.

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Fort Drum Crystal Mine

Fort Drum Crystal Mine

fossil shells with honeycomb calcite

September 62013

You can pay to dig large fossilized shells here. Some of the material is very attractive and contains honeycomb calcite.

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Lucky Strike Mine

Lucky Strike Mine

Geodes, Jasper, and Agate

September 62013

Some of the most colorful jasper and agate in the world can be found here.

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Richardson’s Rock Ranch

Richardson’s Rock Ranch

Geodes and Agate

September 62013

This working cattle ranch offers paid geode digging and some world-class agate beds.

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The ground and hillsides here are littered with tiny garnets.

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This site is very kid-friendly and an extremely easy place for wonderstone rock hunting. Just pull up into the quarry and scoop up the rocks, picking out the ones you like best. You’ll gather more material than you could ever use in about five minutes.

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Gold Prospecting Adventures

Gold Prospecting Adventures

Gold mining camp

September 42013

This 1849-replica mining camp is an entertaining time-travel experience for kids, and you can prospect for real gold in the sluice boxes.

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Cherokee Ruby Mine

Cherokee Ruby Mine

Prospect for rubies and sapphires

September 32013

This family-friendly mine allows you to prospect for rubies and sapphires from a flume line.

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Emerald Hollow Mine

Emerald Hollow Mine

collect emeralds in North Carolina

September 32013

Hunt for emeralds in this kid-friendly public mine. $5 buys you a bucket of gravel, and you can also dig and prospect in the creek if you like.

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Some of the finest opals in the world can be dug out of the hillside in this remote Nevada valley. At $180/day it’s pricey, but you get what you pay for.

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Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine – Montana

Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine – Montana

Sapphire Mountain Montana

September 32013

Hunt for sapphires without breaking a sweat. Drive out to the mine located 20 miles west of Philipsburg and you can buy buckets of gravel to sift through.

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Crater of Diamonds Park – Arkansas

Crater of Diamonds Park – Arkansas

Crater of Diamonds State Park

September 32013

Yes, you can hunt for real diamonds. This is the only diamond claim in the world that is open to the public.

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This site is a great stop for the kids if you’re planning a trip to any of the other sites in the Thomas Range.

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Herkimer Quartz “Diamonds” – New York
September 22013

Herkimer diamonds are doubly-terminated quartz crystals. This is a tried and true classic location you must visit if you’re in the area.

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Dugway Geode Beds

Dugway Geode Beds

Dugway Geode Beds

September 22013

Collect geodes at a fantastic place to take kids, if you have a high-clearance vehicle. It used to be maintained by the owner, who would dig new pits with a backhoe, but now you have to dig for them yourself.

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Listing Results

  • Nebo Loop Quarry

    Nebo Loop Quarry

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Graves Mountain Quarry

    Graves Mountain Quarry

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Power’s Farm

    Power’s Farm

    Car-friendly, Pay to collect

    Read more
  • Mule Canyon, Calico Mine

    Mule Canyon, Calico Mine

    Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Mineral Bar Placer Gold Deposits

    Mineral Bar Placer Gold Deposits

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Coalinga Benitoite Mine

    Coalinga Benitoite Mine

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

    Read more
  • Cinco

    Cinco

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Oceanview Mine—Pegmatite Gems

    Oceanview Mine—Pegmatite Gems

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

    Read more
  • Amboy Latham Shale

    Amboy Latham Shale

    Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Flat Top Mountain

    Flat Top Mountain

    Read more
  • Boron Flats Travertine

    Boron Flats Travertine

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • San Gabriel Placer Gold Deposits

    San Gabriel Placer Gold Deposits

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Amboy Marble Quarry

    Amboy Marble Quarry

    Car-friendly

    Read more
  • Agoura Hills Agate

    Agoura Hills Agate

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Afton Canyon Calcite

    Afton Canyon Calcite

    Read more
  • Shadow Mountain “Golf Ball” Garnets

    Shadow Mountain “Golf Ball” Garnets

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Adelanto Mine Dumps

    Adelanto Mine Dumps

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Acton Roadside Agates

    Acton Roadside Agates

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Cherokee Alabama Pudding Stone

    Cherokee Alabama Pudding Stone

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Coyote Lake Meteorite Field

    Coyote Lake Meteorite Field

    Car-friendly

    Read more
  • Athens Geode Beds

    Athens Geode Beds

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Seaman Wash

    Seaman Wash

    Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Tule Valley – Fossils

    Tule Valley – Fossils

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Conger Springs – Fossils

    Conger Springs – Fossils

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Cowboy Pass – Ammonites

    Cowboy Pass – Ammonites

    Car-friendly

    Read more
  • Painter Spring – House Range

    Painter Spring – House Range

    Read more
  • Amasa Valley – Gold Mining in the House Range

    Amasa Valley – Gold Mining in the House Range

    Read more
  • Topaz Mountain – Thomas Range

    Topaz Mountain – Thomas Range

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Joy Ghost Town – Drum Mountain Agate

    Joy Ghost Town – Drum Mountain Agate

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

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  • Milburn Fossil Beds

    Milburn Fossil Beds

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

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  • Jalama Beach

    Jalama Beach

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

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  • Opal Hill Mine

    Opal Hill Mine

    Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

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  • Spectrum Sunstone Mine

    Spectrum Sunstone Mine

    Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

    Read more
  • Saddle Mountain

    Saddle Mountain

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  • Bandon Beach

    Bandon Beach

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • U-Dig Fossil Beds

    U-Dig Fossil Beds

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

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  • Mason’s Gem Mine

    Mason’s Gem Mine

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

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  • Stonerose Fossil Beds

    Stonerose Fossil Beds

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

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  • Rock Candy Mine

    Rock Candy Mine

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

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  • Jake’s Geode Mine

    Jake’s Geode Mine

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

    Read more
  • Fort Drum Crystal Mine

    Fort Drum Crystal Mine

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

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  • Lucky Strike Mine

    Lucky Strike Mine

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

    Read more
  • Richardson’s Rock Ranch

    Richardson’s Rock Ranch

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

    Read more
  • Garnet Basin – Thomas Range

    Garnet Basin – Thomas Range

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Vernon Hills Quarry—Wonderstone

    Vernon Hills Quarry—Wonderstone

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

    Read more
  • Gold Prospecting Adventures

    Gold Prospecting Adventures

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

    Read more
  • Cherokee Ruby Mine

    Cherokee Ruby Mine

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

    Read more
  • Emerald Hollow Mine

    Emerald Hollow Mine

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

    Read more
  • Royal Peacock Opal Mine – Virgin Valley Nevada

    Royal Peacock Opal Mine – Virgin Valley Nevada

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

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  • Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine – Montana

    Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine – Montana

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

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  • Crater of Diamonds Park – Arkansas

    Crater of Diamonds Park – Arkansas

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

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  • Apache Tears – Thomas Range Utah

    Apache Tears – Thomas Range Utah

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly

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  • Herkimer Quartz “Diamonds” – New York

    Herkimer Quartz “Diamonds” – New York

    Car-friendly, Kid-friendly, Pay to collect

    Read more
  • Dugway Geode Beds

    Dugway Geode Beds

    Kid-friendly

    Read more