The 10 Great Spots To Find Agates In New York In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

| Updated

The 10 Great Spots To Find Agates In New York In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Updated

New York is known for its diverse geological treasures, but finding them takes a sharp eye, good knowledge, and a little luck. Agate, in particular, blends subtly with its surroundings, making it hard for people who don’t know how to find it.

Because these gems look like regular stones, it’s easy for someone who isn’t trained to spot them. It can be hard to get around because the terrain is so rough, and there are many different rock formations.

People who want to find agates in New York are in luck because the state has a lot of wilderness and different types of rocks. Anyone can find a piece of Earth’s unique art and use the state’s full potential.

We did our agate adventure and came up with many great options to help you have a successful agate hunt in New York! We’ll discuss the various agate types and whether they are accessible here. Prepare for your journey, and let’s get started!

What is New York Agate?

A mesmerizing agate specimen with purple hues and gemmy texture
Agate photo provided by and available for purchase at GalaxyCrystalsStore

Agate is a crystal-like rock that is a specific type of quartz. With their many colors and wavy lines or rings, agates are incredible. These aren’t just there randomly; they tell the story of the stone, like how tree rings show how old a tree is.

Amazingly beautiful and strong, agates are used to make jewelry and other home decor. Long ago, they were used to make tools and lucky charms because they don’t break down quickly when exposed to chemicals.

They are made when liquid minerals get stuck in holes in older rocks. Silica is the main ingredient found in large amounts on Earth. This liquid slowly adds layers inside these holes over a very long time, creating a structure similar to how a pearl is made.

As different things are mixed in, different colors and patterns are created. There are agates all over the world, but most of them are found in places where volcanoes used to be.

Different factors can change how much agates are worth. You can read about these things in our article. People who collect agates and like to wear jewelry pay a lot for some of them.

Moss agates

Moss agate is not an agate, despite its name. This is because it does not have the typical bands that true agates do. On the other hand, this semiprecious stone is a type of chalcedony with green minerals inside it that look like moss.

The green patterns aren’t made up of organic matter; they’re made up of mineral deposits, mostly iron or manganese. These features are what make moss agate look and sound different.

Patterns on each stone are different and can look like landscapes, underwater scenes, or even moss groups. It’s very popular because of its earthy beauty, and it’s used for many things, from making jewelry to carving decorative pieces.

Moss agate isn’t something you see very often in New York. There are many geological areas in New York where different minerals can be found, but moss agate is not usually one of them.

Fire agates

Fire agate is a beautiful type that draws people in with its fiery play of iridescent colors that often look like flames flickering. Thin layers of iron oxide or limonite crystals inside the stone give it this one-of-a-kind effect.

These crystals create an exciting play of light that appears as a kaleidoscope of reds, golds, greens, and sometimes blues. Fire agates are different from other agates because they form in volcanic rock cracks.

Because its colors change so quickly, this stone is beautiful to look at and a favorite among collectors and artists who use it to make jewelry and other decorations.

Fire agates in New York are not very common. Geologically, the state is mostly made up of sedimentary rocks and doesn’t have a lot of volcanic activity. This means fire agates can’t form there because they need specific volcanic conditions.

Blue lace agates

Blue lace agate is a rare type of this mineral. People love it because of the beautiful, delicate bands or “lace” patterns of light blue and white make it look peaceful and captivating.

The soft, relaxing colors and patterns are made when mineral-rich water slowly seeps into rock cracks and deposits silica. The different shades of blue are usually caused by changes in the iron compounds’ intensity and how they oxidize.

As far as being easy to find, blue lace agate is not common in New York. New York’s geology is varied and has a lot of different mineral formations, but the conditions needed for blue lace agate to form aren’t usually present there.

How We Know About Great Locations For Agate in New York
With agates being so beautiful you can image that the best spots are not always advertised widely. In fact, it isn’t unusual for good places to find agates to be secrets known by just a few locals. Fortunately, you do know someone who has been around the block!

The key factors in our recommendations are:

  • The deep experience and understanding of our team about the area
  • Recommendations from local groups and clubs
  • How easy it is to get the a particular location
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Weighing private and public locations
  • The ability for both experienced and novice agate enthusiasts to find great samples

With these factors in mind we’ve been able to put together a fantastic list that just about anyone can use!

Rock pick being used

The tools every agate hunter will need

When you're out looking for agates having the right tools for the job is really going to make or break your success. You don't need a lot for most trips but there are a handful that are critical and will make your life a lot easier.

We get asked a lot about the equipment we use. Over the years we've found a handful of tools that we recommend to both new and experienced agate hunters which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding tools and kit guide. These are quality options that also happen to be relatively inexpensive.

Below are the basic tools that make your life so much easier and save you a ton of time. Check out the full guide to see everything we recommend bringing. One quick note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases but we try very hard to only recommend gear we would use ourselves and often recommend brands you can't find on Amazon.

At a minimum you should have:

1 - Sturdy rock hammer: The Estwing Rock Pick is our standard

2 - Rugged chisels: Try Kendo' 3-piece Chisel Set

3 - Compact shovel: The Koleiya 28-inch shovel works well

4 - Rock screen pan: The Wazakura Soil Sieve Set fits the bill

5 - Eye protection: DeWalt Safety Glasses are cheap and comfortable

6 - Head protection: Malta's Safety Helmet has been our go-to

7 - Jewelers lens with at least 20x magnification: Jarlink's Jewelers Loop is perfect

The agate-finding books that we use most

There are also a few books that have been extremely helpful in the search for gems. These books have great recommendations and tips:

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America 

Northeast Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Northeastern Quadrant 

We provide links to find these tools on Amazon but some can also be found at your local hardware stores. For more recommendations check out the link to our full tool guide above.

The Best Spots To Find Agates in New York

A gorgeous hexagonal polished moss agate gemstone
Agate photo provided by Radhekrishna Gemstone

There are many places in New York where you can explore and possibly find agates. Although there are several spots where you can find gems in New York, not all can contain agates.

Here are some places where dedicated collectors can still find these lovely gems.

Always Confirm Access and Collection Rules!

Before heading out to any of the locations on our list you need to confirm access requirements and collection rules for both public and private locations.

These requirements are subject to change without notice and may differ from what we state below.

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding.

Natural Bridge

A picturesque view of the Natural Bridge at the lake with forests of trees

Natural Bridge, located in Jefferson County, is famous for its interesting rock formations and long history of minerals. This place is named after a famous natural stone bridge formed by erosion over many years.

The bridge is made of a unique mix of limestone and dolostone, which shows the area’s rich geological history. The best part of Natural Bridge for rockhounds is what’s below the surface.

Geology in the area has layers of quartz and calcite in the rock, which makes it a good place for agates and other chalcedonies to form.

Not only does Natural Bridge have beautiful gems, but it also has beautiful trails, caverns, and the famous stone arch that gives the place its name.

Natural Bridge is a great place to go if you want to find agates or other hidden gems in nature because it is beautiful outside, and exciting to find something new.

Where we found agates at the Natural Bridge

Even though the area isn’t famous for agates, the wide range of minerals there makes it possible to find these valuable stones.

Looking in rocky areas and streams can be especially fun after natural erosion or the ground thaws in the spring when new things tend to surface.

Crystal Grove Diamond Mine and Campground

A rocky area at the crystal grove diamond mine and campground where you can find agates

The Crystal Grove Diamond Mine and Campground is popular for families and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a unique experience and the thrill of discovery.

It’s located in the beautiful town of St. Johnsville, and this site is famous for having a lot of double-terminated quartz crystals, which people affectionately call “Herkimer Diamonds.”

You can find these natural treasures and enjoy the peaceful beauty of Upstate New York at the same time. Because it has a lot of silica, the bedrock in the mine is perfect for growing different kinds of quartz.

To form, agates need similar conditions, and even though they are usually found near volcanoes, it’s still possible to find agates or other silicate minerals that are similar. The fun here comes from the hunt and the chance discovery of geological wonders.

Where we found agates at Crystal Grove Diamond Mine and Campground

The high silica content in the mine’s bedrock makes it a great place for agate varieties to grow.

Eighteen Mile Creek

A stretch of the creek and gravel beds at Eighteen Mile Creek

Eighteen Mile Creek is a beautiful part of Erie County, New York. It’s a popular spot for rockhounds, fossil hunters, and nature lovers.

The area is a window into a long geological past because its streams wind through layers of old sedimentary formations. The creek’s name comes from how far away it is from the Niagara River.

Eighteen Mile Creek has some potential for people who are looking for agate. The site is famous for having a lot of marine fossils, like trilobites and brachiopods.

However, the different types of sedimentary deposits suggest that the area also had a lot of different minerals. The creek’s natural processes are always exposing new material, which makes it easier to find things you didn’t expect.

Where we found agates at Eighteen Mile Creek

The rocks along its banks tell different stories from millions of years ago. Agates are formed when holes slowly fill up in volcanic or sedimentary rocks. They need certain conditions to form, but they can be found here.

It’s not very common, but it’s possible, especially in gravel deposits where water has deposited different rocks.

Genesee River

A breathtaking waterfall along the stetch of Genesee River

The Genesee River flows through beautiful New York scenery from the Allegheny Plateau to Rochester and ends in the Great Lake Ontario. It’s a natural wonder and a great place to enjoy the outdoors.

The river is a great place for water sports, fishing, and nature photography. It’s also a draw for rockhounds and mineral collectors because of the area’s interesting geology.

Along with mineral hunting, the Genesee River is a beautiful place to explore and relax, with its lush valleys and waterfalls, such as the famous Letchworth State Park, sometimes called the “Grand Canyon of the East.”

Collectors should follow local collection laws and landowner permissions to ensure that their hobby is done in a respectful way and doesn’t harm the environment.

Where we found agates at Genesee River

Because the river flows for a long time through many different landscapes, it crosses several geological zones.

Even though the Genesee River area isn’t known for agates, the different sedimentary environments along its banks could make mineral deposits.

Wesley Hills

An area of Wesley Hills where you can locate agates

People who love the quiet beauty of nature and the variety of rocks in Rockland County will find Wesley Hills a very appealing place to visit. This cute village has rolling hills, thick forests, and is close to the lower Hudson Valley. It offers more than meets the eye, especially for rock and mineral collectors.

The bedrock in the area is made up of different sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks that have been pushed and shifted by plates and glaciers over thousands of years.

Because of this variety, agates are uncommon but could be found in the area. They were probably brought there by glaciers during the last Ice Age.

Wesley Hills draws people in with its peaceful hiking trails, interesting historical sites, and lively arts community.

Where we found agates at Wesley Hills

These semiprecious gems were formed in pockets within old lava flows. They are often found in volcanically active places, like the area around Wesley Hills millions of years ago.

Other Great Places To Find Agates in New York

A stunning polished and tumbled agate gemstone with orange hues
Agate photo provided by Rashi Ratan Gem Store

We’ve already listed the best places to find agates in New York. To help you find what you need, we will tell you about more specific places where you can look.

Additional areas you can find agates

More specific places to find agates are listed below. We’ll help you find these since New York is a big state.

Mines and mine dumps

Rock and mineral collectors are especially interested in mines and mine dumps because of the variety of rocks and minerals that have been taken out of them over time.

At these sites, where the ground has been dug up very deeply, hidden layers of the Earth’s crust are revealed, revealing a wide range of mineral wonders, such as agates. Agates are found in cracks in volcanic rocks or old lava flows.

This means that places where people used to mine, especially for ores related to volcanoes, are great places to find these gems.

Rivers and riverbanks

Agate collectors like to go to rivers and riverbanks because they are natural places with lots of agates. These waterways shape the land all the time and naturally move rocks and minerals, like agates, along them.

As rivers flow, they wear away at the land, bringing valuable rocks from deep within the earth to the surface and carrying them further downstream.

Because agates are formed in volcanic or sedimentary settings, they are strong and don’t break easily when they move along riverbeds.

Streams and creeks

Streams and creeks are great places for agate collectors to look because they always find and show off new geological treasures. These smaller rivers and streams often wind through different types of rock formations.

They move and wear away rocks and minerals from areas higher upstream. Because they are easier to get to and have slower flows than more significant rivers, they are great for in-depth exploration.

As rivers and creeks move over rock and dirt beds, they reveal hidden piles of stones, like agates. As these gems roll along the streambed, they naturally get smoothed out over time, showing off their beautiful colors and intricate patterns.

Common Agate-Hunting Questions

A unique and gorgeous banded agate specimen
Agate photo provided by SRL Trading

When people go to New York to look for agates, they often ask these things.

Is it illegal to collect agate in New York?

Following the rules, you can look for agates in New York. Talk to the land owner and get permission to take samples there.

The Best Places To Buy Agates In New York

Astro Gallery of Gems rock shop in New York where you can find and buy agate specimens

Some people don’t like searching for agates outside when it’s hot. Sometimes you only need one piece to give as a gift or add to your library. It’s easy to find agates in the following places in New York:

About Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He has worked as a professional Geologist for over 20 years and holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters Degree in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelors Degree in Geology from the University of Connecticut.

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