32 Authentic Spots To Find And Mine For Amethyst In Colorado In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

| Updated

32 Authentic Spots To Find And Mine For Amethyst In Colorado In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Amethysts are a rare variety of quartz that forms in geodes and can be found in some regions of Colorado. However, locating these precious gems requires a keen eye and some geological knowledge.

Without the proper guidance, one may waste hours searching in the wrong areas and come up empty-handed. Moreover, the terrain where amethysts are typically found can be rugged and challenging, making the hunt even more arduous.

The allure of amethysts has led to a growing interest in gemstone hunting, with many people flocking to Colorado to find these gems. Fortunately, with the right resources and guidance, anyone can have a successful amethyst hunting trip and come away with these stunning crystals.

Fortunately, we’ve done the legwork for you and found a lot of great options for any amethyst hunter to be successful. So, whether you’re a seasoned rockhound or a novice gem enthusiast, with a bit of guidance and determination, you can find amethysts in the state in no time!

What is Colorado Amethyst?

Photo provided by and crystals available for purchase at Sweetiee Designs

Amethyst is a type of quartz that comes in beautiful shades of purple, ranging from pale lilac to deep violet. It’s a popular gemstone for jewelry and decor, not only because of its stunning color but also because of its spiritual and healing properties. Some believe wearing or holding amethyst can promote clarity of mind and inner peace.

In Colorado, amethyst is primarily found in the western part of the state, near Buena Vista. The area’s geology is favorable for forming amethyst geodes, spherical rocks with a hollow cavity lined with crystals. These geodes can be found in volcanic rock formations, requiring a keen eye and geological knowledge. But once you find one, it’s like finding a hidden treasure!

How We Know About Great Locations For Amethyst in Colorado
The best locations to find amethyst in Colorado can be closely guarded secrets. Fortunately, we’ve been around long enough to know where many of the best spots are to find it. We might not know every one out there but we know some pretty good ones. 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 amethyst 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!

The Best Spots To Find Amethyst in Colorado

A dark amethyst crystal with a smooth surface and irregular shape
Photo provided by Exotic Crystals – @exoticcrystals

Here are our top suggestions on where to look for amethyst in the state. It has numerous unusual locations where you can find gems in Colorado, but only a handful are highly effective for finding amethyst. Despite some of these areas not being well-known, we found exciting choices there while looking.

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.

Crystal Hill Mine

A nice view of the Crystal Hill Mine where you can find amethysts

Crystal Hill Mine, located in the beautiful San Juan Mountains of Colorado, is a popular destination for rockhounds and gem enthusiasts looking to discover amethysts. The mine is situated in a picturesque valley surrounded by majestic mountains, making it an excellent location to spend a day exploring nature and finding treasures.

What makes Crystal Hill Mine unique is its accessibility. The mine is easily accessible by car and offers amenities such as restrooms, picnic tables, and shade structures, making it an excellent location for a day trip. Additionally, the mine offers guided tours led by knowledgeable staff who can provide information on the area’s geology and help visitors locate the best spots for amethysts.

Get informed with the most recent Colorado collecting laws before bringing anything home.

Where we found amethyst in Crystal Hill Mine

You can locate amethysts at the area dumps and slopes of Crystal Hill Mine. For more instruction, check out our guide on how to find amethyst in and outside of the state.

Rock pick being used

The tools every amethyst hunter will need

When you're out looking for amethyst 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 amethyst 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 amethyst-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 

Northwest Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Northwestern 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.

Devil’s Head

A peak of the Devil's Head surrounded by lush green trees

Devil’s Head, located in the Rampart Range of the Colorado Rockies, is a popular destination for rockhounds and gem enthusiasts seeking to discover amethysts. This area is well known for producing high-quality amethyst specimens, making it an ideal location to explore nature and discover treasures.

What makes Devil’s Head particularly appealing is its stunning natural beauty. The area offers breathtaking views of the mountains and the surrounding forests. With its unique geological formations and abundant amethyst specimens, this area is a must-visit for anyone interested in rockhounding and gem collecting.

Where we found amethyst in the Devil’s Head

Amethysts can be found in small veins and pockets within granite rock formations of Devil’s Head. You can check out the amethyst price in our thorough guide.

Red Elephant Mountain

A scenic view of the Red Elephant Mountain surrounded by pine trees

Red Elephant Mountain near Manitou Springs in Colorado is a popular destination for rockhounds and gem enthusiasts looking to discover amethysts. This area is renowned for having many amethyst specimens and breathtaking natural beauty, making it the perfect place to find precious gems and other minerals.

The area is characterized by towering red sandstone formations, giving it a unique and striking appearance. Red Elephant Mountain is easily accessible by car and offers amenities such as parking, restrooms, and picnic tables, making it an ideal location for a day trip. The area suits visitors of all skill levels, from novice rockhounds to experienced gem collectors.

Where we found amethyst in the Red Elephant Mountain

At Red Elephant Mountain, amethysts can be found in several locations throughout the area. One of the most popular locations is the Garden of the Gods, where amethysts can be found in small veins and pockets within the sandstone rock formations.

Rim Rock Drive

A picturesque view of the Rim Rock Drive where amethysts can be found

Rim Rock Drive is a scenic road that winds through the Colorado National Monument and offers a unique opportunity to explore the area’s stunning natural beauty while searching for amethysts. This road is a popular destination for rockhounds and gem enthusiasts looking to discover the hidden treasures within the rocks.

Rim Rock Drive is a great location to search for amethysts is the abundance of geological formations and rock layers in the area. The terrain can be challenging, but with the right equipment and determination, anyone can have a successful day of rockhounding. Plus, the drive offers stunning views of the mountains and the surrounding landscape, making it a memorable experience for all.

Where we found amethyst in Rim Rock Drive

Amethysts can be found in several rock types, including sandstone, limestone, and granite. You can explore the areas along the drive and search for amethysts in the rock formations.

Willow Creek

A nice tranquil Willow Creek with mountains in the background

Willow Creek is a picturesque Colorado area popular among rockhounds and gem enthusiasts. The area is characterized by a creek that winds through the stunning natural landscape, allowing you to search for amethysts in the surrounding rock formations.

Willow Creek is the perfect place to spend a day outdoors because it provides a stunning view of the mountains and the surrounding woodlands. Rockhounds of various skill levels can easily access the area.

Where we found amethyst at Willow Creek

You can find amethyst crystals in all the regional silver mines around Willow Creek, where they produce both amethyst crystals and clusters in their dumps.

Other Great Places To Mine For Amethyst in Colorado

A pointy elegant amethyst crystal with a smooth surface
Photo provided by Exotic Crystals – @exoticcrystals

Our recommendations by county

Although we’ve already given our top picks for the best amethyst spots in Colorado, we can still recommend plenty of other spots. To make things easier, we’ve listed them down by county below.

County Location
Archuleta Along Wolf Creek Pass
Chaffee McNasser Gulch
Clear Creek Dixie Mine
Clear Creek Little Giant Mine
Clear Creek Trail Creek gravels
Clear Creek Silver Creek
Douglas Pikes Peak
Fremont Little Badger Creek
Fremont McClure Mountain
Fremont Twelvemile Park
Gunnison Elk Mountain
Larimer Pennoyer Amethyst Mine
Mineral Commodore Mine
Mineral Amethyst Lode
Mineral King Solomon Sunnyside Mines
Mineral Last Chance Mine
Mineral Park Regent Mine
Mineral Mammoth Mine
Park Crystal Peak
Rio Grande Rio Grande River
San Juan Gold Lake
Teller Cripple Creek

Additional areas you can find amethyst

We want to help you search because Colorado is such a large state. You should search the significant and more focused places where amethysts are typically discovered that are described below.

Mines and mine dumps

Mines and mine dumps are great places to find amethyst specimens for collectors due to their geological formations and history of mining activities. Amethysts can be found in various rock formations, including granite, basalt, and volcanic rocks, often in or near mining areas.

Many abandoned mines and mine dumps have become popular among rockhounds and gem enthusiasts seeking to discover amethyst specimens. These areas may have been mined for other minerals, leaving behind discarded rock material that can be searched for amethysts.

Sediment deposits

Roadcuts are excellent places for collectors to find amethysts for several reasons. Roadcuts are created when roads are built through rock formations, exposing previously hidden rock layers. This exposure can reveal amethyst deposits that were previously inaccessible.

Sediment deposits offer a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty of an area while discovering the treasures hidden within the rocks. With some research and preparation, collectors can have a successful day of rockhounding and uncover some stunning amethyst specimens in the process.

Streams and creeks

Streams and creeks are great locations to find amethyst specimens for collectors. Over time, water can erode and transport rock materials, including amethysts, and deposit them in the streambeds and banks. As a result, these areas can be rich in minerals and gems, including amethysts.

One of the advantages of searching for amethysts in streams and creeks is the accessibility of the areas. Many streams and creeks can be easily accessed by foot or by car and are suitable for collectors of all skill levels. Additionally, the running water can help to uncover amethysts that may be hidden in the sediment.

Common Amethyst-Hunting Questions

A brilliant amethyst geode found in Colorado
Photo provided by Weinrich Minerals

Responding to the frequently asked questions about amethysts in Colorado, including those listed is important below:

Where can you find amethyst geodes in Colorado?

Amethyst geodes are abundant in the sands and gravels of the Rio Grande River in Rio Grande County.

Is it illegal to collect amethyst in Colorado?

As long as you abide by local regulations, Colorado permits amethyst collection. If you’re in a public area, follow all the rules that may be in force. Be sure you have permission if you’re on private property.

The Best Places To Buy Amethyst In Colorado

Crystal Joys Gallery in Colorado where you can find and buy amethyst crystals

Looking for amethysts while spending hours in the woods is not something that everyone finds enjoyable. Sometimes, you only need an excellent and unique display or something to add to your collection. The rock shops where you can purchase amethyst crystals are listed below.

Additional places to find amethyst in nearby states

After visiting each place on the list above, you can use the guides we’ve provided below to find more amethysts in nearby states if you’re also planning to travel there:

If you have any recommendations for our list, please leave a comment below!

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.

Leave a Comment