The 25 Amazing Places To Find and Dig For Crystals In Alaska In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

| Updated

The 25 Amazing Places To Find and Dig For Crystals In Alaska In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Updated

Crystals have captivated the human imagination for centuries, and it’s not hard to see why. These breathtaking geological formations are a testament to the raw beauty and power of nature, dazzling us with their intricate patterns and stunning hues. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a state as rich in natural resources as Alaska, you might just have a chance to find some of these natural wonders yourself.

But where to start? For many would-be rockhounds, crystal hunting can be daunting. That’s where we come in. We scoured our state from top to bottom for the amazing places to find crystals in Alaska and we’ve found the best ones: Lake Iliamna, Sand Point, Healy, Asbestos Mountain, and Jade Mountains. Read on to see what Alaska’s crystal-filled landscape has to offer!

How We Picked The Best Places To Find Crystals in Alaska
We spent a lot of time determining which of the many options for digging and mining for crystals that we have available would be recommended. We wanted to have a good mix of locations for experienced and novice crystals hunters in a variety of settings. Here are the main factors we used when determining the recommendations we set out :

  • The extensive local experience and understanding of our team
  • Input from multiple local crystal hunters and crystal collecting groups
  • The accessibility of the crystal mining locations
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Private and public locations
  • A desire to include locations for both experienced crystal hunters and those who are just starting out

Using these weights we think we’ve put together the best list out there for those who love finding new crystals for our collections!

The Types of Alaska Crystals You Can Find

Three pieces of dark green Bloodstone crystals with different patterns of red and orange.

Alaska is a treasure trove of crystals, with its vast and diverse landscape offering an abundance of different mineral formations. From the towering peaks of the Alaska Range to the crystal-clear waters of the Kenai Peninsula, our state is home to an incredible array of crystal-rich geological formations.

Rare crystals found in Alaska

  • Amber
  • Amethyst
  • Bismuth
  • Bloodstone
  • Copper
  • Jade
  • Magnesite
  • Lepidolite
  • Rhodonite

More common crystals found here

  • Agate
  • Carnelian
  • Chalcedony
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Epidote
  • Fluorite
  • Galena
  • Garnet
  • Jasper
  • Muscovite
  • Obsidian
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz (Clear, Smoky)
  • Serpentine
  • Tourmaline
  • Tremolite

The Best Locations For Crystal Mining in Alaska

A shiny, translucent yellow Amber with its shadow casting

With the many amazing crystal hunting places in our state, here are our top 5 most recommended ones that you should visit.

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 directly with the location. We haven’t personally verified every location and the access requirements and collection rules often change without notice.

Many of the locations we mention will not allow collecting but are still great places for those who love to find beautiful rocks and minerals in the wild without keeping them. We also can’t guarantee you will find anything in these locations since they are constantly changing. 

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding. If you want even more current options it’s always a good idea to contact local rock and mineral clubs and groups

Lake Iliamna is Our Favorite Crystal Mine in Alaska

A photo of Lake Iliamna showing its serene waters and surrounding mountains

Alaska Peninsula and Bristol Bay, AK

Lake Iliamna, the largest lake in our state that covers 1,000 square miles, is a stunning location known for its rich mineral deposits. It offers an incredible variety of crystals for those who know where to look. This place is even considered one of the best places to find Alaska gems.

Lake Iliamna has been a popular spot for crystal hunters for decades, with the lake and its surrounding areas believed to have been formed during the last ice age. The region has been inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years and was first explored by Russian fur traders in the 1700s.

Its surrounding landscape is rugged and mountainous, with the lake itself situated in a basin that was formed by glacial activity. Its geology is what makes it such a prime location for crystal hunting. With its stunning scenery and rich crystal deposits, it’s a true gem of a location for any rockhound.

Where we found crystals at Lake Iliamna

The beautiful beaches of Lake Iliamna is not only great for swimming, but also great for crystal hunting! Here, you can find samples of Agate and Bloodstone crystals.

Rock pick being used

The tools every crystal hunter will need

When you're out looking for crystals having the right tools for the job is very important. 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 crystal miners which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding supplies 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 crystal-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.

Sand Point

A stunning aerial view of Sand Point showing its waters and nearby green landscape

Aleutian Islands, AK

Sand Point is a small community located on Popof Island in the Shumagin Islands in the Gulf of Alaska. The area has been inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years, and was first explored by Russian fur traders in the 1700s. Today, it’s a popular destination for fishing and hunting, as well as crystal hunting.

The area around Sand Point is rugged and mountainous, with the island itself being a volcanic formation. The volcanic formations on the island have created an abundance of geological features, including cliffs, beaches, and exposed rock faces where crystals can be found.

What makes this place so amazing for crystal hunters? The variety of crystals available in the area is incredible. You can find everything from bright red jasper to banded agate. Additionally, the scenery around Sand Point is absolutely breathtaking, making it a wonderful location to explore— with our without finding crystals in mind.

Where we found crystals in Sand Point

You can explore the area beach gravels of Sand Point to find amazing pieces of Agate, Carnelian, Chalcedony, and Jasper crystals. Checkout our guide to help you determine how much crystal is worth.

Healy

A breathtaking view of the mountains and waters in Healy

Interior Region, AK

The picturesque town of Healy is situated near the foothills of the Alaska Range. It was founded in the early 1900s as a coal mining town, but it’s now primarily known as a gateway to Denali National Park. Despite its small size, the area around Healy is rich in natural resources, including crystals.

Healy is located in a valley between the Alaska Range to the south and the foothills of the Brooks Range to the north. The area is characterized by its rugged terrain and abundance of rivers and streams, which have played a significant role in the formation of crystals in the area. The geology of the region is a mix of sedimentary and volcanic rock formations, which have created an incredible variety of minerals and crystals.

The easiest way to get here is by car. It’s located on the Parks Highway, which connects Anchorage to Fairbanks. Once you’re here, you can also check out the local rock shops and talk to the locals to get tips on the best places to go crystal hunting.

Where we found crystals in Healy

Explore the different parts of Healy for some stunning specimens of Amethyst with Agate and Quartz crystals.

Asbestos Mountain

A look at the snowy peaks of Asbestos Mountain with a bear on a nearby open land

Kobuk River Region, AK

Asbestos Mountain is located near the town of Nome, on the western coast of our state. It was named for the asbestos deposits that were discovered in the area in the early 1900s. The site was mined for asbestos until the 1970s, but since then, it’s been closed off to the public due to safety concerns.

Asbestos Mountain is situated on the Seward Peninsula, which is known for its rugged terrain and mineral-rich soils. The geology of the area is dominated by igneous and metamorphic rocks, which have created a wide variety of minerals and crystals. The crystals found at Asbestos Mountain are typically small and not of gem quality, but they are still beautiful and interesting specimens to add to your collection.

If you’re interested in visiting, it’s important to note that the site is closed to the public due to safety concerns. However, there are other locations in the area where you can go crystal hunting, such as nearby rivers and streams.

Where we found crystals at Asbestos Mountain

Start your search in the outcrops of Asbestos Mountain near its summit, where you can get your hands on beautiful samples of Serpentine, Tremolite, and Magnesite crystals.

Jade Mountains

Jade Mountains and its nearby trees

Kobuk River Region, AK

Located in the Koyukuk region, Jade Mountains are a breathtaking location that’s sure to inspire your inner adventurer and its history is as fascinating as the mountains themselves. The region has been inhabited for thousands of years by the Koyukon people, who have long valued Jade for its spiritual significance and practical uses. In more recent history, the area has been a popular spot for Jade mining, with several mines operating in the region.

Geographically, Jade Mountains are part of the Brooks Range, a rugged mountain range that stretches across northern Alaska. The range is rich in minerals and crystals, with Jade being one of the most prized. The geology of the area is dominated by sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, which have created a diverse array of minerals and crystals.

If you’re looking to visit here, you should know that the area is remote and rugged, so it’s important to be well-prepared for the journey. Make sure to bring appropriate gear and supplies, and plan ahead for camping and hiking. Additionally, it’s important to be respectful of the environment and any cultural sites in the area.

Where we found crystals at Jade Mountains

As its name suggests, Jade Mountains abound in Jade crystals! In fact, you can find them in all its area creeks and gravels.

Our Other Favorite Places For Crystal Hunting

A beautiful, rough pink Lepidolite crystal

Aside from our top recommendation, we will also share with you the rest of the other amazing places where you can find crystals in our state. Take note that a handful of these are also great spots to find Alaska geodes.

Where you can find crystals for free in Alaska

In most cases, a lot of amazing crystal hunting places require some fee before allowing you to start your search— but not in Alaska. Here are some of the great free-to-search spots that you can visit.

County Location
Alcan Highway Upstream in Caribou Creek
Alaska Peninsula and Bristol Bay Along shores of Nonvianuk Lake
Aleutian Islands Dutch Harbor, area beach gravels of Captain’s Bay to Priest Rock
Kobuk River Shungnak River area
Seward Peninsula Area pegmatite exposures of Bendeleben Mountains
South and Southeastern Alaska Along Matahuska River at Milepost 72 on Glenn Highway
Topknot of America In beach deposits of Point Barrow

Distinguishing similar crystals apart doesn’t have to be a challenge. Our comprehensive guides break down the distinguishing features of each crystal, empowering you to confidently identify them with ease:

Other great places to dig for crystals

If you don’t mind paying a few bucks for the chance of surer crystal finds, then below are some of the spots for you. The fees may vary (or may be waived) depending on the season, so don’t forget to call first before heading out.

County Location
Interior Region Nabesna Mine area, Chistochina district mines
Seward Peninsula Peninsula mines
South and Southeastern Alaska Area mines of Douglas Island, Ketchikan, and Wrangle

How to find crystals in Alaska

A cluster of white Magnesite crystals

If you notice, some of our recommended places cover huge areas. So to help you narrow down your search, here are the usual crystal-rich spots where you can start your exploration:

Lake Shores and Beds

Lake shores and beds are excellent places to find crystals because they have a unique geology that has been shaped by thousands of years of natural processes. Over time, water currents have eroded the surrounding rocks and minerals, exposing new crystals to be discovered. The result is a diverse range of crystals and minerals.

One of the best ways to search for crystals in lake shores and beds is to explore the surrounding areas during low water levels. This allows you to get a closer look at the exposed rocks and minerals, and also increases your chances of finding new specimens. Just make sure to be cautious when exploring near water, as currents and tides can change quickly.

Streams and Creeks

Another fun and rewarding way to find crystals in Alaska is by searching in streams and creeks. These areas have naturally eroding rocks and minerals, so you might be able to find crystals that have been brought down from the mountains and deposited in the stream beds.

When searching for crystals in streams and creeks, it’s important to look for areas where the water is flowing slowly or has formed pools. These areas are more likely to contain crystals as the slower water flow allows minerals to settle to the bottom. You’ll also want to look for areas where the water has carved out channels in the stream bed, as this can create pockets where crystals can accumulate.

Beaches

Alaska is home to some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the world, and they can be an excellent place to find crystals of all kinds. Beaches are constantly being reshaped by the ocean’s tides and currents. This means that crystals that were previously hidden may be uncovered and deposited on the beach for you to find. Additionally, because the ocean is constantly moving, crystals found on the beach are often well-rounded and polished, making them even more visually appealing.

When searching for crystals on the beach, it’s important to remember that many beaches in Alaska are protected areas, so make sure you have the proper permits and follow any regulations. It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and watch for incoming tides and waves.

Alaska Crystal Mining Laws And Regulations

Crystal mining is a legal activity in Alaska, provided that you abide by our local laws concerning it, specifically the ones from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Generally speaking, make sure you obtain all necessary documents, permits, and permissions before you start your search and be well aware of any existing rules and regulations for the protection of our environment and wildlife. Through this, you will not only be able to take great finds— you’ll also be able to help ensure the sustainability of crystal hunting in Alaska.

The Best Crystal Shops In Alaska

A look at the crystal selections at Nature's Jewels Rock Shop

If you want a rather relaxed, but surely productive way of taking home crystals for your collection, we suggest visiting our local crystal shops. The following shops have some of the best crystal selections in our state:

Additional places to find crystals in nearby states

If you’ve already tried all of our recommendations above or are planning a trip out of the state, you should check out our guides for neighboring states:

If you have any recommendations we haven’t covered, please leave them in the comments 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.

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