51 Worthwhile Places To Find And Dig For Crystals In Colorado In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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51 Worthwhile Places To Find And Dig For Crystals In Colorado In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Colorado is the place to be if you’re looking for some amazing crystals! With its stunning natural beauty and rich geological history, the Centennial State is home to some of the most incredible crystal specimens in the world.

From the famous quartz crystals of the Pike’s Peak region to the brilliant red garnets of the San Juan Mountains, there’s no shortage of options for any crystal enthusiast looking to strike it lucky. And with plenty of public lands and crystal mines scattered throughout the state, finding your treasure trove of sparkling gems is easier than you might think.

But let’s talk about what makes these crystals so special. They’re not just pretty rocks, they’re ancient natural formations that have been growing and changing deep within the earth for millions of years. And the colors, shapes, and patterns they come in are truly a sight to behold – from delicate points and clusters to massive boulders and intricate formations.

So if you’re ready to get your hands dirty and uncover some of the most beautiful and incredible crystals in the world, grab your pickaxe and sense of adventure, and let’s go crystal hunting!

How We Picked The Best Places To Find Crystals in Colorado
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 Colorado Crystals You Can Find

An elegant aquamarine found while crystal hunting in Colorado

Colorado has some of the sweetest, clearest quartz crystals you’ve ever seen, and they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. The San Juan Mountains are a prime spot for finding stunning red garnets that will knock your socks off. But the best part about crystal hunting in Colorado is the thrill of the hunt. There are loads of public lands and crystal mines to explore, and you never know what kind of treasure you might uncover.

Rare crystals found in Colorado

  • Amazonite
  • Amber
  • Amethyst
  • Carnelian
  • Creedite
  • Epidote
  • Kyanite
  • Lazulite
  • Lepidolite
  • Moonstone
  • Rhodochrosite
  • Rhodonite
  • Sapphire
  • Selenite
  • Turquoise

More common crystals found here

  • Agate
  • Apatite
  • Aquamarine
  • Azurite
  • Beryl
  • Calcite
  • Chalcedony
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Chrysocolla
  • Fluorite
  • Galena
  • Garnet
  • Hematite
  • Jasper
  • Malachite
  • Muscovite
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Topaz 
  • Tourmaline

The Best Locations For Crystal Mining in Colorado

A unique pretty creedite specimen with spiky crystals

Here are a few of the best crystal hunting places in Colorado. We have no doubt that you will have the same success exploring them and discovering unique crystals as we have!

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.

California Mine

An area at California Mine full of big rocks and gravels

Nathrop, Chaffee County

The California Mine is in the picturesque Fourmile Creek area, just outside Lake George. This region is known for its rich geological history, with rocks dating back millions of years. This area is also included on your list of the best places to look for gems in Colorado.

The mine was discovered in the late 1800s, during Colorado’s gold rush. While the gold may have run out, the mine was a rich source of crystals and other minerals. Today, you can still explore the mine and the surrounding area for treasures.

Where we found crystals at the California Mine

We have gathered various crystals throughout the California mine area, including aquamarine, beryl, fluorite, muscovite, quartz, tourmaline, and topaz.

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 tools 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 

Southwest Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Southwestern 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.

Crystal Peak

A breathtaking view of the Crystal Peak in Colorado

Breckenridge in Summit County

Crystal Peak is located near Lake George in central Colorado, and it’s been a popular destination for rockhounds for over a century. The area is known for its rich geological history, with rocks dating back millions of years. And the unique combination of factors that shaped the region – including volcanic activity, tectonic movement, and erosion – has created the perfect conditions for crystal growth.

Well, for starters, the clear quartz crystals found here are some of the most spectacular in the world. They come in various shapes and sizes, from tender points to massive boulders. And if you’re lucky, you might even find some amethyst or smoky quartz mixed in.

Where we found crystals at Crystal Peak

Crystals of amazonite, beryl, fluorite, hematite, pyrite, quartz, topaz, and tourmaline can be found across Crystal Peak’s whole area. Once you’ve gathered your new treasures, you can determine crystal prices by visiting this article.

Eight Mile Park

An aerial view of Eight Mile Park with a small lagoon in the middle

Fremont County, Colorado

If you’re looking for a great spot to find some incredible minerals and crystals in Colorado, you’ll definitely want to check out Eight Mile Park. This location is a real hidden gem and a great spot for rockhounds of all levels to explore.

Eight Mile Park is located near Lake George, and it’s known for its rich deposits of topaz, smoky quartz, and other minerals. The area’s unique geology – which includes volcanic activity, tectonic movement, and erosion – has created the perfect conditions for crystal growth, making it a prime spot for crystal hunting.

The history of the area is also fascinating. The park was once the site of an old mining operation, and remnants of the past can still be seen today. But while the gold may be gone, the park is still a rich source of treasures for rockhounds to uncover.

Where we found crystals at Eight Mile Park

Azurite, beryl, calcite, chalcedony, chrysocolla, garnet, hematite, malachite, quartz, and tourmaline crystals are primarily found at Eight Mile Creek in Royal George.

Evergreen Mine

A gorgeous apatite with shades of blue and green and patches of gray minerals

Nestled in the heart of Colorado, Evergreen Mine has a history that’s as rich as the minerals it houses. Back in the day, the mine was a gold digger’s paradise, but nowadays, it’s a crystal hunter’s dream come true. As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and this spot proves that!

Evergreen Mine kicked off in the late 1800s as part of the great Colorado Gold Rush. But as the gold petered out, the miners stumbled upon a hidden gem – quite literally! This old mine was chock-full of dazzling crystals just waiting to be discovered.

Today, folks from all walks of life flock to Evergreen Mine for a shot at unearthing their shimmering keepsakes. With a little elbow grease and some good old-fashioned luck, you might stumble upon a crystal that’ll make your heart skip a beat.

Where we found crystals at the Evergreen Mine

The Evergreen Mine dumps contain azurite, calcite, chalcopyrite, chrysocolla, galena, garnet, hematite, malachite, and pyrite crystals.

Mount Antero

Two crystal hunters looking for aquamarines at Mount Antero

Mount Antero is a sight for sore eyes rising high in the Colorado Rockies. It’s not just the breathtaking views that make this place special – it’s also a treasure trove for crystal enthusiasts! With an elevation of 14,269 feet, this towering giant is the tenth-highest peak in the state.

Mount Antero was named after Chief Antero of the Uintah band of Utes, a local Native American tribe. Its geology is a product of the Pike’s Peak Batholith, formed around 1.1 billion years ago. This geological marvel is full of granite, which hosts many precious minerals.

But Mount Antero’s abundance of aquamarine crystals sets it apart. These dazzling gems are a crystal hunter’s dream come true! If you’re itching for an adventure and want to have something shiny, this is the place to be!

Remember that the trek to Mount Antero isn’t for the faint. The trails are steep and rugged, but you might find a sparkling prize if you’re up for the challenge with grit and determination.

Where we found crystals at Mount Antero

We had the best luck finding apatite, aquamarine, beryl, calcite, fluorite, hematite, quartz, topaz, and tourmaline crystals along the trails of Mount Antero.

Our Other Favorite Places For Crystal Hunting

A dazzling lazulite with an irregular shape and different blue hues

Naturally, the state has many amazing locations where you may find crystals and search for geodes in Colorado. Below is a list of more possibilities worth considering:

Where you can find crystals for free in Colorado

Let’s start by discussing a few places you can look without paying. Some places are free to visit even if many attractive places require an entrance fee.

County Location
Baca In white sandstone exposures for azurite, chalcopyrite, and malachite
Boulder Laramie formation coal beds for amber
Chaffee At the Chalk Creek gravels at Buena Vista for sapphire
Chaffee Mount Princeton and White Mountain area for aquamarine, beryl, quartz, topaz, and tourmaline
Douglas At the Devils Head prospect and Topaz claim for amazonite, amethyst, fluorite, hematite, quartz, and topaz
El Paso All surrounding areas of Calhan for amazonite, quartz, and selenite
El Paso Austin Bluffs and Buffalo Creek area gravels and hillsides for amazonite, agate, carnelian, chalcedony, fluorite, jasper, quartz, and topaz
El Paso Cook Stove Mountain and Crystal Park for amazonite, fluorite, hematite, muscovite, quartz, topaz, and tourmaline
Fremont Felch Creek for agate, chalcedony, and jasper
Gunnison At the Elk Mountains for calcite, chalcopyrite, fluorite, galena, pyrite, and quartz
La Plate Needles Mountains for calcite, chalcopyrite, fluorite, galena, pyrite, and rhodochrosite
Mineral Willow Creek for amethyst, chalcedony, and turquoise
Mineral The Amethyst Lode and Wolf Creek Pass for agate, chalcedony, jasper, moonstone, and quartz
Moffat Green and Yampa River for agate, carnelian, chalcedony, and jasper
Park South Platte River, Agate Plateau, and Meyers Ranch for agate, beryl, chalcedony, garnet, jasper, and tourmaline
Park South Platte River, Agate Plateau, and Meyers Ranch for agate, beryl, chalcedony, garnet, jasper, and tourmaline
Park Lake George for amazonite, beryl, fluorite, galena, garnet, hematite, quartz, smoky quartz, and topaz
Park Lake George for amazonite, beryl, fluorite, galena, garnet, hematite, quartz, smoky quartz, and topaz
San Miguel Big Bear Creek for calcite, chalcopyrite, fluorite, and galena
Summit Kokomo for chalcopyrite, galena, pyrite, rhodonite, and rhodochrosite
Teller Florissant area for amazonite, smoky quartz, and topaz

Other great places to dig for crystals

These other fantastic locations are terrific places to look for crystals if you don’t mind spending money on them. Different seasons can cost differently and can sometimes be free of charge! Get in touch with them before going to these places.

County Location
Chaffee Clora May Mine for fluorite and garnet
Chaffee Crystal No. 8 Mine for fluorite, garnet, and quartz
Chaffee Sedalia Copper Mine for azurite, beryl, chalcopyrite, chrysocolla, epidote, galena, kyanite, malachite, pyrite, quartz, and tourmaline
Chaffee Saville Queen No. 2 Mine and area prospects for beryl, garnet, and quartz
Chaffee Calumet Iron Mine and Rock King Mine for beryl, chalcopyrite, epidote, pyrite, quartz, and sapphire
Custer White Hills Mine dumps for azurite, galena, and malachite
El Paso Duffield Fluorspar Mine for galena and fluorite
Hinsdale Sunnyside Mine for rhodonite
Mineral The Commodore Mine for amethyst
Mineral Wagon Wheel Gap Mine for calcite, chalcedony, fluorite, creedite, quartz
Ouray Ouray area mines for chalcopyrite, calcite, galena, pyrite, rhodonite, and rhodochrosite
Saguache Hall Mine for hematite, lazulite, pyrite, and turquoise
Summit Breckenridge old mines for calcite, chalcopyrite, galena, pyrite, rhodochrosite, and rhodonite
Summit Frisco area mine dumps for galena, pyrite, and quartz
Saguache Many old mine dumps of Montezuma for calcite, chalcopyrite, galena, pyrite, and quartz

How to find crystals in Colorado

A solid black hematite with an irregular shape and an uneven surface

Here are some additional tips to help you identify crystals and maximize your time in a specific location. The following are some of the best places to search:

Mines and mine dumps

Scouring mines and mine dumps is like hitting the jackpot for crystal enthusiasts. These spots are full of hidden gems, just waiting for someone with a keen eye and a bit of luck to unearth their glittering beauty. But what about mines and mine dumps make them such hotspots for crystal hunting?

For starters, mines are dug deep into the earth to extract valuable minerals, which are prime locations for finding some of the world’s most sought-after crystals. It’s like the miners did the heavy lifting for you! Mine dumps are the piles of rock and debris left behind after mining operations, often containing a treasure trove of overlooked gems.

Keeping a few things in mind when combing through these glittering goldmines is important. First, safety is key – always wear protective gear like hard hats, gloves, and sturdy boots. And don’t forget to respect the environment and local regulations – some mines may be off-limits or require permission to enter.

Rivers and riverbanks

Looking for crystals along rivers and riverbanks is like embarking on a treasure hunt – you never know what sparkly gems you might stumble upon! These watery wonderlands can be a goldmine for crystal fanatics, with the flowing waters often revealing hidden surprises.

Thanks to Mother Nature’s handiwork, rivers and riverbanks are prime locations for crystal hunting. As water rushes over rocks, it gradually wears them down, uncovering shiny trinkets that were once hidden from sight. Plus, the constant movement of water can carry crystals from upstream, depositing them along the banks for lucky treasure seekers to find.

But before diving headfirst into this aquatic adventure, remember a few things. First, always protect the environment by not disturbing plants and wildlife or leaving trash behind. And be sure to follow any local regulations – some areas may require permits or restrict where you can search.

Streams and creeks

Streams and creeks act as nature’s conveyor belts, transporting minerals and crystals from their original locations and depositing them downstream. It’s like Mother Nature has done the hard work for you! The constant water flow also polishes the stones, revealing their true beauty and making them easier to spot.

Before jumping in with both feet, though, remember a few things. First and foremost, always respect the environment – don’t disturb plants or wildlife, and leave no trace of your visit. And don’t forget to check local regulations, as some areas may require permits or have restrictions on where you can search.

Safety is key when it comes to crystal hunting in streams and creeks. Wear sturdy shoes with good grip, and be mindful of slippery rocks and swift currents. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day – crystal hunting takes patience and perseverance, so keep your eyes peeled and stay the course!

Colorado Crystal Mining Laws And Regulations

Crystal hunting is a popular pastime for residents and visitors in Colorado. The state is home to various minerals, making it an ideal place for recreational mining. However, it’s important to be aware of and follow the regulations in place to ensure the protection of the environment and the continued enjoyment of this hobby for future generations.

Always be aware of land ownership. Some areas may be on public land managed by the Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service, or other agencies, while others may be privately owned. Make sure you can access and search for crystals on private land. On public land, follow the rules and guidelines set by the managing agency. Some public lands may limit the number, size, or type of specimens you can collect. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these limits and adhere to them.

Practice responsible crystal hunting by minimizing your impact on the environment. This includes not disturbing plants or wildlife, not creating new paths, and packing out any trash you bring in. Always prioritize your safety and the safety of others. This includes wearing appropriate clothing and gear, being aware of potential hazards, and following any posted warnings or restrictions.

Some areas may require a permit or charge a fee for recreational crystal mining. Check with the managing agency or landowner to determine if this applies to the area you plan to visit. Remember, regulations may change over time and can vary depending on the specific location you plan to visit. Always check with the appropriate agency or landowner for the most up-to-date information on recreational crystal mining regulations in Colorado.

The Best Crystal Shops In Colorado

The Crystal Garden in Colorado where you can find and buy various crystal specimens

Many of us enjoy making little purchases to complete our collections because the state offers diverse crystals. If you’re seeking rare and beautiful crystals, these are the greatest crystal shops we discovered in the 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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