The 32 Verified Places To Find And Dig For Crystals In Nevada In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 32 Verified Places To Find And Dig For Crystals In Nevada In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Nestled in the heart of the American West is a treasure trove of natural wonders. Among its most remarkable gems are the stunning and diverse crystals waiting to be discovered!

The Silver State is rich in history, cultural significance, and mineral wealth. From its hidden mines’ sparkling depths to its rugged mountains’ sunlit surface, this state offers many opportunities for crystal hunters to explore and unearth their prized finds.

We will be detailing in this article the locations for successfully finding crystals in Nevada, which serves as a valuable resource for all enthusiasts.

How We Picked The Best Places To Find Crystals in Nevada
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 Crystals We Found

A stunning raw turquoise crystals with white spots and veins
Turquoise photo provided by and available for purchase at GEMSTREASURE01

Crystals are truly unique rocks that show the stunning beauty of nature’s work. The possibilities are endless as the desert, and each find brings special charm and value.

Our trip to Nevada’s crystal-hunting hotspots and fascinating rockhounding locations will take you on an unforgettable adventure into the heart of this mineral-rich wonderland!

Rare crystals found in Nevada

  • Amethyst
  • Chrysocolla
  • Citrine
  • Dumortierite
  • Hematite
  • Obsidian
  • Onyx
  • Opal
  • Rhodonite
  • Rose Quartz
  • Quartz

More common crystals found here

  • Agate
  • Azurite
  • Chalcedony
  • Garnet
  • Jasper
  • Malachite
  • Turquoise
  • Fossils

The Best Locations For Crystal Mining We’ve Found

A mesmerizing natural opal specimen
Opal photo provided by ExoticCrystals

If you can only visit a few places, these are the ones we recommend. They have worked best for us, and we think you will too.

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.

Las Vegas Wash

A beautiful landscape of the Las Vegas Wash with soil, plants, and body of water

The 12-mile-long Las Vegas Wash is a natural channel that has been essential to the area’s history and environment. It gets its water from natural springs and urban runoff and flows into Lake Mead.

Historically, the Wash was a vital water source for Native American tribes and later for settlers. It has changed over time due to urbanization and natural changes, but it’s still an essential ecological zone that supports a wide range of wild species.

The Wash is attractive because it’s an excellent place to look for crystals and has historical and ecological value. You can enjoy the area’s natural beauty while learning how it helped the region grow.

Where we found crystals at the Las Vegas Wash

The areas around the Wash, where water has flowed and worn away at the ground, often hide mineral gems.

Quartz, one of the most common crystals in the state, is often found here, along with other mineral specimens.

Cold Springs Valley

A picturesque area at Cold Springs Valley where you can search for crystals

There is a lot of natural beauty and history in Cold Springs Valley. With its rough terrain and stunning views, this peaceful valley has been a part of the state’s history for hundreds of years.

Native American tribes were the first people to live there, and later, settlers and miners moving west made it their destination. The valley’s history is closely linked to the state’s mining boom in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Cold Spring Valley is one of the ideal places to find gems in Nevada. From quartz and agate to jasper and garnet, the variety of crystals waiting to be discovered is genuinely astonishing.

The picturesque landscape, characterized by rolling hills, rugged cliffs, and serene meadows, only adds to the valley’s allure, making it a perfect escape for anyone seeking solace in nature.

Where we found crystals at the Cold Springs Valley

Many different crystals can be found in the landscape’s rocky hills and stream beds, like quartz, azurite, chrysocolla, hematite, and malachite.

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.

Copper King Mine

A dazzling rose quartz with different hues of pink
Rose Quartz photo provided by elfkendalhippies

The Copper King Mine has a lot of mining history and geological interest. It was built during the state’s mining boom and is an excellent example of how the state has been a primary source of minerals.

The mine was mainly used for copper extraction, which shows how rich the area is in minerals. Over the years, it attracted prospectors and made a big difference in the local economy, typical of the history of mining in our state.

The mine and its surroundings bring the past to life by showing how mining was done and the challenges faced in the past.

Where we found crystals at Copper King Mine

Crystals of rose quartz and turquoise can be discovered at the area pegmatite outcrops of Copper King Mine. To know how much crystals cost, check out this guide for insights on determining their price.

Lahontan Reservoir

The Lahontan Reservoir surrounded with lush trees

The Lahontan Reservoir is an important landmark with a fascinating geological history. It was built in the early 1900s as part of the Newlands Reclamation Project and was a key part of turning the dry area into arable land.

It was named after the ancient Lake Lahontan, which covered much of the state, and it’s now a vital water source for irrigation and a popular place for recreation.

The changing levels of the reservoir’s water, especially during droughts, reveal large areas of land that were submerged before. Old volcanic activity in the area has produced a variety of minerals, marking its geological history.

There are beautiful views and fun things to do at Lahontan Reservoir. You can go fishing, boating, camping, and more, making it a flexible place to visit!

Where we found crystals at Lahontan Reservoir

Agate, chalcedony, and jasper crystals can be found on the surface and northeast shore of the Lahontan Reservoir. The exposed lakebeds and surrounding areas are also potential hotspots for finding crystals.

Palmetto Canyon

Mill Ruins at the Palmetto Canyon where you can find crystals

The Palmetto Canyon area is both beautiful and full of history. The canyon is known for its rough terrain and beautiful landscapes.

Native Americans have inhabited the area and later by people exploring and mining in the 19th and 20th centuries.

During the state’s famous mining booms, the area was especially renowned for silver mining, leaving a legacy of historical sites and stories.

Palmetto Canyon shows how wild and raw the state’s landscape is. Its historical importance and wide range of geological features make it a great place to visit for people interested in nature and the history of the American West.

The canyon’s calm and mostly unspoiled environment makes it an excellent place for adventure, discovery, and fun!

Where we found crystals at Palmetto Canyon

The eroded volcanic rocks and sedimentary layers exposed in the canyon walls and creek beds are ideal places to search for agate, citrine, jasper, and quartz crystals.

Rainbow Ridge Mine

Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine entrance sign

Putnam County, NY

Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine in Virgin Valley is famous for having a lot of valuable opals. This area, part of the larger opal fields, has been a significant source of these gemstones since the early 1900s.

Enthusiasts from all over the world come to the mine to see its high-quality black opals. Its history is an important part of the state’s opal mining story.

These opals are very popular because of their beautiful colors and unique patterns. The way they were formed is connected to the area’s ancient geological past.

Silica-rich waters seeped into wood that broke down and hardened over time, creating these valuable crystals.

In Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine, you can look for your opals in the mine waste, giving you hands-on experience in opal mining. This activity connects you to the earth’s geological processes and gives you the thrill of discovery!

Where we found crystals at Rainbow Ridge Mine

Opals and other crystals are primarily found in the mine’s tailings, the piles of rock and soil that were dug up and thrown away after the mining process.

People like to search these tailings because they often have opals and other minerals that were missed during mining.

My Other Favorite Places For Crystal Hunting

A gorgeous black onyx with streaks of white and a smooth surface
Onyx photo provided by TheCelticsBrew

After telling you about our top six crystal-hunting spots, we wanted to give you more options. Because the state has such a large and varied geography, there are many great places to go crystal hunting, including geode-hunting spots.

Where you can find crystals for free

Let’s start by discussing a few places to look for free things. Although many amazing places have entrance fees, other locations are free to visit.

County Location
Clark Area surfaces and range of low hills for chalcedony, jasper, and onyx
Elko Area gravels surfaces and outcrops of Tuscarora for citrine and rose quartz
Esmeralda Area draws, washes, surfaces in Coaldale for agate, jasper, opal, and turquoise
Esmeralda All regional surfaces of Goldfield for chalcedony, jasper, obsidian, and quartz
Esmeralda At the area slopes of Gold Mountain at Tokop for citrine and quartz
Eureka Ruby Hill district for azurite and malachite
Humboldt Area regional land surfaces for agate, chalcedony, jasper, and opal
Humboldt Rough dirt roads at Kings River Valley and area surfaces of Agate Point for agate, chalcedony, and jasper
Lincoln Sugar Loaf Peak for turquoise
Nye Old site of Bullforg and area mines in Tertiary volcanics for azurite, amethyst, and malachite
Pershing Gypsy Queen Canyon and Bullion Canyon for dumortierite and quartz
Washoe Area draws, fields, land surfaces, and washes for agate, garnet, and obsidian

Other great places to dig for crystals

If you want to pay, you can also search for crystal at the following sites. Depending on the season, the cost may change or even be free. Before visiting the locations, you ought to contact them.

County Location
Clark Area mines at Bullion district for azurite, chrysocolla, and malachite
Elko Area mines at Mountain City for azurite and malachite
Esmeralda Bonnie Blue Mine for turquoise
Washoe Burrus Mine for azurite

My tips for finding crystals

A fascinating pink rhodonite specimen with spiky crystals
Rhodonite photo provided by Fine Mineral Photography – @finemineralphotography

Here are some additional specific recommendations on utilizing your time in a certain place to help you with your adventure. Some of the best places to look for crystals include the following:

Mine and mine dumps

Because mines and mine dumps are active geologically, searching in them is a unique and effective way to find crystals. Mines looking for precious metals and gemstones often go deep into the earth’s crust and cross mineral-rich veins and pockets. This process finds many crystals that might not be visible any other way.

Crystal hunters often find treasures in mine dumps, piles of waste rock and soil from mining operations. These dumps hold gems and minerals that were missed earlier because they contain rock and soil taken from deep underground.

Crystals are often found in their natural matrix, making the discovery experience more authentic.

Rivers and riverbanks

It’s fun and exciting to look for crystals in rivers and along riverbanks because nature concentrates and exposes different minerals there. Rivers’ constant flow acts as a natural sifter, removing rock and soil to reveal hidden mineral deposits.

Over time, heavier materials like quartz, garnets, and even gold settle at the bottom of the river or get stuck in cracks and behind more giant rocks.

You can also find crystals along the banks of rivers because floods and changing water levels can bring them up and place them there, making them easier to find.

Crystals are often found in the gravel or sand layers, significantly where the water slows down and heavier particles settle.

Road cuts

Looking for crystals in roadcuts is a unique and easy way to learn about geological formations. Roadcuts reveal layers of rock that would usually be hidden below the earth’s surface.

This exposure often shows different mineral deposits and crystal formations, making roadcuts surprising but promising places to go crystal hunting.

Crystals can be found in the exposed rock faces or the loose material at the base of these roadcuts. Because roads cut through different rock layers, they can show a wide range of minerals.

The Mining Laws And Regulations You Should Know

While Nevada is a treasure trove for crystal hunters, it’s important to understand and follow the state’s recreational crystal hunting regulations to ensure a responsible and enjoyable experience.

The following is a general overview, and specific locations or land management agencies may have additional rules or restrictions.

The state is a mix of private, federal, state, and tribal lands. Respect land ownership by obtaining permission before collecting on private property. For public lands, familiarize yourself with the managing agency’s rules and regulations, as they can vary from one location to another.

Some public lands allow the casual collecting of small quantities of rocks, minerals, and semi-precious gemstones for personal use. However, commercial collection or large-scale extraction is generally not permitted without proper permits or claims from the Nevada Bureau of Land Management.

The Best Crystal Shops In The Area

You can find and purchase various crystal specimens at the I Love Crystals in Nevada

It might be intimidating for someone who merely wants to bring home something exceptional for their collection because of the numerous crystal reserves dispersed throughout our state.

If you don’t mind spending a little money to see so many different crystals in one location, you might want to check out the nearby crystal shops:

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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