The 38 Easiest Places To Find and Dig For Crystals In Tennessee In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 38 Easiest Places To Find and Dig For Crystals In Tennessee In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Finding large, beautiful crystals in Tennessee is quite an adventure. The thrill of the hunt and the joy of displaying your finds for years to come is tough to beat!

Crystals are one of the most incredible and beautiful creations of nature, so it’s no wonder that people find so much joy in seeking them out. Truth be told, the thrill of crystal hunting is something that many get to experience because they just don’t know where to look. However, identifying the right places to look, especially in states like Tennessee where crystals are plentiful but often hidden, can be easy with the right guidance.

That’s why we have done the legwork for you! We traveled to some of the most sought-after spots to find crystals in Tennessee: Horse Mountain in Silvertooth Agate Fields, Little Tennessee River, Ben Lomond Mountain, Copperhill, and Cannon County.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, this guide will surely come in handy for you!

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

A beautiful sample of a moonstone with black background

Crystals are renowned for their beauty, with a dazzling array of colors and shapes that can range from delicate and intricate to bold and striking. Tennessee boasts of a diverse variety of crystals that make it an ideal destination for anyone looking to experience the joy of finding them.

Rare crystals found in Tennessee

  • Agate
  • Amber
  • Celestite
  • Moonstone
  • Onyx
  • Unakite

More common crystals found here

  • Azurite
  • Calcite
  • Chalcedony
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Copper
  • Epidote
  • Fluorite
  • Galena
  • Garnet
  • Hematite
  • Jasper
  • Malachite
  • Marcasite
  • Pyrite
  • Selenite
  • Quartz

The Best Locations For Crystal Mining in Tennessee

A shiny sample of a green Malachite

We’ll share with you first our top recommended places to find crystals in Tennessee. Our criterion for selecting them: fun and success at getting our hands on crystals!

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.

Horse Mountain in Silvertooth Agate Fields is Our Favorite Crystal Mine in Pennsylvania

Scenic view of the lush greeneries of Horse Mountain

Bedford County, AZ

Horse Mountain in the Silvertooth Agate Fields is a real gem for crystal hunters, it’s even a great place to find gems in Tennesse. The fields were discovered in the 1960s and have been a popular destination for rockhounds ever since. In fact, it was once owned by a famous rockhound named Herschel Silvertooth, hence the name.

The mountain is located in the central part of our stte, near the small town of Altamont. It’s known for its rugged terrain with steep hills and rocky outcrops. The geology of the area is also quite interesting, with layers of sedimentary rock that have been exposed by erosion over time.

Why is this a good place to find crystals? Well, the Horse Mountain in particular is known for its Agates. But don’t be fooled, because Agates are not the only crystals you can find here. There are plenty others! So if you’re planning a trip here, make sure to come prepared because you’ll be in for some adventure.

Where we found crystals at Horse Mountain

If you’re in this place, there’s a high chance you are near crystals already! That’s because you can find them in the different nooks and crannies of this location.

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 equipment 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 

Southeast Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Southeastern 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.

Little Tennessee River

A look at the waters and surrounding trees at the Little Tennessee River

Lenoir City, TN

Little Tennessee River has been an important location for native peoples for thousands of years. The Cherokee, in particular, relied on the river for food, transportation, and trade. Today, it’s still an important part of the local economy and culture.

The river runs through the western part of North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, and is known for its clear, cold water and rocky bottom. The area is quite unique with a mix of ancient rock formations and more recent deposits from the last ice age.

The rocky bottom of the river is a great place to search for a variety of crystals. Many of these have been washed down from the surrounding mountains and deposited here. You can find them by sifting through the sand and gravel on the river bottom or by using a snorkel and mask to search for them underwater.

Where we found crystals at the Little Tennessee River

We had the best luck finding Quartz crystals and other crystals in the red clays of the Little Tennessee River, so we recommend you explore it too. Read more about crystals’ prices in this article.

Cannon County

A look at the formations and greeneries at the Cannon County

Cannon County, TN

Cannon County was once home to the Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, who used the land for hunting and farming. Located in the central part of our state, it is known for its rolling hills and dense forests.

The county has a mix of limestone, shale, and sandstone formations that have been exposed over time by erosion and weathering. Because of this, it has been known to be rich with different types of crystals that come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.

If you’re planning a trip to Cannon County, you’ll need a rock hammer, chisels, and safety glasses, as well as sturdy shoes and plenty of water. And as always, be respectful of the environment and follow any rules or regulations of the county.

Where we found crystals in Cannon County

If you’re here, then you’re in luck because pretty much the entire county is loaded with crystals! If you want to focus your efforts to find crystals here, you can search in all regional gravels, streams, fields, cliffs and bluffs, road cuts, and quarries for beautiful specimens of crystals like Calcite, Fluorite, Pyrite, and Celestite.

Ben Lomond Mountain

A look at the Ben Lomond Mountain and its surroundings

Shellsford Rd. McMinnville TN 37110

Ben Lomond Mountain has been an important location for people in our state for centuries. It was once home to the Cherokee tribe, who used the mountain for hunting and gathering resources. Today, it’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, including crystal hunters like ourselves!

As part of the Cumberland Plateau, the mountain is known for its rugged terrain, dense forests, and stunning views. Its interesting geology is a mix of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rock formations.

When visiting here, make sure to come prepared with the right equipment and tools. This is not to only ensure your success at finding crystals here, but to also help ensure the sustainability of responsible collecting in this area.

Where we found crystals at Ben Lomond Mountain

If you explore the West slope of Ben Lomond Mountain, you can find stunning samples of Calcite, Celestite, Marcasite, and Pyrite crystals.


Scenic view of Copperhill showing its geological features such as streams, mountains and forests

Copperhill, TN

Nestled in the southern part of our state, Copperhill is home to some of the best crystal hunting grounds you’ll ever come across. Copper mining was the main industry in this place for many years, and it’s no surprise that this activity led to the discovery of numerous minerals and crystals in the area. The copper mining operations have since closed down, but the abundance of crystals and minerals remains.

This area is located at the base of the Appalachian Mountains, which have been known to produce some of the most stunning crystals in the world. The mountains themselves are composed of a wide range of minerals.

That being said, Copperhill is undoubtedly a crystal hunter’s paradise!

Where we found crystals at Copperhill

We had the best luck finding beautiful Tennessee crystals at the area stream gravels of this place. When you’re here, you have the chance to get your hands on Azurite, Chalcopyrite, Galena, Garnet, Pyrite, Malachite, and Quartz crystals.

Our Other Favorite Places For Crystal Hunting

A look at a translucent blue Celestite crystal

If you’re in for more crystal mining adventure, we have many other recommended places for you. After all, a state as bountiful in natural wonders as ours will not easily run out of areas to explore. In fact, some of these areas are also great for finding Tennessee geodes.

Where you can find crystals for free in Tennessee

In most cases, the best places to search for crystals require some fee. But this is NOT the case always. There are actually a ton of areas that are free to search through. Here are some of them:

County Location
Bedford 6 miles east on SR-64 at the Velmer Curvow Farm
Blount In road cuts and stream gravels of Townsend
Campbell Regional road cuts along US 25W to La Follette
Fentress North side of Boles Creek and 1 mile from the church
Grundy South of city in road cuts of Monteagle area
Hawkins County wide in all road, railroad, stream cuts, and also in quarries
Overton A quarry northwest 4 miles near Allons and west of Rte. 52
Putnam 2 miles on US-70N at abandoned quarry
Robertson Area road cuts and stream gravels
Shelby At Richardson’s landing, area dredging operations, stream gravels and banks
Washington At the Boone Tree Quarry of Johnson City
White At the White Company limestone quarry

Other great places to dig for crystals

If you have no qualms paying for certain fees to dig for crystals, then here are the great areas that you can visit here. Take note that fees may vary (or may even be waived) depending on the season, so reach out first before heading out to these places.

County Location
Bradley Area mines of Cleveland and Mineral Park
Clairborne Lead mine on Lake Norris and area mines of Straight Creek district
Cocke Area mines of Del Rio and at the Gulf Fork Mines
Davidson To the Haysborough lead mine
Greene North 3 miles to ½ miles north of the Moshein-Albany crossroads, then W on gravel road to Gethsemane School, north ½ mile on dirt road to the Brown-Tipton Mine
Monroe East 5 miles, near village of Rocky on road to Vonore, the Bullard Barite Mine
Polk Area mines of Copperhill and Ducktown
Sevier 3.5 miles east at the Nuns Cove mines
Smith At the Elmwood Mine, Foley Mine, and area mines of Trousdale
Unicoi Bumpus Cove area mines
Williamson Nolensville area mines

How to find crystals in Tennessee

Three samples of interesting orange and green Unakita crystals

Our recommendations above may not all be very specific, so if you need a little more guidance on where exactly to look, here are the areas that are most-rich in crystals:

Streams and Creeks

The water from streams and creeks is an amazing natural force that can move rocks and minerals from one place to another. Over time, this movement can concentrate certain types of crystals in specific areas, creating excellent opportunities for collectors. Streams and creeks also offer a chance to find specimens that have been freshly exposed by the flowing water. This means you may be able to find crystals that are in excellent condition, without having to dig or excavate.

Road Cuts

Road cuts can be an excellent spot to search for crystals, too. They are sections of rock that have been exposed when a road is cut through a hillside. These sections of rock can reveal valuable minerals and crystals that are otherwise hidden underground.

Mines and Mine Dumps

While these locations might not be as easy to access as streams or road cuts, mines and mine dumps can yield some truly spectacular finds. Mines are underground tunnels or pits that are dug to extract minerals from the earth. Mine dumps, on the other hand, are piles of rock and soil that have been excavated from the mines and discarded on the surface. These piles can contain valuable minerals and crystals that were missed during the mining process.

Tennessee Crystal Mining Laws And Regulations

Collecting crystals in Tennessee is legal for as long as you comply with all local laws related to it, especially those implemented by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. As a general rule, you need to obtain necessary permits and permission from concerned government offices as well. For private lands, make sure you get the permission of the owner before doing any serious search. By following these local rules and regulations, you are helping make crystal hunting a sustainable activity in our state.

The Best Crystal Shops In Tennessee

A look at the buildling of the Chattanooga Crystal Store

Finding crystals in their natural environment takes time, energy, and effort that not everybody has. If you’re one of them, your best chance of taking home a crystal from our state is to visit the local crystal shops here. Here are our top recommended stores with an array of beautiful crystals for you to choose from:

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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