The 39 Interesting Sites To Find and Dig For Crystals In Utah In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 39 Interesting Sites To Find and Dig For Crystals In Utah In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Finding crystals in Utah is like going on an epic adventure. But, it’s not always easy to find crystals without knowing the best spots or having someone experienced to guide you.

That’s why we’re here to help! We’ve traveled across Utah, exploring its rocky terrains to find the best places to search for crystals.

We’ve put together a list of the top spots in Utah like Topaz Mountain, the Dugway Geode Beds, the Great Salt Lake, and more. We’re excited to share with you all the great tips and tricks we know to make your search a success.

How We Picked The Best Places To Find Crystals in Utah
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

deep blue azurite crystal cluster
Azurite provided by Fossilera

Here are the different kinds of crystals you can find in Utah:

Rare crystals found in Utah

  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Bismuth
  • Covellite
  • Halite
  • Labradorite
  • Morganite
  • Obsidian
  • Peridot
  • Topaz
  • Wulfenite

More common crystals found here

  • Agate
  • Aragonite
  • Azurite
  • Calcite
  • Carnelian
  • Chalcedony
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Chrysocolla
  • Fluorite
  • Galena
  • Garnet
  • Hematite
  • Jasper
  • Malachite
  • Onyx
  • Opal
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz (Smoky)
  • Rutile
  • Selenite

The Best Locations For Crystal Mining We’ve Found

sky-blue botryoidal smithsonite crystals
Smithsonite provided by Danzrockshop

Here are our top five recommendations if you want to look for crystals in the state:

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.

Topaz Mountain

Entrance signage and a quick look at the rock formations at Topaz Mountain
Topaz Mountain by the Mineralogical Society of Southern California

Aptly named after the stunning Topaz crystals that can be found here, which are naturally light yellow in color but turn clear when exposed to sunlight, Topaz Mountain is on top of our recommendations list.

It’s also a great place to find high-quality gems in Utah in case you’re in search of them, too.

This area was once a bustling mining town during the gold rush, and many prospectors tried their luck searching for precious metals and gemstones. However, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that Topaz was discovered here, and it quickly became a sought-after mineral.

Topaz Mountain, located in the Thomas Range, is composed of rhyolite, a type of volcanic rock that is rich in mineral deposits. The crystals here are often found in cavities and fractures within the rock.

Where we found crystals on Topaz Mountain

Although Topaz Mountain is naturally rich in crystals in all its nooks and crannies, we still recommend exploring the natural basin at the south base of the mountain first.

The crystals you can find here are Calcite, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Fluorite, Garnet, Hematite, Quartz, and, of course, 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.

Dugway Geode Beds

A look at the rock formations at Dugway Geode Beds
Dugway Geode Beds by The Salt Project

The Dugway Geode Beds are located in western Utah, near the town of Dugway.

This area has a rich history as it was once home to a thriving mining community. However, it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that geodes were discovered here, and they quickly became a popular item among collectors and enthusiasts.

To find crystals here, you’ll need to do some hiking and exploration. Keep your eyes peeled when you visit because crystals here are typically scattered across the landscape and found in clusters.

Where we found crystals at the Dugway Geode Beds

The Dugway Geode Beds are rich in stunning, highly sought-after Amethyst and Quartz crystals that you can find practically anywhere in the area.

Once you find them, you might start wondering how much they’re worth. Read up on crystal prices here.

Great Salt Lake

Stunning view of the Great Salt Lake and its surrounding scenery

The Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, covering an area of over 1,700 square miles. It was formed over 10,000 years ago during the last ice age when melting glaciers filled the basin with water.

It’s been an important source of salt and other minerals for centuries, and even today, the lake is an important economic resource for the state.

The lake is located in the northern part of Utah and is surrounded by mountains and desert. The water in the lake is incredibly salty, with a salinity level that is about eight times saltier than the ocean.

Because of this, the lake has a unique ecosystem and is home to a variety of unique plant and animal species.

But what really makes the Great Salt Lake a great place for crystal hunting is the geology of the area. The lake sits on top of a vast network of underground streams and springs that bring a variety of minerals to the surface.

As the water in the lake evaporates, these minerals are left behind, creating a rich deposit of crystals and other minerals. So, if you’re looking for crystals, the Great Salt Lake is definitely worth checking out!

Where we found crystals at the Great Salt Lake

You can explore along the shores of the Great Salt Lake and you might be lucky to uncover Aragonite and Halite crystals.

San Rafael Swell

winding road the the Spotted Wolf Canyon

The San Rafael Swell is a large geological feature that was formed over millions of years of erosion and tectonic activity. It was named after the San Rafael River, which flows through the area, and was first explored by Spanish missionaries in the 1700s.

The swell is characterized by its unique sandstone formations, deep canyons, and rugged terrain. It’s a popular destination for hikers, backpackers, and rock climbers, but it’s also a great place to find crystals.

The area is rich in a variety of minerals, and some of the best places to look for crystals here are in the exposed rock faces and along the banks of the many creeks and rivers that run through the swell.

Where we found crystals at the San Rafael Swell

If you’re here, we recommend exploring the regional surfaces, draws, and washes of the San Rafael Swell. Some of the crystals you can find here are beautiful samples of Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper, and Selenite.

Black Rock

Interesting rock formations at Black Rock
Black Rock Desert by Alyssa Bray

Black Rock was originally settled by the Paiute Indians, who used the nearby springs for drinking water and irrigating their crops.

Later on, miners came to the area in search of precious metals, but it was eventually abandoned due to the harsh desert environment.

Black Rock is located in the western part of the state, near the Nevada border. It’s situated in a desert landscape, with sparse vegetation and rugged terrain.

The rocks themselves are volcanic in origin and are composed of a variety of different minerals.

These volcanic rocks have been known to contain a wide variety of crystals. The harsh desert environment has also helped to preserve many of these crystals, making them easier to find.

When you visit Black Rock, be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and other essential supplies. The area can be quite hot and dry, especially during the summer months, so it’s important to take proper precautions to stay safe and comfortable.

Where we found crystals in Black Rock

You can find Snowflake Obsidian that appears as volcanic glass crystals with white mineral inclusions looking like snowflakes, if you explore the area draws, washes, and surfaces of Black Rock.

Our Other Favorite Places For Crystal Hunting

half of a Dugway geode with crystals
Dugway geode provided by SolomonProductions

Since Utah is naturally rich in crystals, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of other interesting sites that you can explore here. In fact, many of these sites also offer some of the best Utah geodes that you can find.

Where you can find crystals for free

Without costing a cent, these places have proven to be interesting sites to find crystals in the state.

County Location
Beaver Southwest slope of Frisco Peak
Emery Along the shores of the Buckorn Reservoir
Garfield Upstream north on both Muley Creek and Bullfrog Creek
Grand Gravel bars of the Colorado River
Iron All regional draws, washes, breaks, etc. outside monument boundary at Cedar Breaks National Monument
Kane Along both sides of the East Fork Virgin Creek to Alton Road
Millard Northeast of the railroad station at Clear Lake
Piute In the Tushar Mountains
San Juan In Oljeto Wash all the way to the San Juan River
Summit South-southwest of the summit of Hayden Peak
Utah Area draws, washes, surfaces of Fairfield
Washington In Beaver Dam Wash
Wayne Regional draws, washes, breaks, and surfaces of Torrey

It can be very easy to confuse some of the more common crystals that are found here, so we came up with a few guides to telling specific crystals apart:

Other great places to dig for crystals

If you’re open to paying a fee to search for crystals, here are your best options. Keep in mind that the fees may change depending on the season, so make sure to contact them first before heading out.

County Location
Beaver In the Mineral Mountains area mines
Box Elder At the Copper Mountain Mine
Davis Kaysville area mines
Juab At the Honey Onyx Mine
Salt Lake Area mines of Salt Lake City, in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Copperton, Brighton, Bingham, and Alta
San Juan Area mines of La Sal
Sevier At the Ball Mine
Summit Many great mines and dumps at Park City
Tooele Area mines of Clifton, Mercur, Ophir, Rush Valley, and Willow Springs
Uintah At the Dyer Mine
Weber Ogden area mines

My tips for finding crystals

yellow wulfenite crystals on a rock
Wulfenite provided by TheCitrinCollection

Many of the interesting sites that we shared above cover wide areas, so to help you narrow down and focus your search on possibly the most crystal-productive spots here, we’re recommending specific locations for you to explore first.

Streams and Creeks

Streams and creeks are natural pathways that allow minerals to flow and settle over time. As water passes over rocks and minerals, it picks up small crystals and moves them downstream. As a result, you can often find a variety of crystals along their banks.

When searching for crystals, keep an eye out for signs of geological activity. Look for areas where the flow of the water has carved out exposed rocks, as these areas may contain pockets of crystals.

Pay attention to the color and texture of the rocks and minerals around you, as this can give you clues about what types of crystals may be present here.

Rivers and Riverbanks

Searching for crystals in rivers and along river banks is another excellent way to find some beautiful specimens. Rivers are constantly flowing, which means they are always cutting through the land, exposing new layers of rock and mineral deposits.

This constant movement of water can also carry crystals downstream, where they may become lodged in the river bed or along the banks.

What’s more, the unique geology of river banks can create pockets of crystals and other minerals that are ripe for the picking.

Mines and Mine Dumps

Mines are often great places to find crystals because they are where minerals are extracted from the earth. As miners dig through the layers of rock and soil, they often uncover veins of crystals.

When miners discard unwanted material, it may end up in mine dumps, where crystals and other minerals may still be present.

There’s a high potential for finding rare and unique specimens in mines and mine dumps. Many of these places are known for producing specific types of crystals or gemstones, so doing some research ahead of time can help you target your search.

The Mining Laws And Regulations You Should Know

Mining for crystals comes with the responsibility of adhering to the local laws of the state pertaining to this activity, especially those mandated by the Utah Bureau of Land Management.

These laws include securing any necessary permit or permission before exploring any land for crystals.

Also, be mindful of any regulations imposed to protect the environment and biodiversity of an area. By abiding by these laws and guidelines, you are helping ensure that mining for crystals remains legal in Utah for years to come.

The Best Crystal Shops In The Area

A look at the exteriors and building of Treasures N Creations
Treasures N Creations

If you don’t have much time or energy to go through our recommended sites to find crystals and prefer a relaxed way of taking them home, your best bet is to visit the local crystal shops.

Fortunately, Utah has some of the best stores with great crystal selections, such as the following:

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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