Kansas may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of gem mining, but our state is actually home to some amazing spots that offer the chance to find a hidden treasure.
From its rolling hills to its stunning chalk formations, our state has plenty of options for those looking to get their hands dirty in search of gems. Whether you’re looking for a day trip with the family or a week-long adventure alone or with friends, there are plenty of sites to search for gems. So read on and gear up as we share with you the best spots here!
The best places to mine gems here are in the rivers, springs, creeks, domes, mountains, and farms. Our top 5 favorite gem mine sites are Smoky Hill River, Red Hills, Mount Casino, The Walters’ Farm, and Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, which we have all discussed in depth below.
The Gemstones Found In Kansas You Can Mine
Our state may not always be top of mind when people think about gem mining, but did you know that it is rich in places and locations where gems abound? In this article, we’ll list down these places so that you can choose the best one for you.
We also prepared other guides that can help you locate gem mines near you, wherever you are. With the help of our guides and a hint of your luck, you might find your next gemstones on your next adventure!
Rare gemstones found in Kansas
More common gemstones found here
Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining In Kansas
Below is a list of our favorite places where you can find rare and more common gems. For adults, these are perfect if you’re looking for some real gem mining adventure here. And for kids, these places will give you a taste of the thrill and excitement that gem hunting can offer.
Smoky Hill River
Smoky Hill River, KS
Smoky Hill River, a tributary of the Kansas River, got its name from the bluish-gray smoke that rises from burning coal beds along its banks. Aside from being know for gem mining, it’s also known for its historical significance to Native Americans, settlers, and pioneers. Gem mining has been a part of the history of this place since at least 1847 when there were reports of Indian artifacts found along its banks. This sparked a wave of gem mining in the area that continues today. Many people come here to collect gems along its banks or in riverbeds during low water levels. It’s also an excellent place to pan for gold since gold flakes can be found in some areas along the river.
The Types of Gems Found In The Smoky Hill River
This place is known for the many kinds of gemstones that can be found here, but it is most abundant in the following:
Sometimes, you can confused over some of the more common gems that are found here. We’ve put together a few guides to telling specific gems apart:
The Best Time To Visit Smoky Hill River
If want to visit here, the best time would be during the summer months of June, July, and August, when the water levels are typically lower and it is easier to access the riverbeds. The temperatures are also warmer, making it more comfortable to be outside.
The tools every gem hunter will need
When you're out looking for gems it's very important that you bring the right tools with you. 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 gem miners which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding tools and kit 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 gem-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:
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.
South Central KS
Red Hills, located in the Flint Hills region and a part of the larger Flint Hills National Park, has a long history of gem mining. In fact, many locals have been involved in the industry for generations. It began during the late 19th century when prospectors discovered large deposits of gems and minerals. The area quickly became a popular destination for miners looking to strike it rich. By the early 20th century, however, most of these deposits had been exhausted and gem mining activity declined drastically. In recent years, though, there has been a resurgence in interest in gem mining due to an increase in available resources as well as improved technology that makes it easier to extract gems.
The Types of Gems Found In The Red Hills
This place boasts of having all three varieties of Gypsum:
- Rock Gypsum
- Satin Spar
The Best Time To Visit Red Hills
The best time to visit here is in the summer months, when temperatures are warm and the ground is dry, making it easier to dig and search for gems. Visiting during the spring or early summer may also be a great time, not only to mine gems, but also to explore the area.
Clark County, KS
Mount Casino has been a popular destination for gem miners since the early 1900s, when prospectors discovered deposits of different gemstones in the area. Over the years, Mount Casino has become known for its wide variety of gems and minerals. When you visit here, you can explore the mine, pan for gems, and take home your finds. You can also avail of the guided tours and educational programs that will teach you about geology and gemstones. Mount Casino is also home to an active rock club that hosts events throughout the year.
The Types of Gems Found In The Mount Casino
This location has plenty of different kinds of gemstones, but most abundant of these are the following:
- Moss Agate
- Moss Opal
The Best Time To Visit Mount Casino
Planning to visit? The best time would be during the summer months. The warm weather during this time makes it easier to search for gems.
The Walters’ Farm – Great for kids
10001 NW U.S. Highway 77, Burns, KS 66840
Located in the rolling hills near the town of Burns, The Walters’ Farm is a family-owned gem mining operation that has been in business since 1995. When you visit here, you can pan for gems, not only from our region, but from around the world. You can also avail of their offer of a wide variety of polished stones and jewelry for sale on-site.
The Types of Gems Found In The Walters’ Farm
This place offers the chance to mine different kinds of gemstones, even those that are not naturally found in our state. It makes this place a great location for kids who are just being introduced to gem mining.
The Best Time To Visit The Walters’ Farm
The farm is open from mid-May through mid-September, and the gem mining can be done during the warm summer days. It’s best to avoid visiting here during the winter months, as it may be too cold and wet to do any gem mining then.
Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead – Great for kids
13800 Switzer Rd Overland Park, KS 66221
Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is a 12-acre educational farm that offers educational activities and entertainment for kids of all ages. The farm was founded in 1978 as a living tribute to fallen police officer Deanna Rose, who was killed in the line of duty. The farmstead offers a variety of activities for children and one of the most popular attractions is the gem mining activity. Kids can pan for gems in the sluice area and then take home their finds.
The Types of Gems Found In The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead
This place has different kinds of gemstones, both rare and more common, that kids can have fun searching for.
The Best Time To Visit Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead
The gem mining activity here is only available during the summer months, typically from June to August, so if you want to visit here, those months would be the best time.
Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Kansas
Our favorite places are not the only ones great from gem mining here. In fact, there are tons of other great locations here where you can find different interesting gemstone. These are some of them.
- Morrill – Celestite
- Medicine Lodge River – Agate, Jasper
- Verdigris River – Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper
- Old River Bed – Agate, Jasper, Moss Agate
- Blue Rapids – Agate, Jasper
- McLouth – Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper
- Wallace – Moss Opal
- Ashland – Moss Agate
- South Fork Solomon River – Agate
- Sharon Springs – Agate
- Baxter Springs – Pyrite, Sphalerite
- West Mineral – Calcite, Dolomite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Sphalerite
- Pony Creek – Celestite
- Republican River – Agate, Jasper
- Chikaskia River – Agate, Jasper
- Big Blue River – Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper
- Rose Dome – Amethyst, Quartz
The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Kansas
If you’re looking for more family-friendly places, we’ve got you covered! Below are some more places where you and your kids can have fun searching for gems together.
- Strataca – 3650 East Avenue G, Hutchinson, KS 67501
- Rock City Park – 1051 Ivy Rd, Minneapolis, KS 67467
- Great Wolf Lodge Water Park – 10401 Cabela Dr, Kansas City, KS 66111
Kansas Gem Mining Laws And Regulations
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) does have some general guidelines for recreational gem mining on public lands. Any recreational gem mining activities should be conducted in accordance with all applicable state and local laws. In addition, it is important to note that the removal of minerals from public lands requires a permit from the KDWPT. It is also important to obtain permission from the landowner before engaging in any search for gems on private lands. It is illegal to trespass on private property without written permission from the owner.
Finally, it is recommended that all recreational gem miners take proper safety precautions, such as wearing protective gear and avoiding hazardous areas.
For more information on the state’s gem mining laws and regulations, visit the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s link above.
Additional Places To Mine For Gems 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!