The 23 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Texas In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 23 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Texas In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Texas is well-known for its rugged beauty and diverse landscapes, but did you know it also has some of the best spots for gem mining in the U.S.?

From its rolling hills to its jagged peaks, our state is home to tons of gems just waiting to be discovered. When it comes to finding gems here, the world is your oyster! And we will help you find the best parts of this oyster. So grab your pickaxe, shovel, and sifting screen and get ready to find some of the most beautiful gems our state has to offer!

The best places to mine gems here are in the ranches, mountains, creeks, canyons, and state parks. We also selected and discussed each of our favorite places to go gem mining, namely Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Stillwell Ranch, Lindsay Ranch, North Texas Jellystone Park, and Katy Rock Shop.

How We Picked The Best Places For Gem Mining in Texas
In order to find the absolute best places in Texas for gem mining, we had to consider a lot of things. It can be really tough to find good information, so it took us a long time to put together a solid list like the one below. The main inputs to our recommendations are as follows:

  • The extensive local experience and understanding of our team
  • Input from several gem hunting groups and organizations
  • The accessibility of the mining locations
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Private and public locations
  • A desire to include locations for both experienced gem hunters and those who are just starting out

Overall, we’ve been able to put together a great list that anyone can use to locate a lot of beautiful gems.

The Gemstones Found In Texas You Can Mine

A purple Amethyst glimmering atop a rock

Photo provided by Exotic Crystals

Our state is considered the second largest state in both area and population in the country, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise that it is well blessed with various kinds of gemstones. If you’re wanting to discover these, continue reading on because we will share with you best places to find them here.

Apart from this guide for Texas, we also came up with other guides to help you find gem mines near you, wherever you are. With the help of our guide and your own luck, you may just uncover the most precious gemstones you’ll have in your collection!

Rare gemstones found in Texas

  • Amethyst
  • Jasper
  • Opal
  • Topaz
  • Tuquoise

More common gemstones found here

  • Agate
  • Alabaster
  • Amazonite
  • Amber
  • Anglesite
  • Apatite
  • Barite
  • Calcite
  • Celestite
  • Chalcedony
  • Chrysocolla
  • Cinnabar
  • Citrine
  • Diamond
  • Fluorite
  • Garnet
  • Malachite
  • Microcline
  • Moonstone
  • Opal
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Sapphire
  • Serpentine
  • Smithsonite
  • Sphalerite
  • Tektites
  • Zircon

Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining In Texas

Below is our Top 5 favorite places that adults and kids will both appreciate as they search for the different kinds of gemstones our state has to offer. The first 3 places are best for adults, who are wanting to experience some real gem mining, while the last 2 will be great for kids who are interested to do gem hunting for the first time.

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 directly with the location. We haven’t personally verified every location and the access requirements and collection rules often change without notice.

Many of the locations we mention will not allow collecting but are still great places for those who love to find beautiful rocks and minerals in the wild without keeping them. We also can’t guarantee you will find anything in these locations since they are constantly changing. 

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding. If you want even more current options it’s always a good idea to contact local rock and mineral clubs and groups

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Uncut transparent Celestites protruding from rocks

11450 Park Road 5 Canyon, TX 79015

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, located in the Texas Panhandle near Amarillo, is known for its spectacular landscapes, unique geology, and gem mining opportunities. The area has a long history of human activity, with evidence of 12,000 years of human occupation. It was first explored by the Spanish in 1787 and, by the mid-19th century, it was home to several Native American tribes. In 1934, it became one of the first state parks in our state. Today, you can explore this beautiful canyon and its amazing gemstones.

The Types of Gems Found In The Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Aside from its outstanding beauty, this place also offers some of the coolest gemstones that can be found in the region, starting with the following:

  • Aragonite
  • Calcite
  • Celestite
  • Dolomite
  • Gypsum
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park

If you’re planning to visit this place, the best time would be during spring and fall months. In the spring, temperatures are mild and the weather is usually dry, while in the fall, temperatures are cooler and the foliage is usually at its most vibrant. While gem mining can be done year-round, these two seasons offer some of the most ideal conditions for a successful, comfortable but rewarding outcome.

Rock pick being used

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:

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.

Stillwell Ranch

An Opal casting rainbow colors as white light hits it

Alpine, TX 79830

Stillwell Ranch, an outdoor destination in Mason County, is situated on a 200-acre ranch with a scenic backdrop of the Llano River and the Hill Country. The ranch was established in 1867 by German settlers who came to the area for mining opportunities. It has been in operation for more than 150 years, and remains to be a popular destination for gem hunting today. You can search for gems here with tools provided by the ranch. You can also try out their guided tours of historic buildings and educational programs about geology and mineralogy. This is also an excellent area to find crystals in Texas.

The Types of Gems Found In The Stillwell Ranch

This place is a great source of gemstones from the Big Bend area and West Texas. It is most known for having the following:

  • Agates
  • Amethyst
  • Calcite
  • Chalcedony,
  • Cinnabar
  • Garnet
  • Opal
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Stillwell Ranch

Anytime during spring and fall, when the weather is mild and the ground is dry, is the best time to visit if you want to go gem mining here. Compared to other seasons, the friendly weather and temperature during spring and fall will be more comfortable as you dig and do your search for gems.

Lindsay Ranch

A beautiful Topaz found while gem mining

460 Lindsay Ranch Road Mason, TX 76856-3808

Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country just outside of Mason, Lindsay Ranch has been owned by the same family since 1881. Being home to many rare and more common gems, the ranch is a popular favorite among many who are looking to find some of the coolest gems in the region.

The Types of Gems Found In The Lindsay Ranch

This ranch is most well-known for its abundance in Topaz, which are often found in or around the Comanche Creek.

The Best Time To Visit Linday Ranch

If you want to visit, the best time will be during the spring or fall. The temperatures are milder and the humidity is lower, making it more comfortable for outdoor activities. The weather is also typically drier in the spring and fall, so there is less chance of rain or flooding which could disrupt gem mining activities.

North Texas Jellystone Park – Great for kids

A kid raised his thumbs up as he finished sluicing gemstones at the North Texas Jellystone Park

2301 S Burleson Blvd Burleson, TX 76028

North Texas Jellystone Park is a family-friendly destination that offers a variety of activities, including gem mining. The park has nearby creeks and streams where children and adults alike can search for gems. They also have different options for mining rough bags filled with gems that kids can sift through in the park’s mining sluice. After collecting their finds, the kids can head over to the identification station to classify them.

The Types of Gems Found In The North Texas Jellystone Park

This is a great venue to introduce kids to gemstones and to the hobby of gem mining as there are different kinds of gems that can be found while they sluice here.

The Best Time To Visit North Texas Jellystone Park

If you want your kids to enjoy this place, the best time to visit would be during the spring or fall. The summer months can be very hot and humid, while the winter months can be cold and wet. Spring and fall are usually milder and more pleasant, making your trip at this time here more conducive.

Katy Rock Shop – Great for kids

Two kids smiling from chin to chin as they sift their mining rough in the sluice at Katy Rock Shop

535 Pin Oak Rd, Katy, TX 77494

Katy Rock Shop is a family-owned and operated business that has been in operation since 1994, when the owner and founder opened it with the goal of providing quality gem-mining experiences to children and adults alike. The shop offers a variety of services, including gem mining, among others. The shop also sells rocks and minerals from around the world as well as supplies needed for rock activities.

The Types of Gems Found In The Katy Rock Shop

Each mining rough from this place contains different kinds of gemstones that kids can sift through, such as the following:

  • Amazonite
  • Amethyst
  • Apatite
  • Calcite
  • Chalcedony
  • Chrysocolla
  • Citrine
  • Garnet
  • Jasper
  • Moonstone
  • Quartz
  • Sapphire
  • Topaz
  • Turquoise

If you’re having a hard time distinguishing some of the more common rocks that seem to be very similar, here are a few guides that can help you out:

The Best Time To Visit Katy Rock Shop

If you want to visit Katy Rock Shop with kids, the best time to do it would be during the spring or fall months. The summer months can be very hot and humid, while the spring and fall months offer milder temperatures which will make their experience in the place more enjoyable and memorable.

Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Texas

A greenish white Smithsonian attached to a rock against a black background

Lucky for you, our favorite picks in our state are not the only one where you can do gem mining. Here are more great options of places you can explore to find gems. We also included what kinds of gems you can find in each place so that you’ll have an idea of what gemstones you might go home with before even going there.

  • Woodward Ranch – Red Plume Agate
  • Seaquist Ranch – Topaz
  • Bar M Ranch – Topaz
  • Baringer Hill Minerals – Fluorite, Quartz, Topaz
  • Glass Mountains – Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper, Quartz
  • Alpine – Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper, Moonstone, Quartz
  • Agua Fria Ranch – Agate
  • Dog Canyon – Barite
  • Terlingua Creek – Agate, Amber, Chalcedony, Jasper
  • Plata Verde Mine – Anglesite,  Azurite, Barite, Chrysocolla, Malachite, Microcline, Quartz
  • Seven Heart Gap – Barite
  • Sierra Blanc – Turquoise
  • Chinati Mountains – Chalcopyrite, Fluorite, Pyrite, Sphalerite, Smithsonite
  • Little Lucy Creek – Celestite

The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Texas

Two kids with their parents sifting through mining roughs at the sluice of Two Rivers Mining Co.

For families who are planning to introduce their kids to the wonders of gem mining first-hand, here are more family-friendly places where both you and children will enjoy.

Texas Gem Mining Laws And Regulations

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has established regulations to ensure that the gem mining is conducted in an environmentally-responsible manner and that resources are protected. The following regulations apply to recreational gem mining activities in our state:

  1. Permit Requirements: A permit from the TPWD is required for activities on public lands.
  2. Location Restrictions: Gem mining is limited to areas where this has been authorized by the applicable land management agency or where it is not prohibited by law or regulation.
  3. Equipment Requirements: All equipment used for the activity must be approved by the applicable land management agency and must meet all applicable safety standards.
  4. Environmental Protection Requirements: All activities must follow best practices to protect natural resources, including avoiding contact with sensitive habitats, minimizing soil disturbance, preventing sedimentation runoff, and properly disposing of waste materials.
  5. Reporting Requirements: Gem miners must report any significant discoveries of valuable gems found during their activity to the applicable land management agency as soon as possible.

For more information on the state’s gem mining laws and regulations, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s link above.

Additional places to mine for gems in nearby states

Check out our guides for nearby states if you’ve already tried all of our suggestions above or if you’re planning a trip outside the state:

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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