The 26 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Utah In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

| Updated

The 26 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Utah In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


The state of Utah is known for its awe-inspiring natural beauty, and when it comes to gem hunting, it is no different. Its stunning red cliffs, rugged mountains, and rolling hills offer some of the country’s best opportunities for finding gems. With ample access to public land, experienced guides, and a wide variety of gems, this state is a premier destination for gem hunting,

You can find various gems from the historic Topaz Mountains to the mines of Park City. Whether you’re a seasoned gem hunter or a beginner, the state has some of the best locations for digging gems. So get ready to explore the wild west and discover what treasures the Beehive State has to offer!

The best places to mine gems in Utah are along hillsides, creeks, and rivers, loose in quarries, road cuts, and pay-to-dig mines. We will cover some especially great options, like Horn Silver Mine, Topaz Dome Quarry, and Bingham Canyon, in more detail below.

How We Picked The Best Places For Gem Mining in Utah
In order to find the absolute best places in Utah for gem mining we had a lot of things to consider. 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 Utah You Can Mine

A rare variscite found while gem mining in Utah

Remarkably, Utah is home to a variety of precious gemstones. We have put together a series of guides to assist people in locating gem mines near them, with the understanding that access to these resources may vary. Gem hunters can discover rare and more common gems with the correct information and a bit of luck.

Rare gemstones found in UTAH

  • Azurite
  • Jasper
  • Malachite
  • Peridot
  • Red Beryl
  • Topaz
  • Wulfenite

More common gemstones found here

  • Agate
  • Anglesite
  • Anhydrite
  • Apatite
  • Aragonite
  • Barite
  • Bornite
  • Cerussite
  • Chabazite
  • Chrysocolla
  • Cuprite
  • Diopside
  • Epidote
  • Garnet
  • Gypsum
  • Hematite
  • Kyanite
  • Monazite
  • Morganite
  • Obsidian
  • Onyx
  • Opal
  • Orthoclase
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Realgar
  • Rhodochrosite
  • Scheelite
  • Sphalerite
  • Sphene
  • Spinel
  • Sulfur
  • Stolzite
  • Variscite
  • Vesuvianite
  • Zircon

Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining in Utah

We know these are the best places to mine for gems in the state. To learn more about hunting for gemstones and to see them for yourself, it would be best to go to these fantastic places. We also suggested places where kids can learn about gem hunting and try it out.

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.

Horn Silver Mine

A pretty azurite located at Horn Silver Mine

3115 East Lion Lane Suite 160, Holladay, Utah 84121

Horn Silver Mine Gem Mining is a unique gem mining experience that allows gem hunters to dig for gems at an abandoned mine. The mine was once one of the most productive silver mines and operated from 1892 to 1916. You can experience a unique adventure as they explore the old tunnels, uncover hidden gems, and discover the history of this historic site. You may find beautiful gems they can take home as souvenirs or keep as collector’s items.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Horn Silver Mine

  • Azurite
  • Barite
  • Chrysocolla
  • Gypsum
  • Kaolinite
  • Malachite
  • Opal
  • Pyrite
  • Sphalerite
  • Wulfenite
  • Zircon

The Best Time To Visit Horn Silver Mine

The best time to visit this mine is from April through October. This is when there are more hours of daylight for exploring the mine. Those looking to avoid summer crowds may visit during the spring and fall when there is less competition for parking spots.

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.

Topaz Dome Quarry

A gorgeous red beryl mined at Topaz Dome Quarry

Weis Hwy, Utah, United States

Topaz Dome Quarry is a unique geological formation. The quarry is composed of a large, dome-shaped hill made of colorful, spherically shaped stones. The stones, primarily composed of the mineral topaz, are believed to have been formed millions of years ago when a volcanic eruption occurred, and lava flowed over the area.

The quarry has been used as a source of gemstones since the late 19th century, with miners extracting topaz for jewelry and other decorative uses. It’s also among the best sites to find crystals in Utah.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Topaz Dome Quarry

  • Beryl
  • Calcite
  • Carnelian
  • Chalcedony
  • Fluorite
  • Garnet
  • Hematite
  • Quartz
  • Topaz

The Best Time To Visit Topaz Dome Quarry

The best time to visit Topaz Dome Quarry is spring and summer. During these times, you can enjoy milder temperatures and better visibility in the quarry.

Bingham Canyon

A stunning garnet discovered at Bingham Canyon

Salt Lake County, Utah 84006, USA

Bingham Canyon is an open-pit copper mine located in the Oquirrh Mountains, about 25 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. The mine is also known as the Kennecott Copper Mine and has been in operation since 1906 and has produced more copper than any other mine in history. Today, gem miners at Bingham Canyon can hunt for gems and minerals while enjoying breathtaking views of the state’s stunning landscapes.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Bingham Canyon

  • Actinolite
  • Barite
  • Calcite
  • Garnet
  • Rutile

The Best Time To Visit Bingham Canyon

The best time to visit Bingham Canyon is spring and fall when the temperatures are mild. You’ll have plenty of time to explore and take in all the sights. The summer can be pretty hot, so if you’re looking for a more comfortable visit, plan your trip during the cooler months.

Zion Utah Jellystone Park – Great for kids

Children searching for gems at Zion Utah Jellystone Park

505 Sand Hollow Rd, Hurricane, UT 84737, United States

Gem mining is one of the most exciting and unique activities in Zion Utah Jellystone Park. This activity allows you to search for precious gems and minerals in the park using various tools and techniques. The gem mining experience is an excellent way to get outside and explore the park’s stunning scenery while learning about geology and mineralogy.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Zion Utah Jellystone Park

  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Jasper
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Zion Utah Jellystone Park

The park is open year-round, but the summer months of June to August offer the best temperatures and activities.

Topaz Mountain Adventures – Great for kids

Families digging for gems at Topaz Mountain Adventure

Topaz Valley, Wendover, UT 84083, United States

Topaz Mountain Adventures is a gem mining company in Utah that offers individuals and groups the opportunity to experience the thrill of gem hunting. The company provides all the necessary tools, including shovels, buckets, and sieves, for customers to use in their search for gems. You can also purchase bags of pre-mined materials that are guaranteed to contain at least one gem.

Topaz Mountain Adventures also offers guided tours of the area and educational programs about geology and mining techniques.

Types Of Gemstones Found At Topaz Mountain Adventures

  • Amethyst
  • Garnet
  • Quartz
  • Topaz

The Best Time To Visit Topaz Mountain Adventures

The best time to visit Topaz Mountain Adventures is in the summer months of June, July, and August. There is usually less rain during these months, so you won’t have to worry about your gem mining activities being disrupted by inclement weather.

Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Utah

A brilliant wulfenite located while real gem mining in Utah

If you’re still looking for other options after trying out our list above, there are many more fantastic locations in the state you can visit to find gems. Here are some additional choices for real gem mining geared toward people searching for more active mines and unexplored areas.

  • Big Cottonwood Canyon – Actinolite, Barite, Cerussite, Malachite, Rhodochrosite, Sphalerite
  • Bullion Canyon – Azurite, Barite, Cerussite, Fluorite, Malachite, Pyrite, Quartz, Selenite, Sphalerite
  • Circle Cliffs – Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper
  • Dutch Mountain – Azurite, Cerussite, Fluorite, Malachite
  • East Tintic Mountains – Albite, Bornite, Calcite, Chalcocite, Cuprite, Rutile, 
  • Gold Hill Mine – Azurite, Cerussite, Chlorite, Chrysocolla, Gypsum, Malachite, Opal, Pyrite, Siderite, Sphalerite
  • Granite Mountain – Albite, Amethyst, Azurite, Apatite, Barite, Chalcedony, Cinnabar, Hematite, Malachite, Pyrite
  • Grouse Creek Mountains – Epidote, Stolzite, Scheelite
  • Little Bear River – Anglesite, Azurite, Cerussite, Malachite
  • Lucky Strike Mine – Marcasite, Pyrite, Sphalerite
  • Miner’s Basin – Azurite, Calcite, Chalcedony, Chrysocolla, Chalcopyrite, Fluorite, Hematite, Malachite, Quartz
  • Moses Rock and Comb Ridge – Corundum, Garnet, Rutile, Spinel
  • Park City Mining District – Azurite, Barite, Calcite, Cerussite, Epidote, Garnet, Malachite, Pyrite, Quartz, Sphalerite
  • Pilot Range –  Azurite, Barite, Cerussite, Chrysocolla, Hematite, Malachite, Pyrite, Sphalerite, Variscite, Wulfenite
  • Temple Mountain – Dolomite, Pyrite
  • The Needles – Barite, Calcite, Rhodocrosite
  • Silver Island Mountains – Azurite, Barite, Cerussite, Malachite, Pyrite
  • Stansbury Mountains – Cerussite, Pyrite
  • Swan Creek – Azurite, Barite, Cerussite, Wulfenite
  • Vipont Mine – Azurite, Cerussite, Copper, Cuprite, Malachite, Pyrite, Quartz, Realgar, Rhodochrosite, Sphalerite

If you’re confusing some of the more common gems among each other, we’ve put together a few guides to help you tell specific gems apart:

The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Utah

Although there aren’t many public gem mining sites for kids in the state, you may take your kids to the following locations where they can learn and explore more about gem hunting.

Utah Gem Mining Laws And Regulations

Utah state recreational gem hunting regulations are designed to protect the environment and ensure safety while people search for precious gems. All recreational gem hunting must be done on public land administered by the state’s Bureau of Land Management. A permit is required to access the land, and state and federal laws and regulations must conduct all activities. Prospecting equipment such as metal detectors, shovels, picks, and sieves may be used, but digging into bedrock is not allowed. Collected gems must be kept in their natural state, meaning they cannot be polished, cut, or altered before being taken offsite.

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!

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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