17 Top Places To Find and Dig For North Carolina Geodes in 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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17 Top Places To Find and Dig For North Carolina Geodes in 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Have you ever seen a geode up close? If you’re a rock collector or simply interested in the natural world, then you know that geodes can be some of the most fascinating and beautiful rock formations out there. Finding geodes in North Carolina can be quite a challenge though! But don’t worry, because we’ve gone through the trouble of exploring and scouring our state to find the best spots for geode hunting.

It’s true that these geological wonders can be hard to come by, but with a bit of persistence and some helpful tips, you too can discover the hidden gems here. In this article, we’ll share our findings and offer some advice on how to maximize your chances of finding geodes, so grab your pickaxe and let’s get started!

What Are North Carolina Geodes?

A beautiful sample of Quartz geode

Geodes are small, hollow rock formations that are typically round or oblong in shape. They are formed when minerals crystallize inside a cavity or bubble within a larger rock over a long period of time— as in hundreds of thousands or even millions of years! North Carolina’s unique geology allows for this geode formation possible!

What exactly does a geode rock look like? We’ve put together a simple guide that can answer this question.

Geodes can be found all over the world, and their size, shape, and color can vary depending on the specific minerals and conditions present during their formation. When a geode is cut open, it can reveal a stunning array of crystals in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some geodes even contain fossils or other ancient treasures that provide insight into the Earth’s history.

The Type Of Geodes Found In North Carolina

All over the world, there are tons of different kinds of this fascinating wonder and the value of a geode depends on what kind it is. In North Carolina, Hyalite Opal Geodes abound.

How We Found The Best Geode Locations in North Carolina
When it comes to choosing the best options for finding North Carolina geodes there are plenty of things we consider. Many of the best locations are closely guarded secrets which can make it really difficult for more casual geode hunters to find success. The key factors in our recommendations are:

  • The deep experience and understanding of our team about the area
  • Recommendations from local groups and clubs
  • How easy it is to get the a particular location
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Weighing private and public locations
  • The ability for both experienced and novice geode enthusiasts to find great samples

With these factors in mind we’ve been able to put together a fantastic list that just about anyone can use!

The Best Place To Find Geodes in North Carolina

A very close up look at the crystals within a geode

You might already know the great places to mine gems in North Carolina, but not all of these places have geodes in them. The location we’ll share with you may not be the most well-known, but it sure is the top confirmed place to find geodes in North Carolina!

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.

Shooting Creek

A sample of a mesmerizing Hyalite Opal Geode

Shooting Creek is a sweet spot for anyone who loves outdoor activities by the water. It starts up in the Nantahala National Forest and flows down to the Hiwassee River. It has a hilly terrain, with lots of forest around. It also has some pretty interesting rock formations.

To get here, you have to take some windy roads,. There are a few access points where you can park and get down to the creek, but some of them are a bit steep so watch your step!

But before you start packing your bags and preparing for your geode hunting here, make sure to check North Carolina’s most recent guidelines first.

Where we found geodes at Shooting Creek

Shooting Creek in Clay County is the only confirmed place in our state where you can find Hyalite Opal geodes. Specifically, you can find them on the creek’s area exposures, outcrops and gravels.

Rock pick being used

The tools every geode hunter will need

When you're out looking for geodes 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 geode hunters 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 geode-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.

Common Geode-Hunting Questions

A beautiful piece of Amethyst geode on a wooden surface

If you’re looking for geodes in North Carolina, chances are you also have these frequently asked questions in mind. Don’t worry because we’ll answer them for you.

Where can you find amethyst geodes in North Carolina?

Unfortunately, amethyst geodes do not naturally occur in North Carolina. But there are a number of rock and gem shops that sell them here. We made a list of some of them below.

Is it illegal to collect geodes in North Carolina?

If you’re complying with local collecting laws, you’ll have no problem collecting geodes here. Just make sure to check local regulations if you’re collecting from government lands and to obtain permission if you’re exploring private lands.

The Best Places To Buy Geodes In North Carolina

A look at the selection of rocks and gems of Treasure Quest Mining

If you have a dime to spare and prefer the easy way of getting your hands on geodes, we made a list of some of the famous shops here where you can buy them. Check them out!

Additional places to find geodes 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 of the state:

If you have any recommendations for our list please leave a comment 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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