The 15 Proven Areas To Find Mississippi Petrified Wood in 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

| Updated

The 15 Proven Areas To Find Mississippi Petrified Wood in 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

Updated

Petrified wood is like nature’s time capsule, preserving stories from millions of years ago in stone. Imagine holding a piece of wood that’s not really wood anymore but a rock! Mississippi is a wonderland for those seeking these fascinating fossils.

With its rich history and varied landscapes, the state offers a playground for rockhounds and fossil enthusiasts. When you find petrified wood in Mississippi, you can connect with ancient forests and the natural events that turned them to stone.

Whether you’re an experienced collector or just starting, the journey to discover these natural wonders can be both educational and fun. So grab your rock-hunting gear, and let’s explore where you can find these very old remnants in Mississippi!

What Is Mississippi Petrified Wood

chunk of petrified wood showing the patterns and texture of the bark of the tree
Petrified wood provided by NativeSmudgeandStone

Petrified wood is wood that’s turned into stone! Here’s how it happens: when a tree dies and falls over, it might get buried under mud, ash, or other stuff. Then, over a very long time, minerals from the ground seep into the wood and replace its cells.

The wood slowly turns into stone, but it keeps its shape, and sometimes you can still see the tree rings.

This doesn’t happen just anywhere. You need special conditions for petrified wood to form. Usually, you’ll find it where there were once big forests and lots of volcanic activity, like near ancient volcanoes or in places where rivers used to flow.

Some spots where you can look for petrified wood include the Mississippi Petrified Forest and other areas in the state. These places give us a peek into what the world looked like millions of years ago!

The types of petrified wood found in Mississippi

If you’re a rock collector or just curious about geology, looking for Mississippi petrified wood can be a great pastime. Make sure that you know what you’re looking for by knowing how to identify petrified wood and what kinds you can find in the state.

Petrified palmwood

Petrified palmwood is a special kind of fossilized wood that comes from ancient palm trees. Just like other petrified wood, it’s formed when a palm tree dies and gets buried under layers of mud, ash, or other materials.

Over a super long time, the minerals in the ground seep into the wood, and it turns into stone. But what makes petrified palmwood special is the way it looks!

In regular wood, you see tree rings, but palm trees have tiny rod-like structures that create a beautiful spotted pattern when they’re petrified.

You can find petrified palmwood in places where palm trees grew millions of years ago. Sometimes people cut and polish it, and it’s used to make really nice-looking jewelry or decorations.

Silicified wood

Silicified wood is a super cool type of petrified wood. It’s what happens when wood becomes filled with silica, a mineral found in the Earth.

Here’s how it works: when a tree dies, it can get buried under mud or ash. Over a really long time, groundwater that’s rich in silica soaks into the wood. The silica slowly replaces the wood’s cells, turning it into stone.

What’s neat about silicified wood is that it keeps the original shape of the wood, and sometimes you can even see the tree rings! It’s like the tree has been frozen in time but turned into stone.

You’ll often find silicified wood in places where there were ancient volcanoes or hot springs, as these spots usually have lots of silica.

How We Found Petrified Wood in Mississippi
Petrified wood can be pretty tough to find in our state if you aren’t strategic about your search. We’ve compiled a list of great locations where you can find it from a number of proven sources. These are the main inputs we used when determining the recommendations we set out :

  • The extensive local experience of our team
  • Input from a variety of local rockhounds and rockhound groups
  • The difficulty in accessing a location
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Private and public locations
  • A desire to include locations for both the experienced and newbie hunters who are just starting out

Using these inputs we think we’ve put together the best list out there for those who love finding petrified wood for our collections!

Rock pick being used

The tools every petrified wood hunter will need

When you're out looking for petrified wood having the right tools for the job is really going to make or break your success. 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 petrified wood 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 petrified wood-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.

The Best Places To Find Petrified Wood In Mississippi

With forests, creeks, and hidden spots, Mississippi invites you on a thrilling treasure hunt. So, if you’re eager to find these rock-solid wonders, you’re in the right place! Let’s dive into the best spots to discover petrified wood in this beautiful 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 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

Mississippi Petrified Forest

trail in the Mississippi Petrified Forest with petrified tree logs

The Mississippi Petrified Forest is an amazing place that’s like stepping back in time. Located near Flora, Mississippi, this forest is full of petrified wood that’s over 36 million years old!

It’s a wonder to see and a must-visit for anyone who loves rocks and history.

The terrain in the forest is hilly with paths that guide you through an area where ancient trees once stood tall. Now, those trees are turned to stone, scattered across the ground. You can see the tree rings, bark, and branches, all fossilized.

The forest sits on what used to be a prehistoric log jam, where trees were buried quickly and started the long process of turning to stone.

Geologically, the forest is rich in silica, which helped turn the wood into stone. You’ll find different types of petrified wood, each one a unique piece of history.

Getting to the Mississippi Petrified Forest is easy! It’s right off Highway 49, and there are clear signs to guide you. There’s even a museum and gift shop to learn more and take home a souvenir.

Before you go, however, make sure to check with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks to make sure that you know the current rules on rock collecting.

Learning the rules is an important part of learning how to find petrified wood!

Where we found petrified wood in the Mississippi Petrified Forest

The Mississippi Petrified Forest in Flora is a dream spot for finding petrified wood! As you walk the trails, you’ll see ancient trees turned to stone right before your eyes.

You’ll find chunks of this stone wood scattered all around, some lying on the ground and some half-buried. So, while you can’t take the petrified wood home, you can marvel at it, touch it, and imagine the world when these trees were alive and green!

Holly Springs National Forest

photo of a lake in Holly Springs National Forest, Mississippi, with trees on the beach
Holly Springs National Forest by Fredlyfish4

Holly Springs National Forest in Mississippi is a gem waiting to be explored! Located in the hilly region of northern Mississippi, this forest stretches over 155,000 acres.

The terrain is a mix of rolling hills and dense woods, making it perfect for hiking and getting lost in nature’s beauty.

Geologically speaking, Holly Springs sits atop sandy soil with layers of clay and loam. This soil makes it home to many unique plants. As you explore, you’ll find patches of wetlands, clear lakes, and bubbling streams.

There’s also a good chance of spotting some cool rocks and minerals tucked away!

Now, if you’re wondering how to get there, it’s a breeze! The forest is crisscrossed by several major roads like Highway 7 and Highway 78. Plus, there are clear signs pointing you to the entrances and different parts of the forest.

Once you’re inside, there are well-maintained roads and trails, making it easy to explore by car or on foot.

Visiting Holly Springs National Forest is like diving into a natural wonderland. With its unique geology and breathtaking landscapes, it’s a place that promises adventure and discovery around every corner.

Where we found petrified wood in Holly Spring National Forest

While the Holly Springs National Forest is mostly known for its lush greenery and wetlands, you can also find some spots with petrified wood.

As you hike through the forest, especially near stream beds and eroded areas, keep your eyes peeled for chunks of wood that have turned to stone over millions of years.

Copiah County

the Copiah County post office, a red brick building with a sign that says United States Post Office
Copiah County post office by Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD

Copiah County in Mississippi is a spot that’s a treat for the eyes and a haven for rock enthusiasts! Located in the southern part of the state, Copiah County is surrounded by green landscapes and scenic views.

The terrain here is varied: you’ll find both flatlands and gentle hills, offering a mix of farmlands and forests. This county is filled with small towns and communities, each with its own charm.

Geologically, Copiah County is intriguing. It’s made up of layers of sedimentary rocks, which means there are cool rocks and minerals just waiting to be found. Some areas boast deposits of petrified wood and fossils.

Getting to Copiah County is a breeze. Major highways, like I-55, run through the county, making it easily accessible by car. Signs are clear, and the roads are well-maintained, so you’ll have no trouble navigating your way.

Where we found petrified wood at Copiah County

In the Carpenter area near Pierre Bayou, keep an eye out for chunks of this ancient stone wood. Also, if you wander along Copiah Creek in Georgetown, you might spot pieces by the water.

Just south of Georgetown, there’s another great spot along a creek where petrified treasures wait to be found.

And don’t forget the gravel pit in Wesson! It’s a known place where you can discover some excellent specimens.

Marion County

a Marion County cement road flanked by buildings
Marion County by Gabriel D. May

Situated in the south-central part of the state, Marion County’s geography includes a mix of rolling hills and lush valleys. The terrain here is varied, with dense forests and clear-flowing rivers like the Pearl River, adding to the charm.

The geology of Marion County is a treasure trove for rock enthusiasts! There are layers of sedimentary rock filled with fossils, hinting at the ancient sea that once covered the area.

Plus, you can find sandstone and limestone formations that tell the story of millions of years of Earth’s history.

With well-connected highways and roads like US-98, Marion County is accessible from various parts of Mississippi. Enjoy hiking trails, fishing spots, or simply soak in the natural beauty of the landscape.

Where we found petrified wood in Marion County

One prime location to discover Mississippi petrified wood is in the North Foxworth area. If you head to the Pearl River Gravel Washing Company, you just might get lucky.

Here, you can search in the gravel and stones and you might come across some petrified wood specimens.

Yazoo City

sign saying Yazoo City next to a cement road

Yazoo City is part of the Mississippi Delta region, and the city itself is filled with a mix of rolling hills and flat plains. The land here has been shaped by the nearby Yazoo River, making it rich and fertile.

The geology of the area is fascinating too! You’ll find a mixture of soil types, including loam and clay. Over time, the river’s movements have deposited sediments that form different layers of rock and soil.

Getting to Yazoo City isn’t difficult at all. Major roads connect it with other parts of Mississippi, so driving there is an easy option. If you prefer public transportation, there are also bus services that can get you there.

Where we found petrified wood in Yazoo City

If you head west to SR-3, you’re likely to come across some petrified wood pieces. You can also go further east to US-49. Traveling south to SR-433 can lead you to some good spots for petrified wood as well.

Other Great Places To Find Mississippi Petrified Wood

slice of petrified wood showing the texture of the bark and the tree rings
Petrified wood provided by KatrinasCrystalz

There are many more areas in Mississippi where you can find petrified wood specimens. Check out the following spots:

County Location
Franklin County McCall creek area
Franklin County Meadville area, in Middle Fork
Hinds County Sand Hill
Lincoln County Walter Ferris pit
Stone County McHenry area, in Biloxi Creek
Walthall County Simonds area, along the Bogue Citto River; north of the Louisiana border; Walthall Gravel Washing Company
Wayne County Waynesboro area
Yazoo County Perry Creek
Yazoo County Thompson Creek
Yazoo County Tinsley area, along the Yazoo River

General Areas You Should Try

slab of petrified palmwood with black sections
Petrified palmwood provided by Fossilera

If you’re curious about where to find petrified wood, Mississippi is home to several spots where these ancient treasures are waiting to be discovered. Stick to the following areas to make sure that you have a higher chance of success:

Petrified forests

Petrified forests are like nature’s own museums, showcasing the beauty of our planet’s ancient past. These places are where trees from millions of years ago turned into stone, giving us a frozen snapshot of a long-gone era.

Plus, petrified forests are often protected areas. This means the sites are preserved and there’s always a chance to find well-preserved specimens. However, this can also mean that you won’t be allowed to take any specimens with you.

Always make sure to check what the current guidelines are, especially for privately-owned forests.

Rivers and riverbanks

Rivers are nature’s conveyor belts. They move and carry pieces of rocks, minerals, and yes, petrified wood, from one place to another. As water flows, it erodes the soil and uncovers hidden rocks and minerals.

Also, riverbanks often expose layers of earth that are usually hidden. As the river cuts into the land, it reveals secrets of the underground world. This is where our petrified wood, buried for millions of years, can get a chance to see daylight again.

Streams and creeks

Streams and creeks are always moving, always shifting. As they flow, they churn up the earth, revealing hidden bits and pieces. These waterways can bring them right to the surface for us.

These smaller water bodies also do a neat thing: they sort materials. The gentle flow often leaves behind heavier items, like stones and petrified wood, while washing away the lighter dirt and sand.

So, you’re more likely to spot petrified wood more easily along creek beds.

Common Questions About Finding Petrified Wood In Mississippi

Learn some basic facts about petrified wood to help you in your quest to discover some amazing specimens.

How old is petrified wood in Mississippi?

Petrified wood in Mississippi is like a time machine, taking us way back into Earth’s history! The wood here has been around for a staggering 36 million years.

Back in those days, an ancient river flowed in Mississippi. There was a massive flood, and trees got knocked down and buried under layers of silt, dirt, and other materials.

As the years went by, this wet environment became perfect for turning these trees into stone.

Can you find petrified palm wood in Mississippi?

Absolutely, you can find petrified palm wood in Mississippi, and it’s like uncovering a little piece of history! Petrified palm wood is the state stone of both Texas and Louisiana, but Mississippi has its share too.

Millions of years ago, during the Oligocene epoch, the Gulf Coastal Plain of Mississippi was a wet, tropical region. Palm trees flourished, and when they died, they fell into the sediment.

Over time, this environment allowed the wood to become fossilized or “petrified.”

What makes petrified palm wood special is its unique pattern. It doesn’t look like your typical tree, because of the dot-like patterns that represent where the palm’s vascular bundles were.

The Best Places To Buy Petrified Wood In Mississippi

store shelf displaying lamps, minerals, and crystals, with necklaces in the background
The Stone Man and The Gem Lady

If rockhounding isn’t really your thing, but you’re still interested in geology and petrified wood, you can buy some amazing specimens at the following stores:

About Keith Jackson - Geologist

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He is an active Geologist with a wealth of experience and information from across the country that he loves to share with the Rock Chasing crew.

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