Our state is big, wild, and full of hidden treasures. With such a large area to explore it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are some great options to find petrified wood in Texas.
Texas is a land of endless possibilities, but if you don’t know where to look, it can be as hard to find petrified wood as it is to catch a tumbleweed in a windstorm. Without the right knowledge and skills, you may spend hours or even days looking in the wrong places.
But don’t worry, fellow hunters! We’ve found great options to make anyone looking for petrified wood feel like a cowboy who just found gold. With these opportunities and tools, anyone interested in petrified wood can go on an exciting journey of discovery!
What Is Texas Petrified Wood
Petrified wood is amazing and gorgeous. Ancient trees that have gone through “fossilization” and turned into solid stone while keeping their original shapes and textures are a fascinating natural phenomenon.
The petrified wood that comes out of this has a beautiful range of colors, from earthy browns and reds to bright yellows and blues. Each piece tells a different story about the past and shows something about the geological and natural history of the area.
Petrified wood is popular with collectors, artists, and people who love nature because it has exciting patterns, smooth surfaces, and sparkling mineral inclusions.
Once you’ve been to all the places in our state, you can check out our detailed guide to find out where you can find petrified wood near you. We keep adding new facts about each state on this page.
The types of petrified wood found in Texas
Texas has many different kinds of petrified wood. Here are some examples of petrified wood in the state.
Agatized petrified wood
When that silica magic works in a certain way, agatized petrified wood is made. You see, silica can turn into a beautiful mineral called agate, known for its bright colors and fascinating banding patterns.
So, as the silica gets into the wood, it turns into agate, making a show that is as solid as a rock. What happened? Not only is petrified wood as tough as nails, but it also shows off the stunning beauty of agate.
Imagine blues, reds, yellows, and all the other colors of the rainbow swirling together in a shiny package.
Coniferous petrified wood
Coniferous petrified wood comprises the fossilized remains of long-dead conifer trees. Back then, these trees, like pines, firs, and spruces, were the coolest ones in the forest. Let’s take a look at how this fantastic process of petrification works.
All of this starts when these coniferous trees reach the end of their lives and break down into sand or mud. Over time, sediment builds up in layers, which push down on the fallen trees. The groundwater seeps through the deposits, bringing a mix of minerals. It’s like a mineral spa for these heroes who have died.
Here is where the change gets crazy. The minerals in the groundwater slowly move into the tiny spaces in the tree’s organic matter. They use their magic to change the wood cells into mineral cells.
Opalized petrified wood
Water, silica, and time work together in a fascinating way to turn petrified wood into opalized wood. Imagine an old forest where big trees used to stand tall. Over millions of years, as the trees died and were covered by dirt, groundwater came in like a magic potion.
As the silica water went through the wood, it made tiny spheres of opal in the tree’s organic matter. With their rainbow of colors and iridescence, these opal spheres replaced the wood’s original cells.
Opalized petrified wood is a stunning mix of colorful opal and hardened wood. The colors of the opal, which range from fiery reds to dreamy blues and shimmering greens, dance within the original wood’s texture and patterns. It feels like you’re holding a piece of the universe’s art.
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:
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 Texas
Here are some great places in the state where you can find petrified wood. Even though rockhounding in Texas covers a larger area, you can still do it to find more petrified wood.
Lake Livingston has a large body of water that covers about 90,000 acres and is very deep. This reservoir is surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, making it a beautiful place to fish, boat, hike, and do other outdoor activities.
The terrain in the area is varied, with both flat plains and gentle slopes, making for a beautiful and exciting view. The area around Lake Livingston is an excellent example of how Texas landscapes are constantly changing. Sedimentary rocks like sandstone and shale, and limestone formations can be found in the area.
Where we found petrified wood at Lake Livingston
Petrified wood can be found near Lake Livingston and around it. The changing water levels in the reservoir and erosion over time have revealed ancient layers of petrified wood, giving fossil hunters a great chance to find these fascinating treasures.
Research the recent rules and regulations about collecting in Texas before bringing home the petrified wood you found.
Palo Duro Canyon shows how nature has changed over millions of years. The park has sedimentary rock layers, like the Quartermaster Formation, known for its reddish-brown color.
This beautiful park is known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas” because of its impressive geological features and breathtaking views. The canyon is about 120 miles long, making it the second-largest canyon in the U.S.
With its tall cliffs, rough mesas, and vast prairies, the park has a beautiful view that changes throughout the year. As you walk the park’s trails and take in its beautiful sceneries, keep an eye out for the petrified wood, which adds a new layer of mystery to an already stunning landscape.
Where we found petrified wood at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Petrified wood can be discovered along some of the park’s trails and washes, particularly in areas where erosion has exposed fossilized remnants.
While the park does not have specific designated petrified wood collection areas, visitors have reported finding petrified wood in different parts of the park, such as along the canyon walls or within creek beds.
Peach Creek flows through a beautiful area with rolling hills, thick forests, and quiet meadows. The creek runs through the middle of Texas, making it a peaceful place to explore and find new things. The surrounding area is known for its variety of plants and animals, which makes it an excellent place for people who like to be outside.
Petrified wood can be found in Peach Creek, an excellent place to look. Petrified wood fragments and larger pieces have been exposed along the creek bed because the water in the creek flows in a winding path, erosion happens, and the area is made up of sediments.
Where we found petrified wood at the Peach Creek
As you walk along the banks of Peach Creek, look for signs of petrified wood, like different colors, textures, and patterns.
Quitman Mountain is beautiful because of its rough cliffs, steep slopes, and beautiful valleys. The vast beauty of West Texas surrounds the mountain range and has views that go as far as the eye can see. It has a unique landscape with canyons and arroyos that make it a great place to explore and look for fossils.
Quitman Mountain is made up of many different kinds of rocks. Most of the mountain’s base comprises sedimentary rocks like sandstone and shale that formed millions of years ago. These layers of sediment are exactly what petrified wood needs to stay in good shape.
Where we found petrified wood at the Quitman Mountain
One area to search for petrified wood is along the mountain’s creek beds. Erosion processes over time may have exposed fragments or larger pieces of petrified wood in these waterways.
The Trinity River is a beautiful river that runs through Texas. This famous river is not only beautiful to look at, but it also gives nature lovers and people who are interested in petrified wood a unique chance.
The river flows through various landscapes, such as rolling hills, forested valleys, and broad floodplains. The Trinity River is a beautiful and exciting place to visit because its landscape is so different.
Natural occurrences, like erosion and flooding, have exposed small and large pieces of petrified wood along the river’s banks and floodplains. This makes the Trinity River a good place for fossil hunters to look for petrified wood and find hidden treasures.
Where we found petrified wood at Trinity River
Keep an eye out for areas where the soil has been eroded or where gravel and sediment have been deposited, as petrified wood can be found among these materials.
Other Great Places To Find Texas Petrified Wood
After we tell you where to look for petrified wood in Texas that we think is the best, we’ll give you more places and other ways. To make things easier, we put them in order by county.
|Bastrop||Smithville surrounding region, in breaks, cuts, surfaces|
|Brewster||Agua Fria Ranch|
|Comal||New Brounfels area stream beds and banks, plowed fields, roadcuts, excavations|
|Jasper||McGee Bend Dam|
|Madison||All surrounding region, banks, cuts, fields, draws, washes of Madisonville|
|Montgomery||New Caney area creek beds and banks|
|Val Verde||Kothman Ranch|
General Areas You Should Try
We want to ensure your search works because Texas is a big state. Places where petrified wood is often found, deserve more of your attention.
Lakeshores are like natural garbage cans because all things wash up and get left there over time. That includes wood that has turned to stone. As the water rises and falls, it carries sediment and rocks. It also takes the fossilized remains of trees from long ago.
Most lakeshores have a variety of rocks and minerals, which makes them an excellent place for petrified wood to grow and thrive. You’ll find a nice mix of sedimentary and volcanic rocks, the best sites for preserving wood fossils.
When building roads, parts of the ground are often cut away to make a smooth path. The magic happens when the road cuts through layers of rock and soil. Petrified wood is often buried deep underground, and roadcuts let us see these underground wonders.
As workers blast through the rock layers, they accidentally find petrified wood that has been there for hundreds of years. Petrified wood is easy for collectors to spot because the exposed rock layers of roadcuts make it easy to see its unique patterns and colors.
Streams and creeks
Streams and creeks can move loose sediment away, which can reveal old wood that has turned to stone. As the water moves around, it exposes small pieces or even more significant amounts of petrified wood that have settled on the streambed.
Streams and creeks are more accessible for collectors because they are not as big. You can easily walk along their banks, jump from rock to rock, and look for petrified wood at the water’s edge.
Common Questions About Finding Petrified Wood In Texas
The answers to the following questions about petrified wood in Texas are essential.
How old is petrified wood in Texas?
The age of petrified wood in Texas depends on where it is and what the geology is like. In Texas, petrified wood can be anywhere from a few thousand to a few million years old.
Some pieces may be from the Cretaceous Period when dinosaurs roamed the Earth from about 145 million to 66 million years ago.
Can you find petrified palm wood in Texas?
Yes, petrified palm wood can be found in Texas. Petrified palm wood is a type of petrified wood that comes from old palm trees.
Texas is known for its many different kinds of petrified wood, some of which come from palm trees that grew there millions of years ago.
The Best Places To Buy Petrified Wood In Texas
Not everyone enjoys spending the whole day outdoors finding petrified wood. Sometimes, all you want is something new for your collection or to give as a gift. Here’s a list of rock shops where you can buy petrified wood in Texas:
- Johnson’s Rock Shop – 238 N Lincoln Wiggins St, Livingston, TX 77351
- Katy Rock Shop – 535 Pin Oak Rd, Katy, TX 77494
- Nature’s Gallery – 1102 Elm St Ste 102, Carrollton, TX 75006
- The Old Wizzard’s Rock Shop – 14005 African Hill Rd, Willis, TX 77378
- Power of the Rainbow – 1730 W Randol Mill Rd #125, Arlington, TX 76012