The 56 Proven Places To Find Quartz In Colorado In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

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The 56 Proven Places To Find Quartz In Colorado In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist


Understanding how to find quartz can be tricky, but we’ve traveled around and learned a lot about the best spots. Our experiences have taken us to places like Mount Antero, Devil’s Head, and Pikes Peak.

However, there are many more places where you can look for quartz in Colorado. Quartz is generally found in mountainous areas, old mines, and river valleys. The state offers you a wealth of areas to explore.

It can be tough to find these crystals without knowing where to look or having an experienced guide to lead the way. We’re here to share our knowledge of the best spots and help you find the best spots for quartz in Colorado.

What Is Colorado Quartz Anyway?

translucent rough quartz crystal
Quartz provided by TheMineralMistress

Quartz is made of silicon dioxide and is one of the most common minerals on Earth. Knowing how to identify quartz is simple: look for a crystal that’s typically clear or white, though it can be found in other colors.

It has a glass-like shine and a hard surface that can scratch glass. It forms beautiful, often hexagonal, crystals that can be quite striking.

Quartz is commonly found in igneous rocks like granite, and it’s often found in veins within rocks where hot waters have deposited minerals over time.

It can also be found in sedimentary rocks like sandstone and is a major component of many mountain ranges.

The price of quartz depends on its clarity, color, size, and the demand for that particular type. In its most basic form, it’s not very expensive.

However, certain varieties of quartz, like the beautifully colored amethyst or the smoky quartz, can be quite valuable.

The Types Of Quartz Found In Colorado

From the smoky quartz found in the shadows of the majestic mountains to the sparkling clear crystals gleaming in the sunlight, Colorado’s quartz is as diverse as its landscape. These are the types of quartz you can find in the state:

  • Smoky quartz
  • Amethyst
  • Clear quartz
  • Rose quartz
  • Milky quartz
  • Citrine

For those eager to dive deeper into the world of crystals in Colorado, we’ve got just the thing. Check out our crystal mining piece for more insights and tips on finding these natural beauties.

How We Found The Best Quartz Locations in Colorado
When it comes to choosing the best options for finding Colorado quartz 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 quartz 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 Places To Find Quartz in Colorado

large pink rose quartz crystal
Rose quartz provided by Weinrich Minerals

Without proper guidance, it’s easy to miss quartz crystals and other hidden gems, even when they’re right under our feet. That’s why we’re eager to share our experiences and tips to help others successfully discover quartz in nature.

Check out our guide on how to mine gems in Colorado, where we share valuable tips and insights. This will help guide your journey and increase your chances of uncovering the natural wonders this region has to offer.

Below are our top five favorite places to look for quartz.

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

Mount Antero

view of Mount Antero in Colorado

Mount Antero stands tall with its peak reaching over 14,000 feet, making it one of the highest mountains around. It’s part of the Sawatch Range and is rugged and challenging, with steep slopes and rocky paths.

The mountain is famous for its abundance of minerals, especially different types of quartz. The area is known for its aquamarine deposits, one of the highest concentrations in the country.

We’ve found that the higher elevations are particularly rich in different kinds of minerals. Hiking up the trails, we’ve often come across pockets of granite filled with shiny crystals and gemstones.

Before you head out, it’s essential to check with the Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM). They provide the necessary guidelines and rules for collecting in this area.

Where we found quartz on Mount Antero

You can find smoky quartz and clear quartz on this mountain. These quartz crystals are often nestled in granite and pegmatite rock formations, which are abundant in this area.

During our climbs, we’ve discovered that the areas near the summit and along the trails leading up to it are especially good spots for finding good rocks and minerals.

Rock pick being used

The tools every crystal hunter will need

When you're out looking for crystals 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 crystal miners which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding tools 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 crystal-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.

Devil’s Head

view of Devil's Head peak

The Devil’s Head area is part of the Rampart Range and is characterized by its rugged terrain with a mix of steep slopes and dense forests. The rock formations here are mostly granite, which is why it’s a hotspot for finding quartz crystals.

The geography of Devil’s Head includes a notable fire lookout tower, which stands as a landmark and offers a spectacular vantage point.

Geologically, the region has been shaped by a complex history of volcanic activity and erosion, creating an environment rich in minerals.

We’ve noticed that the quartz found here is often in association with feldspar, giving us clues about the area’s volcanic past.

Where we found quartz on Devil’s Head

We’ve often found smoky quartz crystals in the area. When we’re thinking about where to mine for quartz, the forested slopes and granite outcrops are our go-to spots.

Bent County

river winding through a field

Bent County is characterized by rolling plains and wide-open spaces. One notable feature is the Arkansas River, which flows through the county. This river has carved out various landforms over time, creating a diverse terrain.

The county is part of the Great Plains, which means we encounter a lot of sedimentary rocks like sandstone and shale. With these rocks, you may come across the fossilized remains of plants and animals across the county.

Where we found quartz in Bent County

You can often quartz deposits along the Arkansas River, where erosion has exposed different layers of rock. The riverbanks and nearby hills have been promising spots for uncovering small quartz pieces.

Pikes Peak

view of snow-capped Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak is a massive mountain that’s part of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

The terrain here is varied, ranging from dense forests at lower elevations to rocky, barren landscapes near the summit.

Geologically, Pikes Peak is fascinating because it’s made mostly of pink granite, which gives the mountain a unique hue, especially at sunrise and sunset. This granite is not just beautiful; it’s also home to various minerals, including quartz.

Where we found quartz on Pikes Peak

We’ve often found smoky quartz and clear quartz embedded in the granite rock formations in the area. These quartz crystals are usually located in areas where the granite is more exposed, especially at higher elevations.

There are plenty of spots where quartz can be discovered near the summit and along the trails leading up.

Fremont County

large canyon with trees

Like Bent County, Fremont County is sliced by the Arkansas River, creating a mix of river valleys and rocky terrain. The county’s geography is marked by several notable features, like the Royal Gorge, which is a deep canyon carved by the river.

Geologically, Fremont County is a treasure trove, with a rich variety of rock formations that tell a story of the area’s past.

The region is known for its mineral deposits, and on our searches, we’ve come across areas where different minerals are abundant.

Where we found quartz in Fremont County

The quartz here often appears as part of larger rock formations, rather than as separate, easily spotted crystals. The riverbanks along the Arkansas River and the hills near the Royal Gorge have been particularly good spots for discovering quartz.

Other Great Places To Find Colorado Quartz

multiple brown smoky quartz crystals on a matrix
Smoky quartz provided by OnTheRocksNYC

Below is a list of areas where we’ve had success in finding quartz across the state:

Our recommendations by county

County Location
Culberson Van Horn area, slopes of smaller hills
Culberson Nickel Creek
Culberson Maltby Mine
Hudspeth Texas Turquoise Company Mine

Common Quartz-Hunting Questions

translucent pale pink quartz crystal cluster
Quartz provided by ShamanicCrystals

We’ve gathered some of the most frequently asked questions and our firsthand experiences to provide clear, helpful answers.

Is it illegal to collect quartz in Colorado?

Collecting quartz in Colorado is generally legal, but there are important rules to follow. On public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service, collecting rocks, including Colorado quartz, is allowed.

However, there are limits on the amount you can collect without a permit, usually for personal use and not for sale.

The BLM typically allows the collection of up to 25 pounds plus one piece per day, but this can vary, so it’s important to check specific area regulations.

It’s crucial to know if you’re on state, federal, or private land. On state lands, rules can be different, and some areas may require permits or may not allow collecting at all.

Collecting on private land without permission is illegal, so always get the landowner’s consent first.

Meanwhile, National Parks, National Monuments, and Native American tribal lands have strict no-collecting policies to protect natural and cultural resources.

Always research and follow local laws and guidelines to ensure that your quartz collecting is legal and sustainable.

The Best Places To Buy Quartz In Colorado

interior of a shop selling rocks and minerals
Golden Rock Shop

We’ve put together a list of some of the best shops in Colorado where you can find beautiful quartz pieces:

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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