The 58 Verified Sites To Find Quartz In Montana In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

| Updated

The 58 Verified Sites To Find Quartz In Montana In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

Updated

Knowing how to find quartz is crucial, and it’s not always easy if you’re not sure where to look. We’re here to guide you through this thrilling experience, sharing our knowledge on the best spots in Montana.

In Montana, places like Crystal Park, Jefferson County, and Granite County are famous for their quartz deposits. These areas offer a variety of spots where you can explore and find quartz crystals.

With our tips and the knowledge we’ve gained from our experiences, you’ll increase your chances of success.

What Is Montana Quartz Anyway?

yellow and black scepter quartz crystal
Scepter quartz provided by Weinrich Minerals

Quartz is really common and comes in different colors like clear, pink, or even black. To identify quartz, look for its shiny, glass-like surface and check if it can scratch glass, because quartz is pretty hard.

You can find quartz in lots of different places like mountains, river beds, and deserts.

This mineral forms deep underground from silicon and oxygen, two elements that are super common on Earth. When hot water underground cools down, quartz starts to form in the cracks and spaces in rocks.

The price of quartz can vary a lot. Smaller and more common pieces are usually not too expensive, making them great for beginners. However, the larger, rarer, and more striking specimens can cost quite a bit more.

The Types Of Quartz Found In Montana

You can find different quartz varieties when you explore Montana. Here are the quartz types you can find in the state:

  • Amethyst
  • Blue quartz
  • Chalcedony
  • Citrine
  • Ferruginous quartz
  • Milky quartz
  • Rose quartz
  • Sceptre quartz
  • Smoky quartz

For those who want to dive deeper into the exciting world of quartz, don’t forget to check out our guide to crystal mining in Montana.

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

translucent smoky quartz crystal
Smoky quartz provided by StenaGems

We’ve learned through experience that the right spots make all the difference in a successful hunt for quartz. With the right guidance, the search for quartz turns into an unforgettable journey full of discovery and fun.

Check out our guide on how to mine gems in Montana for more insights and tips. It’s packed with information to help you find those hidden gems in the Treasure 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

Crystal Park

trees on the slope of Crystal Park
Crystal Park by Athena C / Tripadvisor

Nestled high in the Pioneer Mountains, Crystal Park is a special spot where you can dig for quartz crystals. The park sits at an elevation of about 7,800 feet, surrounded by stunning forested hills and clear mountain streams.

The terrain here is a mix of loose soil and larger rocks, making it an ideal place for crystal hunting.

Crystal Park is part of a larger geological feature known as a batholith, a huge mass of rock formed deep underground by cooling magma. Over millions of years, this batholith has eroded, exposing the beautiful quartz crystals we find today.

When planning a rock-collecting trip, always make sure to check with the Montana Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to understand the current rules and regulations for rock collecting in the state.

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 supplies 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 

Northwest Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Northwestern 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.

Where we found quartz in Crystal Park

You can find clear and smoky quartz crystals in Crystal Park. These quartz crystals are typically nestled in the dirt and can sometimes be spotted just lying on the surface.

The best spots for finding these quartz crystals are usually in the areas where the soil is softer and more eroded.

Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River with green mountains in the background

Exploring the Yellowstone River area is like traveling through a constantly changing landscape. As you follow the river, it’ll take you through a variety of terrains, from steep canyons to broad, serene valleys.

In the upper stretches, the river winds through areas with towering mountains and lush forests. As it flows further, the landscape opens into expansive plains.

The geology here is fascinating, with a mix of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. You’ll often find areas where volcanic activity from the past has left its mark in the form of unique rock formations.

Where we found quartz in Yellowstone River

You can come across quartz in the gravels and along the banks of the river. The areas downstream of faster currents are good spots, as the water flow tends to deposit a variety of rocks, including quartz.

Granite County

lake and mountains

Granite County is characterized by rugged mountains, rolling hills, and broad valleys, each offering unique geological features.

There’s also a mix of dense forests and open grasslands, indicative of the area’s varied ecosystems. The geology in this county is especially fascinating, with a rich mix of rock types including granite, as its name suggests.

Streams and rivers cut through the landscape of the county, exposing layers of rocks and minerals. In these waterways, you can sometimes find smaller rocks that have been smoothed and shaped by the water’s flow.

Where we found quartz in Granite County

Try to explore the Red Lion Mining District, where unique blue quartz can be found. You can also find quartz in the Anaconda Range, as well as various other mining districts throughout the county.

Jefferson County

forest and snow-capped mountains
Elkhorn Mountains by Montanabw

The Jefferson County area is a mix of rolling hills, wide valleys, and rugged mountains. You can encounter a variety of ecosystems, from dense forests to open meadows.

Jefferson County’s geology is rich and varied, with a fascinating mix of rock types.

One of the most exciting aspects of this area is the numerous outcrops and rocky formations we come across. These formations often reveal the area’s complex geological history, showing signs of both ancient and more recent geological events.

The streams and rivers cutting through the county expose layers of rocks and minerals, which can provide you with great opportunities for discovery.

Where we found quartz in Jefferson County

We’ve found a variety of quartz, including smoky quartz, scepter quartz, and milky quartz, in numerous locations.

Make sure to explore Goldflint Mountain, where the quartz crystals are abundant and varied. Delmoe Lake and Troll Mountain are also key spots where to mine for quartz.

Butte

low buildings with mountains in the background

The city of Butte is dominated by hills and valleys, shaped by both nature and extensive mining activities over the years. Butte’s geology is fascinating, with a rich variety of rock types and mineral deposits.

Butte’s mining history is evident in the numerous tailings and mine dumps scattered around. These sites are not only historical landmarks but also hotspots for finding interesting rocks and minerals.

Additionally, the surrounding mountains and streams add to the area’s geological diversity, offering different types of rock formations and mineral deposits.

Where we found quartz in Butte

In Butte, especially within the Butte Mining District, you can find smoky quartz. Check out the old mine tailings and dumps, where smoky quartz can sometimes be found among other minerals.

Other Great Places To Find Montana Quartz

citrine crystal cluster
Citrine provided by Fossilera

Other than the five places we’ve mentioned, we also have a list of other known spots where you can find quartz in Montana:

Our recommendations by county

County Location
Beaverhead County Argenta
Beaverhead County Beaverhead River canyon
Beaverhead County McCartney Mountain
Big Horn County Bighorn River
Broadwater County Beaver Creek Mining District
Carbon County Pryor Mountains
Cascade County Neihart Mining District
Dawson County Glendive
Deer Lodge County Gold Coin Mining District
Deer Lodge County Anaconda Range
Deer Lodge County Flint Creek Range
Fergus County North Moccasin Mining District
Fergus County Judith Peak
Flathead County Kofford Ridge
Flathead County Blacktail Prospect
Gallatin County Gallatin Gateway
Garfield County Smoky Butte
Hill County Bearpaw Mountains
Judith Basin County Hughesville
Lake County Chief Cliff Mining District
Lewis and Clark County Blue Cloud Mining District
Lewis and Clark County Sevenmile-Scratchgravel Mining District
Lewis and Clark County Wolf Creek Mining District
Liberty County Sweet Grass Hills
Lincoln County Libby
Lincoln County Cabinet Mining District
Madison County Ruby Range
Madison County Greenhorn Range
Madison County Potosi Mining District
Meagher County Castle Mountain Mining District
Meagher County Copperopolis
Mineral County Alberton
Mineral County Cedar Creek Mining District
Mineral County Packer Creek Mining District
Missoula County Lolo Pass
Missoula County Copper Cliff Mining District
Missoula County Missoula
Missoula County Wallace Mining District
Park County Crevasse Mining District
Park County New World Mining District
Park County Horseshoe District
Phillips County Little Rockies Mining District
Powell County Big Blackfoot Mining District (Helmville Mining District)
Powell County Boulder Mountains
Powell County Flint Creek Range
Ravalli County Sapphire Mountains
Ravalli County Mineral Point Mining District
Sanders County Paradise
Sanders County Prospect Creek District
Silver Bow County Boulder Mountains
Silver Bow County Highland Mining District (Siberia Mining District)
Treasure County Myers
Wibaux County St. Philips

Common Quartz-Hunting Questions

opaque white quartz crystal cluster
Quartz provided by TheHouseofStardust

To help out rock collectors who are interested in exploring Montana, we’ve answered the commonly asked questions about quartz in the state.

Is it illegal to collect quartz in Montana?

Collecting Montana quartz is generally legal, but there are important rules and regulations to follow.

On public lands managed by agencies like the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service, recreational rockhounding, including quartz collection, is allowed.

These agencies typically allow individuals to collect small amounts of rocks and minerals for personal use without a permit. However, collecting for commercial purposes is not allowed without a special permit.

When it comes to state lands, permissions and rules can vary, so it’s crucial to check with local authorities or the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

On private property, you must always obtain permission from the landowner before collecting any rocks or minerals.

In protected areas, such as state and national parks, collecting rocks, including quartz, is usually prohibited to preserve the natural environment.

The Best Places To Buy Quartz In Montana

exterior of a brown building
Earth’s Treasures

We’ve put together a list of some of the best shops for buying quartz, where you’re sure to find a piece that catches your eye:

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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