The 53 Legit Sites To Find And Mine For Quartz In New Mexico In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

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The 53 Legit Sites To Find And Mine For Quartz In New Mexico In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist


New Mexico will pique your interest if you’re interested in finding quartz. Our state is not just about the hot sun and spicy food; imagine vast open lands waiting to show off their hidden quartz treasures.

From sparkling clear crystals to ones with a hint of pink or yellow, the variety is just astonishing.

If you’re wondering where to mine for quartz in New Mexico, you have tons of options. Among our favorites are the Pecos River, Rockhound State Park, Oscura Mountains, Tres Hermanas Mountains, and Harding Pegmatite Mine.

Whether you’re a seasoned rockhound or just starting, the adventure of finding quartz in New Mexico is something you won’t forget!

What Is New Mexico Quartz Anyway?

An excellent specimen of a double terminated quartz
Double terminated quartz photo provided by and available for purchase at phantomminerals

Quartz is made from two common elements from the Earth, silicon and oxygen, which team up to form this shiny, hard crystal. It comes in lots of different colors, from clear to pink to smoky gray, and even purple!

Identifying quartz is pretty easy as it’s harder than a lot of other rocks, so it can scratch glass. It also has a glassy or shiny look that makes it stand out.

People love quartz not just because it’s beautiful, but also because it’s very useful. It’s used in clocks and electronics like your phone and computer! That’s because it can turn pressure into energy and keep a very steady beat.

The value of quartz also comes from how pretty it is and how useful it can be. Some of its types are more valuable than others, like the clear, perfect crystals or the ones with rare colors.

Lucky for us, quartz is found all over the world. From mountains to deserts to beaches, it can pop up just about anywhere.

The Types Of Quartz Found In New Mexico

New Mexico is home to a wide variety of quartz types, including the following:

  • Pecos diamonds (clear, white, rose, smoky, red)
  • Quartz with dumortierite needles
  • Doubly-terminated quartz
  • Quartz with pyrolusite coatings
  • Clear quartz
  • Smoky quartz
  • Rose quartz

Aside from these, there are also many other crystals in New Mexico that you might find alongside quartz. Check out our guide on finding them to know more.

How We Found The Best Quartz Locations in New Mexico
When it comes to choosing the best options for finding New Mexico 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 rock 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 rock 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 New Mexico

A biterminated crystal of Pecos diamond that took on the color of its gypsum matrix
Biterminated Pecos diamond on gypsum matrix photo provided by Phil Simmons & Erin Delventhal

There are a handful of gem mine sites in New Mexico, so it helps if you know where exactly to look for quartz here. We’ve chosen five of our top favorite legit sites that you can explore.

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

Pecos River

Aerial view of the stretch of the Pecos River

The Pecos River starts in the northern mountains near Santa Fe and travels down into Texas. Along the way, it carves through beautiful forests, rugged canyons, and wide-open plains. Its terrain is a mix of everything, with tall mountains and deep valleys.

Its path has exposed a variety of rocks, including some awesome spots to find quartz. You can find Pecos diamonds here. These are beautiful quartz crystals that have unique shapes and can be clear, smoky, or have hints of purple and yellow.

To go here, if you’re coming from Santa Fe, you can take I-25 north towards Pecos. From there, you can follow the signs to the Pecos National Historical Park or head into the Pecos Wilderness for a more off-the-beaten-path experience.

Are you dreaming of finding your quartz treasures here? Don’t forget to revisit New Mexico’s local collecting guidelines before going.

Where we found quartz in the Pecos River

You can find Pecos diamonds along the riverbanks and on the surface around the Pecos River. You can also search through the nearby hills where erosion has brought minerals to the surface.

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.

Rockhound State Park

A view of the landscape of the Rockhound State Park

Rockhound State Park is in the southern part of our state, near a town called Deming. What makes it amazing is that it’s one of the few places where you’re actually allowed to take rocks home with you— up to 15 pounds of them!

The park is surrounded by the rugged Little Florida Mountains, which are full of geological wonders. The terrain here is a mix of rocky hillsides, desert plants, and wide-open skies that stretch forever.

You can find all kinds of quartz here, from clear crystals that sparkle in the sunlight to smoky quartz that looks like it’s holding onto ancient secrets.

Getting to Rockhound State Park is easy. If you’re coming from Deming, you just head south on NM-11, then east on NM-141 for a few miles, and you’re here.

Where we found quartz in Rockhound State Park

You can find quartz scattered along the hiking trails and among the hillsides within the park’s boundaries. You’re encouraged to explore the base of the Little Florida Mountains within the park, too, where quartz is more commonly found.

Oscura Mountains

The crest of the Oscura Mountains overlooking its surroundings

The Oscura Mountains stretch across the landscape with their rugged peaks and valleys, offering an adventure for anyone willing to explore.

The mountains have a mix of volcanic rocks and ancient seabed formations. This combination makes the area a great place to find all sorts of minerals, including quartz.

Quartz crystals here can range from clear and sparkling to smoky gray, and sometimes you might even find them in cool shapes or clusters.

Reaching the Oscura Mountains can be a bit of an adventure since they’re a bit off the beaten path. The closest town is Carrizozo. From there, you’ll head east on US-380 for a while until you get to the turn-off for the mountains.

Where we found quartz in the Oscura Mountains

The best spots to find quartz here are usually along the washes where water has moved rocks and minerals around, or on the hillsides where erosion has exposed hidden gems.

You can also pay a visit to the Blanchard Mine claims where other rockhounds have also found quartz.

Tres Hermanas Mountains

A stunning wide view of the Tres Hermanas Mountains foregrounded by a wide field

“Tres Hermanas” means “Three Sisters” in Spanish, and when you see these mountains, you’ll understand why. They stand together, creating a stunning view against the desert landscape.

The Tres Hermanas Mountains are made up of a mix of volcanic rocks and older sedimentary layers that have been pushed up over millions of years. This mix has created a perfect spot for quartz to form.

In and around these mountains, you can find clear quartz crystals, sometimes even in big, beautiful clusters.

If you want to go here from Deming, take the NM-11 south for about 15 miles, and you’ll see the mountains on your left. There aren’t a lot of trails, so it’s a bit of an off-the-path adventure.

Where we found quartz in the Tres Hermanas Mountains

Explore the area mines at the Tres Hermanas Mountains to find stunning specimens of quartz. The base of the mountains and the washes here also prove to be great spots for successful quartz hunting.

Harding Pegmatite Mine

An overlooking view of the Harding Pegmatite Mine

The Harding Pegmatite Mine is up in the mountains near Dixon, which is in the northern part of our state. The area around it is full of beautiful scenery, with tall trees, wide-open skies, and lots of fresh mountain air.

What makes this mine special is its geology. Pegmatite is a type of rock that forms deep in the Earth’s crust, and it’s packed with all kinds of minerals, including quartz.

The mine has some of the most amazing quartz you can find, like big, clear crystals, and even some rare varieties like smoky quartz and rose quartz.

The journey going to the Harding Pegmatite Mine is an adventure in itself. From Dixon, you’ll need to take NM-75, and then turn onto a forest service road that leads to the mine. The road can be a bit rough, so make sure your car can handle it.

Where we found quartz in Harding Pegmatite Mine

Harding Pegmatite Mine used to be a working mine, but now it’s open for educational and collecting purposes. That means you can explore its nooks and crannies and collect samples to take home as long as you follow the area rules.

Other Great Places To Find New Mexico Quartz

Lustrous, gemmy crystals of brown to black smoky quartz
Smoky quartz photo provided by Crystal Cantina

Aside from our favorite spots, there are plenty of other legit sites that bear New Mexico quartz. We’ve listed them by county below for your reference:

Our recommendations by county

County Location
Bernalillo La Luz Prospect
Bernalillo Rio Puerco Valley
Bernalillo Red Hill Mine
Bernalillo Shakespeare Mine
Catron Little Spar Prospects
Catron North side of the highway on US 180
Catron Many regional localities in Luna
Catron Leggett Peak
Catron Cooney Mine (Silver Bar Mine)
Catron Quaking Aspen Canyon
Chaves North to Fort Sumner in De Baca County
Chaves Bottomless Lake State Park
Chaves Squaw Canyon to Rio Felix
Cibola El Malpais National Monument
Cibola East Grants Mining District
Cibola Mount Taylor region
Cibola Bonnekay Mine
Colfax Black Horse Mine
Colfax Montezuma Mine
Colfax Copper Park
De Baca River bed gravels and benchland gravels in Carlsbad
De Baca Gibbin Ranch
Dona Ana Mountains, breaks, draws, washes along the Sierra county line in Hatch
Dona Ana Area of old mines in Hatch
Dona Ana South of cattle pens in Hatch
Dona Ana Quicksilver Mine
Dona Ana Mountain Chief Mine
Eddy Lake McMillan
Eddy Lake Avalon
Eddy Carlsbad Caverns
Eddy Red Lakes Prospect
Grant Wood Mine in Sylvanite District
Grant Area mine dumps in Silver City
Grant Burro Mountains
Grant Gila Hot Springs
Grant Eccles Mine
Rio Arriba Mine dump in Petaca
Rio Arriba Cribbenville Mine
Rio Arriba La Madera Mountain
Rio Arriba Sawmill Road to old prospects and mines into La Jerita Canyon
Sierra East area of the west side of town in Kingston
Socorro Washes, draws, and surfaces in area barite mines
Socorro Joita Hills

Common Quartz-Hunting Questions

A captivating cluster of beautiful, soft pink rose quartz crystals
Rose quartz photo provided by Wicca Academy

Before you head out here, it’s crucial to know about the most common question when it comes to collecting New Mexico quartz:

Is it illegal to collect quartz in New Mexico?

Collecting quartz here is generally allowed, but specific rules and regulations must be followed to ensure it’s done legally and sustainably.

On public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US Forest Service, recreational rock collecting for personal use is usually permitted without a permit. However, there are limits to how much you can collect.

It’s important to respect private property and not collect on land without the owner’s permission. Some areas, especially designated wilderness areas, national parks, and monuments, have stricter rules or outright prohibit collecting.

Before you go collecting quartz in our state, it’s a good idea to check the specific regulations for the area you’re interested in. Visit the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) website for more details.

The Best Places To Buy Quartz In New Mexico

The buidling of Mama's Minerals with big signage of the shop in front

If you prefer a more laid-back way of taking home a New Mexico quartz, you can always choose to visit our reliable local rock and mineral shops. Some of our recommended ones are:

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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