44 Favorite Arkansas Rockhounding Sites In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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44 Favorite Arkansas Rockhounding Sites In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


In Arkansas, rockhounds will definitely strike gold… figuratively! With its diverse geological landscape and a rich history of mining, our state offers a treasure trove of exciting rocks and minerals.

One of the reasons Arkansas is a prime destination for rockhounding is its abundance of Quartz crystals. In fact, it’s our state mineral. Aside from having Quartz, Arkansas is also known to have the only Diamond-producing site in North America, the Crater of Diamonds State Park.

But beyond these, our state boasts of an array of other fascinating rocks and minerals. So whether you’re a seasoned rockhound or just starting out, our state surely has something for you. If you’re headed here, it helps to know our favorite Arkansas rockhounding sites filled with rare finds and breathtaking natural beauty, too. Let’s start!

How We Found The Best Places For Rockhounding in Arkansas
We spent a lot of time putting together the list of which of the many options for Arkansas rockhounding we were going to recommend. We wanted to have a nice variety of locations for experienced and novice rockhounds in a variety of settings. Here are the main factors we used when determining the recommendations we set out :

  • The extensive local experience and understanding of our team
  • Input from multiple local rockhounds and rockhound groups
  • The accessibility of the various locations
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Private and public locations
  • A desire to include locations for both experienced rockhounds and those who are just starting out

Using these weights we think we’ve put together the best list out there for those who love finding new rocks, gems, and minerals for our collections!

What You Can Find Rockhounding In Arkansas

Sparkling silver clusters of Galena
Galena photo provided by and available for purchase at MillionYearsCrystal

If you’re planning to embark on a rockhounding adventure in Arkansas, prepare to unearth a world of geological wonders! Our state, known for its rich natural resources, offers an abundance of different rocks and minerals, such as the following:

Rare rocks and minerals found in Arkansas

  • Magnetite
  • Rhodochrosite
  • Smithsonite
  • Variscite
  • Wavellite

More common desirable rocks, minerals, and gems found here

In-depth guides to finding specific types of rocks in Arkansas

In case you’re looking for specific types of rocks and minerals here, we’ve created several guides that will come in handy for you:

We also came up with a full guide to rock hunting places near you that features more than 3,000 sites throughout the country.

But if want to know more focused information on the rockhounding opportunities in Arkansas, continue reading here.

The Best Places To Find Rocks and Minerals in Arkansas

Pink crystals of Rhodochrosite
Rhodochrosite photo provided by SpiriferMinerals.com

Arkansas may not be the biggest state, but it’s definitely packed with rockhounding sites that you can explore. We’re sharing with you our top 5 favorite ones so you’d know more about them when you visit here.

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.

These requirements are subject to change without notice and may differ from what we state below.

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding.

Ocus Stanley Claim

Closeup view of a clear Quartz crystal that was found at the Ocus Stanley Claim in Fisher Mountain

Nestled in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains, the Ocus Stanley Claim stands as a prime rockhounding site that entices rockhounds from far and wide. The Quartz crystal formations found here exhibit exceptional clarity, impressive size, and captivating variations in color.

What sets the Ocus Stanley Claim apart is not just the quality and quantity of crystals but also its accessibility. It’s conveniently located near the town of Mount Ida, often referred to as the “Quartz Crystal Capital of the World.” This proximity makes it easily accessible for rockhounds of all levels of experience.

Best of all, as you explore the claim’s scenic surroundings, you’ll be immersed in the natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains, enhancing your overall experience.

What you can find there

Ocus Stanley Claim is popular for its amazing Smoky Quartz and Clear Quartz, just like the one in the photo.

Rock pick being used

The tools every rockhound will need

When you're out looking for rocks and minerals 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 rockhounds 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 rockhounding 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.

Morning Star Mine

A look at one part of the Morning Star Mine

Another recommended spot located in Ouachita Mountains is the Morning Star Mine. Renowned for its diverse array of rocks and minerals, this site offers a thrilling and rewarding experience for collectors of all levels.

The rich history and geological significance of Morning Star Mine is just as interesting as its natural wonders. The mine has been in operation since the 1800s and has yielded an impressive variety of minerals.

As you explore the mine’s underground passages and delve into the rich mineral veins, you’ll be transported back in time, experiencing the thrill of discovering minerals that have been formed over millions of years.

What you can find there

You can find different varieties of rocks and minerals at the Morning Star Mine, such as Aragonite, Calcite, Dolomite, Quartz, Galena, Pyrite, Smithsonite (Turkey Fat Ore), and Sphalerite.

Lake Catherine State Park

Downstream of water at Lake Catherine and its surrounding rock formations

Lake Catherine State Park offers more than just natural beauty— it’s also a fantastic rockhounding site. As you explore its trails and shoreline, keep an eye out for glimmering rocks and minerals.

The best thing about Lake Catherine State Park is its accessibility and family-friendly atmosphere. It offers a range of activities for visitors, including guided hikes and educational programs focused on rock and mineral identification.

The serene beauty of the lake, combined with the excitement of searching for rocks and minerals, creates a truly memorable experience for all ages. Here, natural wonders and family fun converge!

What you can find there

This place has some unique finds that you may not find elsewhere in our state, like Columbium ore and Uranium ore.

Cove Creek

The picturesque and pristine Cove Creek meanders through the stunning Ouachita Mountains and offers a unique opportunity to explore its bountiful shores for fascinating rocks and minerals.

With its tranquil ambiance and the rhythmic flow of the creek, rockhounding here is not just an adventure, but also a chance to connect with nature and immerse in the serene beauty of Arkansas’s geological wonders.

Cove Creek’s easily accessible shores provide ample opportunities for both seasoned collectors and those new to rockhounding to try their luck. As you explore its edges, turning over rocks and sifting through the gravel, you’ll be rewarded with the thrill of uncovering unique specimens that have been shaped by nature’s forces over time.

What you can find there

The following are some of the most abundant rocks and minerals that you can find here: Apatite, Biotite, Eudialyte, Kimseyite, Magnetite, Monticellite, Nepheline, Perovskite, Pyrite, and Syenite.

Prairie Creek

Aerial view of Prairie Creek with its surrounding landscapes as foreground and background

Prairie Creek offers rockhounding enthusiasts a captivating destination to explore and discover an array of geological wonders. This serene creek, flowing through the rugged terrain of the Ozark Mountains, is renowned for its rich deposits of minerals and fossils.

As you meander along the creek’s banks and sift through its gravel, you’ll have the opportunity to uncover a treasure trove of fascinating rocks and sparkling minerals. Surrounded by lush forests and tranquil landscapes, rockhounding at Prairie Creek is a serene and immersive experience.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful solo adventure or a memorable outing with friends and family, this spot promises a fantastic rockhounding journey.

What you can find there

When you explore Prairie Creek, you can find stunning specimens of Amethyst, Diopside, Epidote, Garnet, Hematite, Peridot, Pyrite, and Quartz.

Our Other Favorite Spots Around Arkansas

An intricately shaped Gold specimen
Gold photo provided by Saphira Minerals

Aside from our top 5 favorite rockhounding sites in Arkansas, our state offers many other spots that you will also enjoy exploring for rocks and minerals. What’s even better is that these sites have unique specimens, as you will find below.

Rockhounding sites in Northern Arkansas

Northern Arkansas is characterized by its rugged Ozark Mountains, meandering rivers, and numerous rock formations, providing an ideal setting for rockhounding adventures. With its rich mineral deposits, a history of mining, scenic riverbanks, and hidden caves, this area is a must-visit destination.

Location Minerals & Rocks
Hillside exposure south of creek in Berryville Dolomite, Limonite, Pyrite
Yellville area lead mines Galena, Pyrite, Smithsonite
Monte Cristo Mine Smithsonite
Road cut through limestone on US-65 at Leslie Calcite, Fossils, Pyrite, Septarian Nodules
Both banks of Buffalo River Chert, Fossils, Pyrite, Septarian
Lead mine dumps at Ponca Calcite, Chalcopyrite, Dolomite, Galena, Marcasite, Sphalerite

Rockhounding sites in Southwestern Arkansas

Renowned for its unique mineral deposits and stunning rock formations, the southwestern part of our state attracts rockhounds from far and wide. With its picturesque Ouachita Mountains, sprawling forests, and crystal-clear streams, this region provides the perfect backdrop for exciting rockhounding adventures.

Location Minerals & Rocks
Along the east side of the Saline River Fossils
Along the southwest shoreline of Little River Amber, Glauconite
Abandoned antimony mine at Gillham Antimony, Quartz, Stibnite
Gilham area mines Bindheimite, Bismuth, Cadmium, Calcite, Cervanite, Chalcopyrite, Galena, Gold, Jamesonite, Pyrite, Quartz, Silver, Sphalerite, Stibnite
Railroad cuts southward to the Hemptead County border Fossils
Highland Stone Quarry Fossils, Gypsum (Alabaster, Satin spar, Selenite), Halite, Marcasite

Rockhounding sites in Eastern Arkansas

Offering a distinct geological landscape that sets it apart from other regions, Eastern Arkansas presents a unique opportunity for rockhounds. It’s endowed with flat plains, fertile delta regions, and winding rivers that create an environment rich in sedimentary rocks and unique minerals.

Location Minerals & Rocks
Crowley’s Ridge State Park Agate, Chalcedony, Fossils, Jasper, Petrified Wood
Along the west bank of Copperas Creek Jarosite, Selenite, Siderite
Wynne area gravel pits Agate
Gravel pit 1 mile south on SR-1 at Colt Agate, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Fossils, Petrified Wood
Small tributary of St. Francis River at Forrest City Agate, Chalcedony

Rockhounding sites in Western Arkansas

Beckoning rockhounds with its diverse and fascinating geological wonders, Western Arkansas is characterized by its rugged Ouachita Mountains, pristine rivers, and unique rock formations. Its varied terrain and mineral-rich deposits provide an abundance of opportunities to discover remarkable rocks and minerals.

Location Minerals & Rocks
Copper prospect at Hatton Chrysocolla, Copper, Dickite, Malachite
Blue Ball area Peridot
Quarry near the Johnson County border Fossils, Limonite
Burr Prospect Chert, Galena, Smithsonite, Sphalerite
Around Cato Springs Septarian

Rockhounding sites in Central Arkansas

Central Arkansas is blessed with stunning landscapes, including the Ouachita Mountains, rolling hills, and winding rivers, making it an ideal destination for rockhounding enthusiasts. This area has ample opportunities to explore scenic trails, riverbanks, and quarries while searching for fascinating specimens.

Location Minerals & Rocks
Jeffrey Quarry Ankerite, Apatite, Chlorite, Galena, Limonite, Pyrite, Quartz, Rutile, Sphalerite
Rabbit Foot Mine Millerite, Nickel
Hot Springs Mountain Novaculite
End of Jeep trail at Avant Variscite, Wavellite
Chamberlain Creek Barite Mine Barite, Leucite, Pectolite, Pyrite, Quartz
Diamond Joe Selenite Quarry Aegirine, Apophyllite, Biotite, Calcite, Cancrite, Fluorite, Hornblende, Kemzeyite, Magnetite, Melteignite, Pyrite, Pseudowavellite, Sodalite, Sphene

Where To Find Diamond In Arkansas

Close up look at a yellow Diamond on black background
Yellow Diamond photo provided by @finemineralphotography

Diamonds are extraordinary gemstones that captivate us with their unparalleled brilliance and enduring beauty. Composed of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice structure, these gemstones are renowned for their exceptional hardness, making them the hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth.

Diamonds hold great significance beyond their aesthetic appeal. They are symbols of love, commitment, and timeless beauty, often used in engagement rings and other cherished jewelry pieces. Beyond their ornamental value, Diamonds also have industrial applications due to their exceptional hardness. They are used in various industries, including cutting tools, drill bits, and abrasives.

Over the years, numerous significant Diamonds have been discovered in Arkansas, including the famous “Uncle Sam” diamond, weighing an impressive 40.23 carats.

Crater of Diamond State Park is our favorite place to look for Diamond

A man and 2 young boys searching for Diamonds at the search area of Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds State Park stands as the only publicly accessible diamond-bearing site in the world. The park’s 37.5-acre plowed field, known as the “Diamond search area,” is where you can explore and try your luck in discovering Diamonds of your own. They provide equipment rental options and offers guidance on the best techniques for Diamond hunting. Truly, it’s a place where dreams can become reality!

The park’s location is geologically significant, as it sits atop the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic crater. Over millions of years, volcanic activity brought Diamonds to the surface, and erosion and weathering dispersed them across the park.

Public Rockhounding Options For Kids

A young boy happily shows his find at Wegner Crystal Mines

Steep terrains, difficult access, or extensive hiking trails might make some of our recommended rockhounding sites less suitable for kids who are just beginning to explore the wonders of rockhounding. But the good news is, there are also family-friendly rockhounding spots in Arkansas that provide a fantastic opportunity to ignite kids’ interest in this fascinating hobby.

Below are some of them:

Arkansas Rockhounding Clubs

Deep pink Calcite with green Malachite crystals
Calcite and Malachite photo provided by Mineral Masterpiece

Rockhounding clubs are valuable resources and vibrant communities for both newbies and experienced collectors, offering a wealth of benefits and opportunities for enthusiasts in Arkansas and beyond.

Joining a rockhounding club provides an avenue for you to connect with like-minded individuals who share a passion for rocks and minerals. They often organize field trips, providing access to locations that may not be readily accessible to the general public. They also offer educational programs, workshops, and guest speakers, further enriching the knowledge and skills of their members.

Rockhounding clubs in Arkansas worth checking out

Arkansas Rockhounding Laws And Regulations

Generally speaking, rockhounding is legal in Arkansas, but it’s necessary for you to adhere to all local and state laws and regulations regarding collection. As with any recreational pursuit, it’s essential to respect the natural environment and the specific rules set in place to protect it.

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism is responsible for managing and regulating rockhounding activities within our state. They provide guidelines and information to ensure that rockhounding enthusiasts engage in responsible collecting practices here.

The Best Rock And Mineral Shops In Arkansas

Front store window of Gem Adventures Fine Jewelers & Rock Shop

Whether due to limited time, accessibility challenges, or personal preferences, some individuals may prefer to expand their collection by purchasing rocks, minerals, and gems from specialized shops, rather than visiting and exploring our recommended sites.

Fortunately, Arkansas is home to a vibrant rockhounding community and boasts of a variety of excellent shops that cater to rock and mineral enthusiasts, such as the following:

Additional Rockhounding Places In Nearby States

If you want to extend your rockhounding adventure to nearby states, check out the following guides that we prepared for you:

If you have any recommendations that we haven’t covered yet, please leave them in the comments below!

About Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He has worked as a professional Geologist for over 20 years and holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters Degree in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelors Degree in Geology from the University of Connecticut.

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