Major Rock Hounding Areas
Although unique and interesting rocks are available throughout the state, there are several areas of Utah that attract rock hounders from around the world. For more information on these and other rock hounding locations, we recommend A Collector's Guide to Rock, Mineral, and Fossil Localities of Utah by James R. Wilson and published by the Utah Geological Survey, from which some of the information below has been taken.
Wheeler Amphitheater (Antelope Springs)
Type of rocks/minerals: Trilobites
Location: West of Delta off of Highway 6
Comments: Antelope Springs is a world-famous location for the collection of trilobite fossils. The public is not allowed to retrieve trilobites from the rock face of the quarry, but visitors can collect fossils from the piles of loose rock pulled from the quarry by commercial collectors. There is also a large area at Antelope Springs where visitors can search for fossils on the land surface.
Ibex-Fossil Mountain Area
Types of rocks/minerals: Brachiopods, trilobites, echinoderms, cephalopods
Location: Roughly 54 miles west of Delta off of Highway 6
Comments: An excellent location for several kinds of fossils. It is difficult, however, to find a complete, unbroken fossil.
Types of rocks/minerals: Sunstone (yellow labradorite), aragonite
Location: Southwest of Delta off of Highway 257
Comments: Make sure to register at the turnoff into this area.
Dugway Geode Beds
Types of rocks/minerals: Geodes
Location: Take the Pony Express Road off of Utah Highway 36 near Vernon
Comments: Most good specimens have already been collected from the surface, but some digging will reveal a plethora of good geodes. Be careful never to undermine the walls of a hole, as cave-ins represent a significant threat. Geodes may contain quartz crystals and are quite intricate and beautiful.
Topaz Mountain Area
Types of rocks/minerals: Topaz, red beryl, bixbyite, pseudobrookite, hematite, garnet, chalcedony, amethyst, flourite, calcite, cassiterite, durangite
Location: Roughly 38 miles west of Utah Highway 6
Comments: The variety of rocks available for collection at this former volcanic site make it one of Utah's most popular rock hounding destinations. There is often some skill required to find topaz crystals of good size, shape, and color. Other rocks and minerals are available in good quantities and most do not require intensive searching, although you may have to travel around the base of the mountain to discover different varieties of rock.
Types of rocks/minerals: gypsum, oolitic sand
Location: West of Salt Lake City, off of I-80
Comments: Gypsum can be found in the mud at this site, and oolitic sand dunes can be found on the west side of the island.
Types of rocks/minerals: Agate, jasper, chert, petrified wood, oysters
Location: All around the Caineville, Utah, area (between Capitol Reef National Park and Hanksville, Utah on Highway 24)
Comments: This rock hounding destination offers a wide variety of rock and mineral specimens, including oyster shells and other Mesozoic sedimentary rocks.
For more information about the surrounding area:
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