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Guide: Best Rock Hunting Sites & Beaches in Wisconsin

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Wisconsin is among the best places for rockhounding due to its immense diversity in the rocks, minerals, gemstones, and crystals you can find there. It also has plenty of rockhounding locations where any rock collector can satisfy their needs.

In Wisconsin, geodes, yooperlites, Petoskey stones, gold, silver, diamonds, agates, pearls, opals, jasper, sapphire, chlorastrolite (greenstones), corundum, etc. The best locations are in the northwestern, northeastern, southeastern, and southwestern parts.

There are many rockhounding spots in these areas where you can find different kinds of rocks for free or a small fee. Let’s check out some of Wisconsin’s best rockhounding spots and see what we can find!

Best Rock Hunting Sites in Wisconsin
Best Rock Hunting Sites in Wisconsin

If you want to check out the best book about rockhounding in Wisconsin,, you can find it here (Amazon link).

Where to Go Rock Hunting in Wisconsin? Best Sites

Some of the best rockhounding sites in Wisconsin include Ounce Creek, Big Falls Park, Iron County, Highway 182, Jackson County, Outagamie County, Saukville, Racine, Eastabrook Park, Oshkosh, Hazel Green, Platteville, Werley, Cobb & Mifflin, and Dodgeville, among many others.

Let’s look at some of these locations and see what you can find. Then, I will present some of the best rockhounding locations in northern Wisconsin and the best hunting beaches!


In Winnebago County, southeastern Wisconsin, there is a little city called Oshkosh. Here, head towards the Lutz Quarry. You can find calcite, pyrite, galena, marcasite, sphalerite (possibly even crystals), and various fossils.


Southwestern Wisconsin has plenty of areas similar to Dodgeville, such as Platteville, Werley, or Cobb & Mifflin, where you can find various minerals, crystals, and even fossils!

The area quarries and mines near Dodgeville are great for rockhounds to explore, as they can discover sphalerite, smithsonite, pyrite, marcasite, calcite, galena, or barite.

Jackson County

Jackson County is located in northwestern Wisconsin and is a great spot for gem hunters!

Here, head to the Iron Mine dumps and search in the biotite schist. You can find a variety of minerals, such as sillimanite, magnetite, actinolite, almandine, andalusite, biotite, and even kyanite!


The quarries near Racine in southeastern Wisconsin are excellent for gem hunters to satisfy their eyes! You can find a variety of gem crystals here, calcite crystals, various fossils, and even marcasite crystals.

BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):

Rockhounding in Northern Wisconsin

The northern parts of Wisconsin are the most abundant in the diversity of minerals, crystals, and fossils. This is also where most of the best rockhounding locations are located, such as Montreal Mine, Dresser Trap Rock Quarry, The Bend Deposit, Jennings Falls, or Ounce Creek.

Montreal Mine

In Iron County, northwestern Wisconsin, there is a city called Montreal, and near it lies the famous Montreal Mine, where various minerals and crystals can be found.

These specimens include quartz, rhodochrosite, siderite, goethite, calcite, selenite, Celestine, dolomite, hematite, marcasite, pyrite, braunite, barite, dickite, actinolite, talc, and many others!

Dresser Trap Rock Quarry

The Dresser Trap Rock Quarry is also situated in northwestern Wisconsin, a fantastic place for gem hunters to venture into.

Here you can find zoisite, quartz, plagioclase, copper, epidote, magnetite, cuprite, chrysotile, augite, calcite, chalcopyrite, chlorite, bornite, or actinolite, among many other minerals and crystals.

The Bend Deposit

The Bend Deposit is another excellent rockhounding location in Taylor County, northwestern Wisconsin. You can find pyrite, tetrahedrite, gold, chalcopyrite, calaverite, malachite, krennerite, bornite, and azurite minerals.

Jennings Falls

Various minerals, gemstones, and crystals can be found in northeastern Wisconsin, just southeast of Jennings Falls trailhead.

Different specimens such as triphylite, muscovite, beryl, columbite-tantalite, elbaite, albite, or microcline are easily unearthed.

Recommendation box: All tools and equipment you need for rockhounding and rock identification* (Amazon links):

1. Estwing Rock Hammer – Light, comfortable, and extremely durable hammer.
2. Estwing Geologist Pick – Classic and the most trusted paleo pick in the world.
3. Finder 12-inch Chisels – Heavy-duty chisels set with hand protection.
4. Mini Handle Shovel – This is a great tool for digging deep in the dirt.
5 Ironclad Utility Work Gloves – Breathable, but they also protect the areas requiring them most.
6. 3M Safety Glasses – Comfortable and efficient goggles for rockhounding.
7. Convoy 8+ UV Light – 365nm UV LED flashlight with a patented glass filter.
8. Wesley’s Jewelers Loupe – High magnification options (30X and 60X) with carrying case.
9. Mohs Hardness Kit – A specially designed kit for rockhounds

*All recommended products are personally tested and regularly used by experts from this website.

Best Rock Hunting Beaches in Wisconsin

Best Rock Hunting Beaches in Wisconsin
Best Rock Hunting Beaches in Wisconsin

The best rock-hunting beaches in Wisconsin are connected to Lake Michigan. Some of them are Sandy Beach, North Beach Racine, Big Bay Beach, Schoolhouse Beach, Point Beach State Forest, Two Rivers, Simons Island Beach, and Devil’s Lake State Park Beach, among others.

At these places, several interesting specimens can be found, including pearls in mussels, agates, Lake Superior agates, Jasper, fossils, and several other types of cool rocks such as Petoskey stones or yooperlites, and even quartzite of various colors or beach glass.

TIP: Check out the article below for a complete guide on rockhounding on Lake Michigan beaches:
Guide: Best Rock Hunting Beaches on Lake Michigan

What Types of Rocks Are Found in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has several interesting rocks that you can collect, such as geodes, obsidian, Petoskey stones, agates, Jasper, yooperlites, limestone, catlinite, quartzite, plagioclase, moonstones, or unakite, among many others! Generally, the best places to find them are near lakes or beaches.

GeodesEstabrook Park, Pepin County, Fayerweather Quarry
ObsidianSouthwestern Wisconsin
Petoskey StonesLake Michigan
AgatesChippewa County, La Crosse County, Devil’s Lake
YooperlitesNorthwoods, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan
Common Rocks You Can Find in Wisconsin

Geodes are easy to find in Wisconsin; the greatest places to look for them are in the state’s southeastern region. Wisconsin geodes, including various crystals and minerals, can be seen outside Estabrook Park in Milwaukee.

Search around the park’s limits. An old quarry in Pepin County, near Big Hill Road, is likewise loaded with geodes of all varieties. The Fayerweather Quarry near Prairie du Chien is another excellent area for finding Wisconsin geodes.

When locating obsidian in Wisconsin, things take an unexpected turn. This igneous rock is found as artifacts in the state’s southwestern region but is rarely encountered in its pure form.

Petoskey stones are not commonly found in Wisconsin, but if you visit Lake Michigan, your chances of finding these unusual yet beautiful stones improve significantly. These ancient fossil corals can be found along the lakeshore.

If you want to find agates in Wisconsin, the best places to look are northeastern Wisconsin and southern Wisconsin.

Some of the greatest sites to find agates in northeastern Wisconsin include Ashland County, Bayfield County, the Black River, its tributaries, and the banks of Ounce Creek. Agates are in Southwestern Wisconsin at Prairie du Chien, Cassville, and Muscoda.

Lake Superior Agates and Menomonie can be found in Chippewa County, stream gravels in Durand, northwestern Wisconsin, or in La Crosse County, Bluff of the Mississippi River, and quartz deposits in Devil’s Lake, southwestern Wisconsin.

To find the gorgeous shimmering yooperlites rocks in Wisconsin, you must first seek the Northwoods. Lake Michigan and Lake Superior are two more excellent areas that you can be sure to find.

TIP: Jaspers are beautiful minerals but can be falsified quite often. Check out the main differences between real and fake jaspers in the article below:
Real vs. Fake Jasper: Focus on These 4 Differences

What Gemstones Are Found in Wisconsin?

Apart from its variety of rocks, Wisconsin is also abundant in various gemstones. Some of the gemstones in this state include opals, pearls, amber, diamonds, rubies, sapphire, phenakite, chrysolite, cuprite, zoisite, or rhodochrosite, among others.

OpalJackson County, Marathon County, Vilas County
PearlsMississippi River, Grant River, Wisconsin River
DiamondsDiamond Bluff, Plum Creek, Saukville, Burlington, Kettle Moraine
RubiesOutagamie County
SapphireStream gravels and pits in Outagamie County
Common Gemstones You Can Find in Wisconsin

Opal is hard to find in Wisconsin, but not impossible. Colorless opals were unearthed in Florence, Wisconsin, and some were found in Dodge County at the Mayville iron ore.

Some opals are near the lake in Hixton, Jackson County, the Wausau pluton in Marathon County, or the many lakes in Vilas County.

Pearls, on the other hand, are easier to find than opals in Wisconsin. The southwestern parts of the state have some regions where you can easily find them.

Some of the best places include the mussels of the Mississippi River beds, the Wisconsin River beds in Boscobel, or the river beds of Grant River.

Diamonds are found in many places in Wisconsin, including its northwestern, southeastern, and southwestern parts. The area of moraine gravels near Diamond Bluff or the gravels in Plum Creek in northwest Wisconsin is the best Nordic region of the state to find diamonds.

In southeastern Wisconsin, you can find diamonds at Eagle and Saukville, in the area of glacial moraine gravels, or at the quarries, pits, and gravels in Burlington.

In southwestern Wisconsin, just 2.5 miles from Oregon, you can find diamonds in the gravels of Kettle Moraine. You can also try your luck in the western boundary of the state at the bluffs of the Mississippi River.

TIP: Opal and opalite are fundamentally different substances with almost identical appearances. Find out more about their differences in the article below:
Opal vs. Opalite: 6 Crucial Differences (Are They Same?)

What Minerals Are Found in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is rich in its variety of minerals and crystals. There are so many that it would be mind-numbing to list them all here, so let me present just a few of the more popular ones to you.

You can find in Wisconsin minerals such as gold, Jasper, barite, copper, azurite, bornite, chlorite, diopside, epidote, malachite, pyrite, silver, almandite, hornblende, beryl, kyanite, calcite, dolomite, galena, siderite, muscovite, biotite, chalcopyrite, malachite, or albite minerals.

GoldPlum Creek, The Bend Deposit
JasperAshland County, Bayfield County, Sawyer County
GalenaMontreal Mine, Oshkosh, Dodgeville, Hazel Green
BariteWerley, Montreal Mine, Cobb & Mifflin
PyriteOshkosh, Platteville, Hazel Green, Dodgeville
Common Minerals You Can Find in Wisconsin

Gold is not a hot topic when it comes to Wisconsin. However, there are some places where you can find it; head towards the northwestern parts of the state.

You can find placer gold in the gravels of Plum Creek and, if you are lucky, diamonds as well. If you want to find gold and a variety of crystals and minerals, go to The Bend Deposit.

Jasper is a mineral commonly found in the northwestern parts of Wisconsin. You can search for it in the stream gravels of Ashland County, Bayfield County, Owen, Iron County, Sawyer County, or the Black River and its tributaries and Chippewa River.

Galena is the official state mineral of Wisconsin, and if you want to find this beautiful mineral, go to the Montreal Mine.

Here, on dumps, you will find more than Galena, though. Some other great places to find Galena in Wisconsin include the Lutz Quarry in Oshkosh, Hazel Green, Platteville, Werley, Monroe, and Dodgeville area mine dumps and quarries.

TIP: If you want to know more about gold prospecting in Wisconsin, check out the complete guide in the article below:
Gold Prospecting in Wisconsin: 6 Best Locations & Laws

What Crystal Can You Find in Wisconsin?

The most popular crystals you can find in Wisconsin are quartz crystals, calcite crystals, Zinnwaldite, triphylite, elbaite, sphalerite, cuprite, kyanite crystals, millerite crystals, tetrahedrite, thomsonite, or selenite crystals, among many others.

Quartz CrystalsCassville, Abelman’s Gorge, Chippewa County
SphaleriteOshkosh City, Dodgeville, Werley, Hazel Green
CupriteCobb & Mifflin, Dresser Trap Rock Quarry
Kyanite CrystalsOutcrops between Sandy Beach and Mud Lake, Highway 182
Millerite CrystalsOutside areas near Estabrook Park
Common Crystals You Can Find in Wisconsin

Quartz crystals are found throughout Wisconsin. Some excellent high-quality quartz crystals can be found in the regional pits and stream gravels of Chippewa County.

Just north of Townsend, you can also find them in the quartz outcrops, road cuts, and area stream gravels of Cassville or Abelman’s Gorge area.

Where Can You Find Beach Glass in Wisconsin?

You can find beach glass of various qualities, shapes, and colors in Wisconsin. Some of the best places to search for it are near the city of Milwaukee, along Lake Michigan’s shore, or at Grant Park Beach, Simmons Island Beach, or Wisconsin Point, among others. 

Can you Find Shark Teeth in Wisconsin?

You can find various marine fossils, including shark teeth, in Wisconsin. Some of the best places to find them are in Brown County, Crawford County, Dodge County, Dane County, Fond du Lac County, Grant County, Iowa County, or Lafayette County. 

TIP: Beryls can be found in Wisconsin but are often confused with emeralds. Find out the most common differences between these two beautiful rocks in the article below:
Beryl vs. Emerald: 7 Key Differences (Are They The Same?)

FAQ About Rockhounding in Wisconsin

I still have not found the answer to your questions about rockhounding in Wisconsin. Find frequently asked questions in the section below:

Can You Find Gold in Wisconsin Rivers?

Wisconsin has no natural lodes, which significantly decreases the chances of finding gold in rivers. Suppose you want to find gold in Wisconsin. In that case, there are higher chances of encountering placer gold deposits in areas such as Plum Creek or The Bend Deposit.

What is Wisconsin’s State Fossil?

The official state fossil of Wisconsin is the trilobite species Calymene celebra since 1986. It inhabited the shallow seas of the Late Ordovician and Silurian Periods that covered the state around 460-400 million years ago. These trilobites are commonly found in dolomite and limestone deposits.

What is Wisconsin’s State Rock?

The official state rock of Wisconsin has been the igneous red granite rock since 1971. This igneous rock is present throughout the state and was once used as a building material. Granite is made of minerals such as feldspar, mica, quartz, and hornblende.

What is the State Gemstone of Wisconsin?

Despite various gems in the state, Wisconsin doesn’t have an officially designated state gemstone as of 2021. However, agates appear to be the unofficially designated state gemstone. Yet, it is uncertain if this decision will officially be recognized anytime soon.

What is Wisconsin’s State Mineral?

The official state mineral of Wisconsin has been Galena since 1971. Galena is also known as lead glance, the natural form of lead and a significant source of silver. Galena is present throughout the state, especially in the southwestern parts, and it is formed in hydrothermal environments.


The state of Wisconsin shines above many in its diversity of minerals, crystals, and rocks, and it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fossils and gemstones. It is truly a gem of a state, and any rockhounding enthusiast should give it a shot!

TIP: Beach rocks are even more beautiful when they are tumbled. Have you ever thought about tumbling rocks? Check out how expensive rock tumbling is in the article below:
Is Rock Tumbling Expensive? Complete Cost Breakdown