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Rockhounding in Kansas: Best Locations & What to Find

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Kansas may not seem like a good spot for rockhounding at first; however, the state indeed holds plenty of interesting specimens. This region was covered in limestone, and on surfaces, you can also find sandstone and shale.

Kansas holds plenty of minerals, gemstones, crystals, and fossils, especially in the Smokey Hills, or Red Hills regions, southeastern or eastern Kansas, Cherokee, Lawrence, or Black Rock counties. You can discover geodes, jelinite, galena, agates, calcite, jasper, limestone, sandstone, or shale surfaces!

As you can see, with a bit of dedication, or by asking even local rockhounding associations, you can find plenty of things in Kansas. Let’s see exactly where you can rockhound in Kansas and what you can find!

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Where Can I Rockhound in Kansas? Best Locations

Rockhounding in Kansas: Best Locations & What to Find
Rockhounding in Kansas: Best Locations & What to Find

The best locations where you can rockhound in Kansas include the Flint Hills in Eastern Kansas, Red Hills in Clark, Comanche, and Barber counties in southern and central Kansas, Smoky Hills in north-central Kansas, Cherokee Couty in southeast Kansas, Lawrence, Black Rock county, Aetna, or Ashland.

Some other great locations are Blue Rapids, Buffalo, Concordia, Elkader, Florence, Hill City, Junction City, Kannapolis, Lincolnville, McLouth, Morrill, Osborne, Ransom, Roxbury, Wallace city. Let’s see what you can find in some of the best locations in Kansas!

Flint Hills

In eastern Kansas, if you go to Flint Hills, you can find chert in limestones. When it comes to simple limestone, the Fort Riley Limestone Member is the most prominent, where you can also find various fossils such as brachiopods, bryozoans, pelecypods, or fusulinids, among others.

You can also find in Flint Hills, Kansas, various geodes, which consist of quartz, chalcedony or calcite. They are located in this region, near Rock town, or along the Walnut River, in Cowley, Riley, or Marshall counties.

In Flint Hills, you have the chance of finding one of the rarest igneous rocks, kimberlites. They occur at the surface in Marshall and Riley counties, and in some of them, even garnet has been witnessed.

Red Hills

The Red Hills region in Kansas is another awesome location for rockhounding. Here, you can find gypsum, all three varieties! Namely, the selenite, flat, transparent or diamond-shaped crystals variant, the satin spar, and the rock gypsum.

You can also find anhydrite and dolomite in the Red Hills area.The selenite gypsum variant is abundant in Red Hills, while the satin spar comes in colors of white or pink and can be found in thin layers in certain shales or beds of rock gypsum, while rock gypsum, the third variant itself, is very common here as well.

Anhydrite is found in dolomite, gypsum, or red slit. Dolomite can be found in the Day Creek Dolomite area in Clark County.

Smoky Hills

In north-central Kansas, you can find sandstone, concretions, shale, limestone, chalk, and fossils in the Smoky Hills region. Septarian concretions can be located in this area as well, especially in Hobby Lake. The limestone in Smoky Hills formed in the Cretaceous Period.

Cherokee County

Cherokee County is another great place for rockhounding in Kansas. You can find chalcopyrite, galena, fossils, limestone, chert, calcite, and the county is also filled with coal.

TIP: What do you do with the rocks you found? Do you just clean them and display? Or do you tumble them? Check out the ultimate guide about rock tumbling in the article below:


GUIDE: What is Rock Tumbler & How Do Rock Tumblers Work?


What Rocks Can be Found in Kansas?

Kansas has a wide variety of rocks, from sedimentary to igneous and metamorphic types. You can find limestone, geodes (quartz, chalcedony or calcite variants), shale, sandstone, agates, chert, and even kimberlites, if you are lucky, among many others. Let’s see exactly where you can find some of the coolest rocks in Kansas!

Limestone

Limestone is the official state rock of Kansas since 2018, and the state is filled with it, especially in the northern-east central parts. You can find limestone in places such as Flint Hills, Smoky Hills, or Cherokee County.

The Cottonwood River valley in Chase County, the Neosho River valley in Morris County, or Kansas and Big Blue river valleys of Riley County are also excellent places to find limestone.

Geodes

If you want to find geodes in Kansas, take note that most are formed out of quartz, chalcedony or calcite variants. All three types of geodes can be found in the Flint Hills region in eastern Kansas.

You can find them in the town of Rock, the Walnut River in Cowley County, in the northern parts of Douglass in Butler County, in Riley County, Marshall County, or Chase County. In Junction City, near Milford Lake, large geodes are also found. In Florence, at Cottonwood Creek, you can discover calcite geodes.

Shale

Shale can be found in Kansas in Red Hills and Smoky Hills regions. Search for it in the Dakota Formation and the eastern parts of Smoky Hills, or the Blaine Formation. In these shales, you can find other interesting specimens, such as satin spar.

Kimberlites

Rough Kimberlite Found in Kansas
Rough Kimberlite Found in Kansas

Quite a rare igneous rock can be found in Kansas, namely, kimberlites. You can find kimberlites in Flint Hills, as they appear at the surface, in regions across Marshall County or Riley County. Some of them may host even garnets inside.

Agates

There are plenty of places available to hunt for agates in Kansas. In Aetna, Kansas, you can find agates in the washes and area draws. Moss agates have been spotted in Ashland in the steep hills near Bluff Creek or Casino Mountain. You can find blue rapids agates in the gravel beds of the Big Blue River. 

Head to Buffalo along the Verdigris River or in north Concordia at the Old River Bed to find clear and beautiful agates. In Elkader, you can find moss agates in the up and downstream of the Smoky River. You can also see Lake Superior agates in McLouth or northeast of Ransom near the Smoky Hill River.

What Gems Can Be Found in Kansas?

In Kansas, you can find some beautiful gemstones, such as the moss opal, garnets, or even jelinite, which is the state’s official gemstone. This rare gemstone seems to appear only in Ellsworth County, and its exact age is unknown. Moss opals can be found in Wallace County, in Ashland near Bluff Creek, or the Casino Mountain area. 

Opals are also found along US-28 to Hoxie, in the Hill City area road cuts. Other types of gemstones exist in Kansas; however, these are the most important ones.

Red or brown garnets can be found in Kansas in places such as the Stockdale region, in Riley County, often inside the rare kimberlite rocks and streams.

Where to Find Crystals in Kansas?

When it comes to finding crystals in Kansas, there are a couple worth mentioning. You can find calcite crystals in various shapes, cubic crystal formations of galena, sphalerite, light-grey crystalline masses, or individual crystals of anhydrite ( found in dolomites), or diamond-shaped crystals of selenite.

You can find selenite crystals in the Red Hills region, anhydrite near Sun City, calcite crystals in Franklin County, in Fogle quarry, in Baxter Springs at the Ajax Mine, or the various mines that grant access in the Cherokee, Black Rock, or Lawrence counties. These specimens take multiple shapes, and they fit beautifully in any collection!

TIP: When you want to buy selenite crystal you can quite often find a fake one. Internet is full of fake selenites. But how to identify the real selenites? Find out more in the article below:


Real vs. Fake Selenite: Focus on These 5 Differences


Where to Find Minerals in Kansas?

Various minerals can be found in Kansas, such as calcite, chalcopyrite, galena, jasper, or celestite, and you can find them in places such as Cherokee, Lawrence, Black Rock, Barber, counties, or the Pony Creek, the Tri-state Lead-Zinc Mining district, the mid-continent Mines, Baxter Springs, Flint Hills, or the Red Hills areas.

Let’s see some of the minerals located in Kansas and see precisely where you can find them individually!

Calcite

Calcite forms through calcium carbonate, and it can take the form of crystals as well, varying in shapes such as tubular, prism, and others. You can find calcite in Kansas in places such as the mines of Black Rock County, Lawrence County, Cherokee County, the Ajax Mine located in Baxter Springs, or in Franklin County at the Fogle quarry.

Chalcopyrite

The best place to find chalcopyrite in Kansas is Cherokee County, as it is the most abundant there, and several regions contain it. It has a golden yellow color and can be found in either sedimentary specimens or sulfide ore deposits.

Galena

To find galena minerals in Kansas, you have to head towards the Tri-state Lead-Zinc Mining District, or you can search for it in the Cherokee County, the Baxter Springs, or mid-continent mines. It can be found as black cubic crystal formations as well.

Galena has also been designated as the official state mineral of Kansas in 2018.

Jasper

Along the Medicine Lodge River towards Kiowa, in Aetna, Kansas, you can find jasper. Some other locations include the steep hills near Bluff Creek or near Mt. Casino in Ashland, the Big Blue River in Blue Rapids, along the Verdigris River in Buffalo, or in the north of Concordia, the region known as Old River Bed, and the gravels of the Republican River.

Celestite

Celestite is a beautiful bluish mineral that can be found in Kansas. You can find celestite northwest 2 miles from Morrill City in Brown County, at the banks of Pony Creek in the veins in Permian shales.

Gold

Gold isn’t exactly the strong point of Kansas; however, you can find it, especially in the northeastern parts of the state, the regions where glaciers once stood. The Arkansas River, which covers some portions of Kansas, and the Walnut River in the eastern Flint Hills possess gold.

In Geary County, the Smoky Hill River, and in Dickinson County, near Abilene, gold can be found as well. You may also find gold in the Big Blue River or the northern parts of the Kansas River in Manhattan City, Riley County.

TIP: Gold is often found in or near rivers in Kansas. But you can find much more beautiful and interesting rocks near rivers. Check out the most common type of rocks you can find in rivers in the article below:


Ten Most Common Type of Rocks You Can Find In Rivers


Can you Find Fossils in Kansas?

Plenty of fossils can be found throughout the state of Kansas, and collecting them is even allowed in specific locations. In the eastern part of Kansas, you can discover sedimentary shales and limestone rocks that contain fossils from the Palaeozoic era.

The western half has sedimentary rocks rich in invertebrate and vertebrate fossils dating to the Cenozoic and the Cretaceous periods.

Where can you Find Shark Teeth in Kansas?

In the western portions of Kansas, North and south of Great Bend, you can find shark teeth and other vertebrates and invertebrate fossils. The Ash Valley town is a great place to go hunt for shark teeth. Head south until you find a stream.

Walk westwards until you find a little bank, and this is where you will find shark teeth. Another good location is the Cedar Bluff region.

Where can you Find Arrowheads in Kansas?

You can find arrowheads in Kansas; however, you can only admire their beauty as it is illegal to take them. Arrowheads are found in Flint Hills in eastern Kansas. Scout around the Tallgrass Prairie National Reserve on the Gas House, Prairie Trail, or Davis Trail loop to find beautiful arrowhead specimens native to Kansas.

TIP: Taking arrowheads home in Kansas is illegal. But there are much more cool rocks you can find and take home with you. Find out more about cool rocks are where to find them in the article below:


What are Cool Rocks & Where to Find Them? Follow These Tips


FAQ about Rockhounding Kansas

Still did not find the answer to your answers about rockhounding in Kansas? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:

What is the State Rock of Kansas?

The official state rock of Kansas is limestone, as of 2018. Limestone is predominant in Kansas, especially in the northern-east central parts. You can find limestone in Flint Hills, Smoky Hills, or Cherokee County, among other places. Limestone is a sedimentary rock, and it is formed from marine sediments that were deposited on the sea floors or even freshwaters.

What is the State Mineral of Kansas?

Galena is the official state mineral of Kansas since 2018. It is a common type of lead sulfide mineral and an essential source of silver. Often, you can find it connected with other minerals such as sphalerite or calcite. You can find galena across all of Kansas, especially in Cherokee County. It can be found even in crystal variants.

What is the State Fossil of Kansas?

Kansas has two official state fossils designated since 2014. The first fossil is the giant mosasaur, Tylosaurus, which is the official marine fossil of Kansas. The second is the Pteranodon, and it is the official state flight fossil of Kansas. It is practically a winged pterosaur. Plenty of fossils from these creatures were found throughout Kansas, which led to their designation.

What is the State Gemstone of Kansas?

The official state gemstone of Kansas is jelinite since 2018. It is a very rare gemstone, and it was discovered only in Kansas. It was found only in Ellsworth County. The exact age of this gemstone is unknown, and it was first termed as kansasnite. It is a type of amber and the holy grail of Kansas when it comes to minerals.

Conclusion

The state of Kansas might not appear so attractive at first for rockhounding; however, any adventurer would soon find out that it is a beautiful state with plenty to offer.

From fascinating fossils to geodes, jaspers, agates, calcite crystals, to rare specimens such as kimberlites or jelinite, Kansas is a must for any rockhounding enthusiast to go gem hunting!

TIP: And it’s rockhounding time now! But do you know what tools you need for rockhounding? Check out the list of all needed tools and equipment for rockhounding in the article below:


The Complete Guide: All Tools You Need for Rockhounding