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Pennsylvania is an excellent place to rockhound for minerals, crystals, and even some beautiful rocks and fossils. It is a state where coal is present in abundance, and it was the first place where an oil well was struck. Filled with caves, a rich animal and plant history, Pennsylvania is also known as the Keystone State.
The best places to rockhound in Pennsylvania include York, Lancaster, Chester, or Lebanon counties, and its southern parts are filled with petrified wood. You can find here specimens of geodes, rutile, pyromorphite, azurite, garnet, eastonite, kyanite, amethyst, pyrite, gold, calcite, obsidian, and more.
Creek beds, mines, road cuts, Pennsylvania is a state where rockhounds can fill their dreams by finding a variety of items to collect, and many areas do no prohibit collection. Let’s see exactly where can you rockhound in Pennsylvania and what you can find!
- Where Can You Rockhound in PA? The Best Locations
- What Kind of Rocks are Found in Pennsylvania?
- What Crystals are Found in Pennsylvania?
- What Gemstones Can be Found in Pennsylvania?
- What Minerals Can Be Found In Pennsylvania?
- Where to Find Fossils in Pennsylvania?
- FAQ about Rockhounding in Pennsylvania
Where Can You Rockhound in PA? The Best Locations
Some of the best locations to rockhound in Pennsylvania include Valley Quarry Gettysburg & Fairfield, Constitution, Rossville Road Cut, Meckley’s Quarry, Prospect Park, York County, Lancaster County, McAdoo, the Historic Crystal Cave, Mahantango Formation, the Southeastern Public Land region, The Echo mine, Chester County, or Lebanon, Berks, or Luzerne Counties.
Plenty of these regions offer various things that one can collect, and some of them require you to have a permit, which can be easily obtained. With that being said, here are just a couple of the best locations and what you can find in Pennsylvania.
You can find calcite, malachite, azurite, fossils, quartz, sandstone, chamosite, limonite, pyrite, and other noteworthy minerals, crystals, and rocks near and around York County.
There is a limestone belt in the central region of York County where calcite can be found. Roadcuts, such as the Rossville Copper in Warrington Township, may contain malachite, azurite, and all sorts of other minerals and crystals, while on places such as Mud Grubb Lake, you can find quartz and even geodes.
If you want to find gold in York County, Pennsylvania, you should try panning in the stream near Dillsburg, Roseville, Wellsville, the Delta area, or Grantham. Petrified wood can be found in York Haven along the Susquehanna River, and trilobite fossils are present in Locust Lane, West Manchester Township, in the Kinzers Formation.
Lebanon County is an excellent place to find pyrite, garnets, and azurite, among others. For example, you can find andradite garnets in the Cornwall Iron Mine. Plenty of mines across Pennsylvania are no longer active, and thus collectors may explore some of them. Pyrite can also be found in the Cornwall Iron Mine, as well as azurite.
Chester County is another great place for rockhounding in Pennsylvania since here you can find pyrite, the rare pyromorphite, quartz, fossils, and plenty of other things.
Head towards the French Creek Mine in St. Peters Village to find pyrite. The Wheatley Mines in the town of Phoenixville possess pyromorphite invariants such as bright green or greyish. At the same time, quartz can be found in Brookdale Mine also in Phoenixville, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
BTW: Do you want to know more about rocks and minerals identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
What Kind of Rocks are Found in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, you can find plenty of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks, such as limestone, obsidian, flint, dolomite, shale, marble, sandstone, conglomerate, quartzite, slate, schist, claystone, beautiful geodes, and more.
However, the true beauty of Pennsylvania shines in its minerals and crystals. Let’s see where you can find some cool rocks in Pennsylvania!
As a sedimentary rock, limestone is great to search for since you can find other things inside of it, such as fossil fragments. You can find limestone in Pennsylvania in places such as Snyder County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Adams County, or Chester County, among many other places.
Obsidian is always a joy to find; however, Pennsylvania isn’t very known for its volcanic activity, and such, it is rare. You can find, on the other hand, anthropogenic obsidian in places such as the Ohio River, or near the town of Baden.
Where Can I Find Geodes in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, you can find beautiful and giant geodes in places such as Mud Grubb Lake mine, the McAdoo woodland area; various types of geodes can be found in the Historic Crystal Cave (for a fee) in Kutztown, the Manhantango Formation, or the Echo mine system, which is close to McAdoo.
TIP: Also, do you like that exciting feeling when you are about to open a geode? In geodes, you can find a large variety of different crystals. Check out the most common types of crystals you can find in geodes in the article below:
What Crystals are Found in Pennsylvania?
The state of Pennsylvania shines in its diversity of minerals and crystals. You can find quartz crystals, rutile, rare pyromorphite, azurite, kyanite, eastonite, and plenty of other rare and beautiful crystals, all coming in different shapes and sizes!
Let’s see exactly where you can find some of the essential crystals in Pennsylvania!
Quartz crystals can be found in a couple of places in Pennsylvania. You can start by going to Lancaster County and search for it between the towns of Columbia and Mountville, in The Mud Grubb Lake mine. In Chester County, you can find quartz at the Brookdale Mine in Phoenixville or at the Rossville Road Cut.
Some other great locations to find quartz crystals include the McAdoo woodland region or the Historic Crystal Cave in Kutztown; however, you must pay a fee here to collect specimens.
To find a rutile, you can search for it in the Gross Road region; however, you need permission from the owner first. Rutile crystals can also be found near the Maryland state line, near Fawn Grove on Route 851.
Near Parkesburg is also a great place, and you can also pan for it in the nearby streams.
Coming in various colors such as white, dark green, light green, brown, yellowish-green or greenish-white, orange or grey, pyromorphite also comes in different shapes, such as barrel or hexagonal.
You can find this beautiful crystal in places such as the Wheatly Mines in Phoenixville town, in Chester County, or the Brookdale Mine in Phoenixville. It is a bit of a rare crystal to find, but the effort is worth it!
When it comes to azurite, the whole eastern region of Pennsylvania seems to be abundant in it. Beautiful blue azurite can be found in Lebanon County, at the Cornwall Mines, or at the Rossville road cut, but you will need a heavy hammer to do the trick!
TIP: One of the basic ways of determining a particular rock type is by testing its hardness. For the most accurate determination of rock hardness, it is advisable to use a Mohs scale test kit. Check out the best Mohs scale test kits in the article below:
What Gemstones Can be Found in Pennsylvania?
Plenty of beautiful gemstones can be found in the state of Pennsylvania. These include marvelous specimens such as garnets, including andradite, spessartine, and almandine types, kyanite, eastonite, amethyst, or other various types of crystals.
Finding gemstones is quite easy; however, in some places, you will need to ask for permission first. Let’s talk about the most important gemstones that you can find in Pennsylvania and see precisely where you might cross paths with them!
Three types of garnets can be found in Pennsylvania, namely the andradite, spessartine, and almandine ones. Andradite garnets may be found near Gettysburg at the Teeter Quarry or at the Cornwall Iron Mine in Lebanon County. The spessartine garnets are located in the Sharpless or Boothwyn Quarry, and they come in colors of red and dark red.
The almandine garnets are abundant in places such as Deshong’s Quarry near Leiperville or Constitution. Other locations include the Merion Station or Miquon areas in Montgomery County, Boothwyn in Delaware County.
Eastonite is a very rare mineral, so much so that Pennsylvania is one of the few places in the world where you can find it. Search for eastonite near the Sherrer Quarry or at the C.K Williams Quarry on College Hill.
It will appear as pale green in color, and if you are lucky, you may also stumble across another rarity here, namely the Williamite mineral.
Beautiful purple-bluish kyanite minerals can be found in Pennsylvania. You can find it in Ridley Township, at Prospect Park, near Morton Homestead in southeastern Pennsylvania. You can also find it in quartzite matrices or in the streams near Darby Creek. Kyanite can also be found on the small stream in Gross Road, Constitution.
Where is Amethyst Found in Pennsylvania?
You can find amethyst in Pennsylvania in places such as Chester County, at Birmingham Township, Pocopson, Painter Farm, in Delaware County at Ashton, or Chester Township, in Lancaster County at Bart Township, Mt. Pleasant, or in Philadelphia County, at East Falls, and in York County.
TIP: Amethyst can be found in igneous rocks. But how do you know what type of rock is in front of you? Find out the main differences and similarities between sedimentary and igneous rocks in the article below:
What Minerals Can Be Found In Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, you can find plenty of minerals and crystals, some of which are very rare. Over 430 mineral species have been identified in Pennsylvania. Some of the minerals you can find in Pennsylvania include pyrite, calcite, gold, eastonite, kyanite, rutile, azurite, or pyromorphite, among many others.
They are scattered throughout the state; however, let’s see exactly where you can find some popular minerals in Pennsylvania.
Pyrite can be found in Lancaster County, at the Blue Ball Stone Company Quarry, the French Creek Mine in St. Peters Village near Chester County, in Lebanon County at the Cornwall Iron Mine, or in Berks and Luzerne Counties, and their surroundings.
Some other great locations to find pyrite in Pennsylvania include the Sullivan Trail Coal Company or the Bossardsville Quarry.
When it comes to calcite, you can find it in places such as York County, at its central limestone belt. Near Emigsville, at the Codorus Stone, and Supply Company Quarry, calcite has also been found. Another great location to find calcite is the York Building Products Roosevelt Avenue Plant in York County.
TIP: Calcite is a beautiful mineral but it is really soft. Tumbled calcite is even more beautiful. But can you tumble calcite? Find out useful tips about calcite tumbling in the article below:
Southeastern Pennsylvania is quite popular when it comes to gold. You pan for gold in the small stream near Gross Road, in Constitution; however, you need to ask for permission first.
Gold can also be found in York County, in the streams of Dillsburg, Rossville, Wellsville, Grantham, or in the Delta area.
You can also try your luck and ask for permission to pan for gold in Lancaster County, at Peters Creek west of Quarryville, or the streams near Peach Bottom and Muddy Run Park.
Where to Find Fossils in Pennsylvania?
When it comes to finding fossils in Pennsylvania, note that they are prevalent in Paleozoic rocks in the central regions. You can find trilobites, corals, mussels, clams, or other Devonian marine fossils in the Mahantango Formation, the Montour Fossil Pit in Danville, or in the Swatara State Park.
TIP: Rockhounding can sometimes be unsafe if you don’t know the area you are rockhounding in. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a GPS with you to help you navigate the terrain and also to help you get back home. Check out the best GPS for rockhounding in the article below:
FAQ about Rockhounding in Pennsylvania
Still did not find the answer to your answers about rockhounding in Pennsylvania? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:
Rock Hunting Clubs in Pennsylvania
There are around twenty or more rock hunting clubs in Pennsylvania that meet regularly and are specialized in specific regions and specimens. Some of the most famous rock hunting clubs in Pennsylvania include the Beaver County Rock & Mineral Society, Berks Mineralogical Society, Central Pennsylvania Rock & Mineral Club, Che-Hanna Rock & Mineral Club, Franklin County Rock & Mineral Club, or the Lancaster County Fossil & Mineral Club.
Is it legal to take rocks from a river in Pennsylvania?
There are plenty of spaces designated for public use where collectors can do what they want, and then there are places in which you need to ask permission before taking anything, even a rock, fossil, or mineral. Generally, you should always consult first, especially if you plan on collecting creek rocks, as in some areas, it is illegal.
What is Pennsylvania’s state rock?
The state of Pennsylvania currently hasn’t yet designated an official state rock for its region. Although Pennsylvania shines in its mineral and crystal diversity, when it comes to rocks, it doesn’t have any particular type that would be of great interest.
What is Pennsylvania’s state mineral?
The official state mineral of Pennsylvania hasn’t been decided yet; though numerous conventions and scientific works were put together to settle the matter, the sheer diversity of minerals found in this state make it quite difficult for one to be nominated. Eastonite, for example, is quite a rare mineral in the world, and it may be a good candidate.
What is Pennsylvania’s state fossil?
The official state fossil of Pennsylvania is the trilobite fossil Phacops Rana, since 1988. This small sea creature can be found throughout the state. They inhabited this region, with plenty of them being discovered in 570 to 365 million years old Paleozoic rocks, especially in the central areas of the state.
The state of Pennsylvania may not offer much in terms of rocks, but it shines in its diversity of crystals and minerals. It is a great region where rockhounding is permitted, or permits can be obtained to explore some incredible locations and find specimens of equal measure.
BTW: Check out this amazing metal sign (Amazon link) which is perfect for everyone who loves rockhounding in Pennsylvania!
TIP: Tumbled rocks are just nice. Tumbling takes some time, but the result is usually worth it. You will be interested to know how expensive this activity is if you are not experienced in tumbling rocks. Check out the complete breakdown of tumbling costs in the article below: