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Texas is among the top locations you can go rockhounding in the United States. The state is rich both in its abundance and variety of rocks, gemstones, crystals, minerals, and even fossils, and there are also meteorite remains here.
The best rockhounding locations include the western, eastern, and central parts of Texas, while the northern areas are less dense. You can find gold, diamonds, jade, amethyst, opals, pearls, turquoise, blue topaz, geodes, agates, obsidian, rose quartz, rubies, tourmaline, and even megalodon teeth.
However, we will showcase the best places to rockhound in all these parts of Texas and delve deeper into what you can find! Let’s begin our journey.
If you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding book about rockhounding in Texas you can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).
Best Rockhounding Sites in West Texas
Some of the best rockhounding sites in West Texas include the west side of the Glass Mountains area, Alpine City area, Agua Fria Ranch, Solitario mines, Seven Hearts gap, Plata Verde Mine, Terlingua Mining District, Bonanza Mine, Sierra Blanc, Lobo Valley, Chinati area mines and dumps, Balmorhea Lake, and many others.
Let’s take two zones and see what you can find there!
Terlingua Mining District
The Terlingua Mining District is an excellent location in West Texas, where you can find plenty of specimens.
In the beds and riverbanks of Terlingua Creek, you can find amber, jasper, agates, and chalcedony. When it comes to the Terlingua mines, calcite, fluorite, calomel, terlinguaite, aragonite crystals, and pompom agates are present.
Plata Verde Mine
The Plata Verde Mine in West Texas is another great location where gem collectors can satisfy their needs. Here you can find quartz crystals, anglesite, barite, chrysocolla, azurite, malachite, bromargyrite, microcline, and plenty of other crystals and minerals.
Best Rockhounding Sites in East Texas
East Texas is similarly rich in various gems, rocks, minerals, and crystals as its western counterpart.
The best rockhounding sites in East Texas include Grimes County, Trinity County, Gibbons Creek, Crockett, Groveton, McGee Bend dam, New Caney, Douglass, Livingstone Lake, and many more! Let’s see exactly what you can find in two of the most popular areas.
The county of Grimes is excellent for rock collectors to rejoice in finding various gems, crystals, and minerals, in East Texas. Bedias City is particularly rich in fire pearls, black diamonds, or meteorite remnants, known as tektites. Petrified palm wood can also be found in this area.
The county of Trinity is another good location in East Texas where rockhounds can find various collectible specimens such as jasper, agatized wood, chalcedony, agates, petrified wood, and other gems, minerals, and 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):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
Best Rockhounding Sites in Central Texas
When it comes to Central Texas, some of the best rockhounding sites are Llano County, Mason County, Smithville, Caldwell, Somerville, Gatesville, Rabb’s Creek, Lampasas, Little Lucy Creek, Llano River, Streeter area, or Hinton Creek, among others.
Llano and Mason counties are the most popular, so let’s see what you can find there!
Llano County is an exciting place in Central Texas, where you can find Llanite. This variant of rhyolite has some beautiful blue quartz crystals attached to it, being hexagonal in form. It can be found on Highway 16, at the roadcuts around Baby Head Cemetery.
The pegmatite-exposed areas around Llano also contain topaz and zircon. Another great place to visit in this country is the Llano River. You can find crinoid stem sections in the river banks, particularly where grayish-black limestone resides.
Mason County is the place to go if you want to find the famous blue topaz gemstone. In the ranches west of Mason, you can discover amazonite, quartz crystals, feldspar crystals, topaz, and tourmaline; however, you have to pay a small fee.
The towns of Grit and Mason are near three famous ranches, known as Lindsay Ranch, Bar M Ranch, and Seaquist Ranch. It is the only place where you can find blue topaz in Texas.
TIP: Every rockhound needs a good backpack. Backpacks belong to one of the most important pieces of equipment for all rockhounding trips. But it is not always to choose the right one. Check out the ultimate buying guide about the best backpacks for rockhounding in the article below:
4 Best Backpacks for Rockhounding: Honest Review & Tips
What Gemstones Are Found in Texas?
Texas is abundant in gemstones. You can find gemstones such as amethyst, pearls, opals, turquoise, almandine garnets, Celestine, labradorite, or blue topaz, among many others.
In the table below, we have highlighted where you can find some of the most popular gemstones in Texas, and further down, we will discuss these gemstones.
|Amethyst||Amethyst Hill, Althaus Ranch, Black Canyon|
|Pearls||Colorado River, Brazos River, Concho River|
|Opals||Llano County, Alpine, Brewster County, Catahoula Formation|
|Turquoise||Sierra Blanc, Van Horn, Culberson County|
Amethyst can be found throughout the state of Texas. Stillwell Ranch in the Big Bend area is a popular area where high-quality amethyst is found.
Amethyst Hill, as its name implies, is another excellent place where you can find this gemstone. For those more daring, the Althaus Ranch is also abundant in beautiful amethyst specimens.
When it comes to pearls, there are three main areas in Texas where you can find them, namely, the Colorado River, the Brazos River, all their tributaries, and the Concho River.
Look out for the mussel known as Tampico Pearlymussel – Cyrtonaias tampicoensis, as it produces some of the most beautiful and highly prized pearls.
Opals are another popular gemstone easily found in Texas. Coming in colors of white, and blue, and with flashes of green, blue, fiery orange, or red, most specimens are usually small.
You can find opals in the Alpine City area, Brewster County, about 16 miles south. Llano county is another great place to find opals, as well as the Catahoula formations.
Turquoise is another popular gemstone in Texas that you can find. Some big specimens can be found in the Sierra Blanc region, Van Horn, or Culberson County.
Texas turquoise is highly qualitative and used in many pieces of jewelry, and it is often found in the western parts of the state rather than anywhere else.
What Kind of Rocks Are Found in Texas?
There are plenty of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks to be found in Texas. Some of the most popular rocks in this state include geodes, obsidian, flint, agate, microcline, soapstone, moonstones, limestone, and chert, among others.
In the table below, we have highlighted some of the most popular specimens and where to find them.
|Geodes||Near Alpine City, Van Horn, Big Bend, Palo Duro Canyon|
|Obsidian||Rio Grande Valley, Pachuca, Hidalgo, Ojos Zarcos|
|Flint||Plum Creek, Hays County, Smith County|
|Agates||Glass Mountains, Agua Fria Ranch, Smithville, Trinity County|
Some of the most beautiful and biggest geodes are usually found in the western parts of Texas. You can find geodes near Alpine City, Van Horn, Big Bend, or Palo Duro Canyon. About 6 miles southwest of Alpine Valley, some excellent specimens were discovered.
In Travis County, you can find geodes in limestone, whereas Celestine geodes can be found in Fisher County, Nolan County, or Coke County.
It might appear odd that obsidian can be found in Texas, but it is true. It does not occur naturally in this state; however, several specimens have been found in the southern parts of the state.
You can find obsidian in Texas in the Rio Grande Valley area, at Otumba, Uvalde County, Starr County, or Santa Teresa.
When it comes to flint, the best place to search for it is in the Texas Panhandle. Near Palo Duro Canyon, at Plum Creek, just west of Lake Meredith, excellent flint or alibates flint specimens can be found easily.
Plenty of areas around Hays County are also abundant in flint, and Smith County is another great location to find this rock.
TIP: Finding geodes in Texas is difficult, especially since this state isn’t well-known for its geode deposits. However, there are some places here where rockhounds have found various geode specimens.
Guide: 10 Best Locations to Find Geodes in Texas
What Minerals Can Be Found in Texas?
Texas has a variety of minerals that rockhounds will enjoy finding. Some of the most popular minerals that you can find in Texas include gold, diamonds, jade, rose quartz, silver, onyx, pyrite, augite, epidote, fluorite, gadolinite, chalcedony, gypsum, barite, calcite, calomel, cinnabar, terlinguaite, anglesite, and malachite.
In the table below, you can see where to find some of these specimens.
|Gold||Llano River, Guadalupe Mountains, Sandy Creek, Goler Gulch|
|Diamonds||Foard County, Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas|
|Silver||Plata Verde District, Hudspeth County, Brewster County|
|Rose Quartz||Llano County, Mason County, Burnet County|
There are many places in Texas where you can find gold. You can pan for gold in the Llano River, search for it in the Guadalupe Mountains, Sandy Creek, or in the Goler Gulch area.
Join a gold prospecting club to be introduced to some awesome locations, and discover new ones while also making friends. Texas is rich in gold; however, most locations haven’t even been so thoroughly searched as one might expect.
When it comes to finding diamonds in Texas, one specimen was found in Foard County, and there may be others as well; however, the best place where you can find diamonds in Texas is undoubtedly Arkansas.
The Diamonds State Park is open to the public, and you can take what you find a home. One woman, for example, found a 3.72-carat diamond here, and others are just waiting to be discovered!
Silver is the state mineral of Texas, and naturally, you can find it in many regions across the state. The Plata Verde Mine in Hudspeth County is an excellent place to start, but you can also go to Quitman Mountains District.
In Brewster County, you can find silver in the Altuda Mountain District. Another excellent place to find silver in Texas is the Shafter District, located in Presidio County.
The beautiful rose quartz is something that any rockhound will enjoy finding, and you can find this beautiful type of quartz in Texas.
Some popular areas to find rose quartz include Llano County, Mason County, Central Texas, Burnet County, and Gillespie County. The Town Mountain in Llano County is especially abundant in rose quartz.
TIP: Although the gold rushes of the nineteenth century seem to be long gone, there are still many places where this precious metal can be found. Find out more in the article below:
Ultimate Beginner’s Guide: How To Start Gold Prospecting
What Crystals Can You Find in Texas?
The crystals that you can find in Texas are just as abundant and diverse as their mineral reserves. Some of these crystals include rubies, quartz crystals, topaz, feldspar crystals, tourmaline, beryl crystals, jasper, selenite, serpentine, citrine, galena, and aragonite crystals, among many others.
In the table below, you can see where you can find some of the most popular crystals in Texas!
|Tourmaline||Streeter Area, Mason County, western Ranches|
|Quartz Crystals||Glass Mountains, Alpine area, Plata Verde Mine|
|Topaz||Llano County, Mason County, Streeter area|
|Jasper||Terlingua Creek, Glass Mountains, Eagle Pass, Rio Grande River|
Beautiful black tourmaline crystals can be found in Central Texas in the area of pegmatites in Mason County. Search for these unique crystals just west of Mason county; in the ranches, however, you will have to pay a fee for collecting. Another great location to find tourmaline crystals in Texas is the Streeter area.
Various types of quartz crystals can be found in western, eastern, and central Texas. Some of the best places where you can find high-quality quartz crystals include the Glass Mountains, the Alpine area, or Plata Verde Mine. Opal quartz specimens can be found in the dikes between Babyhead and Miller Mt.
When it comes to topaz, some astonishing colorful variants can be found in Texas, with the most qualitative, located in areas that require you to pay a small fee.
Topaz can be found in Texas in places such as Mason County, Llano County, Central Texas, or the Streeter area. The Lindsay Ranch, Bar M Ranch, and Seaquist Ranch are some of the best places to find excellent topaz crystals. This is where you can find the famous blue topaz crystal as well.
Jasper is another beautiful crystal that you can find in many places across Texas. Some of the best locations to find it include the Terlingua Creek in Western Texas, the Glass Mountains, Eagle Pass, or the Rio Grande River.
Around Hidalgo County, especially in Sullivan City, jasper can also be found, as well as in Webb County, in Laredo.
TIP: Opals are beautiful gemstones but you need to be careful when buying them on the internet. There are a lot of fake opals so it is always good to know the differences between real and fake opals. Find out more in the article below:
Real vs. Fake Opal: Focus on These 6 Differences
What Fossils Can You Find in Texas?
Apart from various crystals and minerals, there are many unique fossils that you can find in Texas. You can find megalodon teeth, dinosaur bones, crinoids, echinoids, brachiopods, bryozoans, pelecypods, corals, trilobites, shark teeth, and various plants.
The Mineral Wells Fossil Park is among the best places to find fossils in Texas, as it allows visitors to collect specimens. Here there are various fossils that you can collect, including corals, clams, oysters, sea lilies, bryozoans, arthropods, and brachiopods.
Finding Megalodon Shark Teeth and Amber in Texas
If you want to find shark teeth, especially the ones of the ancient megalodon shark, you can search for them in Post Oak Creek, in Sherman. Galveston Island, Bolivar Peninsula, Waco Lake, and Midlothian Quarry are also some great locations to find shark teeth in Texas and even ancient megalodon teeth.
When it comes to finding dinosaur bones in Texas, Post Oak Creek in Sherman is again a great place to look for them.
Some other good locations include Lake Whitney, Ladonia Fossil Park, Mineral Wells Fossil Park, and Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose. The shallow pits, creek bands, and riverbeds are all excellent places to witness dinosaur remains, even footprints.
If you feel a little more adventurous, and you may want to find something trapped in amber or amber for the sake of it, you can find amber in plenty of places in Texas.
Some of the best locations include the upper Aguja Formation in Terlingua, and overall the Big Bend area is filled with great places to find amber in Texas.
Where to Find Petrified Palm Wood in Texas?
East and South Texas are the best regions where you can find petrified palm wood. In East Texas, you find petrified palm wood in the area of creek beds and banks just east of New Caney, between Camden and Chester, or north of Lake Livingston.
In South Texas, petrified palm wood is found at the Erdman Farm and Tessman Farm; however, you need to pay a fee. Just west of Freer in South Texas, you can also find petrified palm wood.
Can you find Sea Glass in Texas?
If you want to find sea glass in Texas, most gulf coast beaches are filled with it.
For example, you can find sea glass at Galveston’s Bolivar Peninsula, South Padre Island, West Beach, Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, or Crystal Beach. Galveston is nonetheless the best place in Texas where you can find sea glass.
TIP: Did you know you can make your own sea glass at home? Yes, and it is quite simple! Check out this step-by-step guide on how to do it in the article below:
Step-by-Step: Making Sea Glass With & Without Rock Tumbler
Where Can You Find Artifacts in Texas?
Many native American tribes once inhabited Texas, and you can find such relics but always be sure to get permission first and adhere to the laws for the areas you are going to first.
Arrowheads, for example, can be found in the Woodville area, Galveston, Corpus Christi, Rio Grande River, or the Texas Hill Country.
Basically, you have high chances of finding arrowheads just about anywhere in Texas, predominantly near lakes, ponds, rivers, and shallows creeks, where the natives would often hunt.
Can you Find Meteorite Remains in Texas?
Meteorite remains are known as tektites and can be found in Texas. You can search for them in East Texas, in Bedias, the Broad area, or in the creek beds in Gibbons Creek.
Tektites can also be found in South Texas, in the farm fields, and draws near Nails Creek Park. While searching for tektites, you can also find fire pearls, black diamonds, or bediasites, which are valuable.
TIP: Some minerals and rocks and even meteorites have pretty unique magnetic properties. Check out the list of common magnetic rocks and minerals in the article below:
List of Common Magnetic Rocks & Minerals (with Explanation)
FAQ About Rockhounding in Texas
Still did not find the answer to your answers about rockhounding in Texas? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:
Is It Illegal to Pick Up Rocks on the Side of the Road in Texas?
It is legal to take little rocks on the side of the road in Texas; however, you mustn’t take big rocks that ensure erosion and water control as they are illegal to remove.
It would be best if you asked for permission to do so on private properties, and overall, always check up with the law if you can collect specimens in certain areas.
Is It Legal to Pan for Gold in Texas?
Some areas in Texas are illegal to pan for gold, and others aren’t restricted. Collecting gold on federal land can be done with permits, and when it comes to state and private lands, you also need to ask for permission or receive a permit from the Gold Prospectors Association of America. In some areas, you can pay a fee to pan for gold.
What is the State Stone of Texas?
The Oligocene petrified palmwood, or simply petrified palm wood, has been the official state rock of Texas since 1969. It is actually a fossil of the palm genus known as palmoxylon.
Some of the best-petrified palm wood specimens are found in Texas, predominantly in the eastern parts of the state, near the Texas Gulf Coast.
What is the State Mineral of Texas?
The state of Texas designated the precious mineral silver as its official state mineral in 2007. Silver is found throughout the state even more than gold, especially in regions such as Plata Verde District, Hudspeth County, and Brewster County, among many others. Some locations allow collectors to search for precious metals.
What is the State Gemstone of Texas?
The blue topaz has been the official state gemstone of Texas since 1969. It forms out of igneous rocks, and even colorless variants are present within the state.
There are only a couple of places where blue topaz can be found in Texas; to name a few, you can find it in Mason County, Llano County, and the Texas Hill Country. The Lone Star Cut has been the official gemstone cut of Texas since 1997.
What is the State Fossil of Texas?
The official state dinosaur of Texas is the giant Paluxysaurus jonesi, 2009. It lived 112 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, primarily in the northern regions of Texas, was about sixty feet in length, twelve feet high, and had a twenty-six-foot long neck, weighing around twenty tons.
It was named after the town of Paluxy, Hood County, and Paluxy River, which are near Jones Ranch, where the animal’s remains were first discovered.
The good old state of Texas is among the most fantastic places for rockhounds to go in the U.S. Plenty of rich areas allow collectors to satisfy their needs for cheap fees, whereas many more are even free to explore.
With its various types of minerals, rocks, crystals, fossils, even meteorite remains, relics, and sea glass, Texas is a paradise for any gem hunter that wants to find something special, and truly unique.
BTW: Check out this amazing metal sign (Amazon link) which is perfect for everyone who loves rockhounding in Texas!
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