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Vermont is among the most overlooked states in the U.S. when it comes to rockhounding. However, various high-quality gemstones, crystals, and minerals are present here. Apart from this, it also has its fair share of the gold.
You can find geodes, agate, staurolite, tourmaline, gold, diamonds, garnet, quartz, aventurine, pyrite, sphene, kyanite crystals, serpentine, feldspar, and various other things. The best rockhounding locations are the road cuts, old quarries, rivers, streams, and old quarries where various specimens can be found.
There are even a couple of interesting fossils that you can find in this state, including whale fossils which is the official state fossil. Let’s see exactly where you can go rockhounding in Vermont, and what you can find!
If you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding book about rockhounding in Vermont you can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).
Best Rockhounding Sites in Vermont
The best rockhounding sites in Vermont are the Bennington, Swanton, Lamoille River, Grand Isle, Gold Brook, Eden, Ely Mine, Fairhaven, Adams Brook, Gassett’s, Ludlow, Perkinsville, Round Hill, Devil’s Den, Lake Willoughby, Jay Peak, Elizabeth Mine, Missisquoi River, White River, and Gihon River, among others.
Let’s take a look at some of these popular Vermont rockhounding areas and see what you can find!
Bennington & Swanton
In Bennington, explorers can find some beautiful minerals, gemstones, and rock specimens. The road cut east of town reveals blue quartz and cabochon material specimens, garnet, feldspar, biotite, and even hornblende.
In Swanton, at the old quarries and dumps south of Missisquoi River, you can find Swanton red marble and beautiful Dunham dolomite specimens.
The Ely Mine is among the best rockhounding locations in Vermont. Here, near Vershire, you can find various specimens such as chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite, pyrite, sphalerite, tourmaline, actinolite, calcite, garnet, hornblende, and malachite.
The Gassett’s is also a highly desirable rockhounding spot in Vermont. Here, you need to head towards the outcrops near Williams River. You can find quartz, garnet, tourmaline, pyrite, staurolite, kyanite crystals, actinolite, diopside, calcite, and even sphene gemstones!
Another noteworthy Vermont rockhounding location is Perkinsville. Just east of Springfield Dam, explorers can find biotite, smoky quartz crystals, calcite, actinolite, pyrite, pyrrhotite, and ilmenite specimens.
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)
What Rocks Can You Find in Vermont?
Vermont has beautiful geology, with three officially designated state rocks, namely granite, marble, and slate. In Vermont, you can find geodes, flint, agate, chert, jasper, marble, dolomite, asbestos, serpentine, staurolite, granite, slate, limestone, garnet schist, quartzite, gneiss, kaolinite, shale, among others.
There are no exact locations where you can find geodes in Vermont since they are rare, but they are without question present within the state. Some of the best places to search for them here are the old quarries, road cuts, outcrops of limestone, or caves.
The same stands true for finding flint in Vermont. Your best chances are in the woods or near the river beds. Niquette Bay might also be a good location to find both flint and chert specimens in Vermont.
To find marble in Vermont, head towards Swanton. There, you can find the beautiful Swanton red marble in the old quarries and dumps south of the Missisquoi River. Marble is also present in Proctor, at the several available quarries.
TIP: Rock collecting can mean anything between picking up the odd rock on a hike and keeping a full mineral display shelf at home. Do you know how and where to start? Check out the complete guide in the article below:
How to Start Rock Collecting? Complete Guide for Beginners
What Gemstones Can You Find in Vermont?
Vermont isn’t a popular state when it comes to gemstones, however, there are several presents that you can find. Some of the most highly prized gemstones in Vermont that you can find include garnet, quartz, jasper, pyrite, tourmaline, beryl, aventurine, corundum, and even sphene, among others, however, it is very rare.
|Garnet||Eden, Ely Mine, Lake Willoughby, Gassett’s|
To find garnet gemstones in Vermont, head towards Bennington, at the road cut east of the town. You can also try your luck in Eden, at the area quarries near Belvidere Mountain, or the Ely Mine, near Vershire.
Garnets are also present in the outcrops on the eastern side of Lake Willoughby, or in Gassett’s, the outcrop near Williams River.
In this outcrop, you can also find rare but beautiful sphene gemstones. When it comes to jasper, it doesn’t appear to be native to Vermont. However, you can find it in Niquette Bay, in the area of gravels and outcrops.
TIP: There are more than twenty different species of garnets but only five species of garnets are worth cutting and polishing. Check out how to do it in the article below:
How To Cut & Polish Garnets: Follow The 6 Simple Steps
What Minerals Are in Vermont?
There are several minerals that you can find in Vermont. Some of them include diamonds, gold, feldspar, hornblende, chalcopyrite, dolomite, actinolite, talc, magnetite, fuchsite, marcasite, serpentine, calcite, diopside, pyrrhotite, malachite, chlorite, muscovite, beryl, ilmenite, bornite, or biotite, among many others.
|Gold||Little River, Gold Brook, Lamoille River, White River, Missisquoi River|
When it comes to finding diamonds in Vermont, there are almost no reports to be found. Many believe that diamonds indeed exist somewhere in the state, however, your best bet would be to join a rockhounding club to find them.
Vermont was once very popular for its gold deposits. There are various places where you can still find it even today though. Placer gold can be found at Little River, Gold Brook. You can also find it in Lamoille River, in placers near Johnson.
At the Gihon River, gold is present in placers near Eden. When it comes to the White River, you can find it in placers near Braintree. The Missisquoi River is also filled with gold in placers near Orleans County. Another good place to find gold in Vermont is the Mad River, in placers near Williams River.
TIP: The mineral’s hardness is one of the most helpful characteristics in mineral identification. Check out the step-by-step guide on how to test your minerals in the article below:
DIY Guide: Testing Mineral’s Hardness (Explained by Expert)
Finding Crystals in Vermont
Though Vermont is filled with various minerals, it also does have its fair share of crystals as well. Some of the most popular crystals that you can find in Vermont include biotite, dolomite crystals, calcite crystals, vesuvianite, epidote, sphalerite, idocrase crystals, quartz crystals, kyanite crystals, or sphene, among others.
|Quartz Crystals||Grand Isle, Devil’s Den|
|Idocrase Crystals||Lake Willoughby|
To find beautiful quartz crystals in Vermont you need to head toward Grand Isle. Here, go to the west end of Sand Bar Bridge, and search the gravels and outcrops.
You can also go to Devil’s Den, where you can find high-quality smoky or clear quartz crystals. Search for them in the general area of Devil’s Den in schist and outcrops.
TIP: The best tools for polishing crystals and adding a soft glimmer are the rotary dremels. Check out the best dremels for polishing in the article below:
3 Best Dremels for Polishing Rocks & Crystals + Accessories
Where to Find Fossils in Vermont?
The official state fossils of Vermont belong to ancient whales, however, other types of fossils can be found here as well.
For example, the quarry northeast of Isle La Motte hosts various gastropod and nautiloid fossils. Marine fossils are also present on the shores of Lake Champlain, or between Burlington and Rutland.
Here is the home of the world’s oldest fossilized coral reef. The lakeshore is filled with various marine fossils and some arrowheads were found there as well.
Speaking of arrowheads, you can also find them in Otter Creek in Clarendon, or Dead Creek. The terrain near the many lakes of Vermont is also a good place to start searching as well.
The state of Vermont might not seem like much at first glance for rockhounds. Yet, this state does have various rockhounding locations that are beautiful and worthwhile. Apart from this, you can find various beautiful and even rare minerals, gemstones, fossils, and crystals.
Just make to research the area beforehand and inquire about a permit first. Also, consider joining a rockhounding club in Vermont to better your chances of discovering some new locations!
TIP: There are dozens of books dedicated to nature, geology, minerals, rocks, and gemstones. But it is not so easy to find the good one. Check out the best books about rock and mineral identification in the article below:
5 Best Books for Identifying Rocks & Minerals You Must Read