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14 Common Rocks & Minerals You Can Find in Idaho

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Did you know that nearly every type of gemstone has been found in Idaho? This U.S. state possesses the nickname “the Gem State” because of its many rocks, minerals, and gemstones, which we will go over in this guide.

As you adventure in the Gem State, keep an eye out for these common rocks and minerals:

  • agate,
  • geode,
  • pumice,
  • obsidian,
  • granite,
  • agatized wood,
  • chert,
  • garnet,
  • opal,
  • feldspar,
  • quartz,
  • aquamarine,
  • gold,
  • and topaz.

Although it’s fairly easy to identify various rocks and minerals in Idaho, finding them is a whole other story. Keep this guide of Idaho’s common rocks and minerals on hand so you know where to search for each treasure.

Common Rocks and Minerals in Idaho
Common Rocks and Minerals in Idaho

If you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding tools you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).

What Rocks Are Found in Idaho

Even though Idaho is called “the Gem State,” there are also plenty of rocks for rockhounds to collect, including:


LocationGPS Coordinates
Salmon River45.378843, -115.511251
Lewiston46.419539, -116.991086
Graveyard Point43.571081, -117.023082
Lime Creek43.532607, -115.872588
Little Wood River42.945328, -114.750749
Willow Creek43.551596, -111.990376
Homedale43.619278, -116.925485
Clearwater River46.494346, -116.458778
Where to Find Agate in Idaho

Banded agates, plume agates, moss agates, blue agates, and more all exist in Idaho, which makes this a great state for agate lovers.

Agate from the Gem State comes in a wide range of colors, including red, green, pink, orange, gold, black, yellow, white, and blue. Whatever color and pattern of agate you are searching for, Idaho is highly likely to have it.

The rivers, creeks, and waterways of Idaho are some of the most popular places to search for agate. Search near Salmon River, Little Wood River, and Clearwater River to find these colorful rocks.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Pole Creek43.922881, -114.723441
Highway 93 (Nevada Border)42.041538, -114.636309
Antelope Creek43.704152, -113.560719
Big Lost River43.796475, -112.850265
Weiser44.246084, -116.982836
Blaine County43.914772, -114.722728
Succor Creek43.615038, -116.958811
Twin Falls County42.530486, -114.543603
Where to Find Geode in Idaho

Idaho is an excellent place to find geodes of all types, including thundereggs. The most common mineral that’s found within Idaho geodes is all types of quartz, but thundereggs filled with agate are much more common than you would think in this state.

Since Idaho has a wide variety of agates, you never know what to expect when you open a thunderegg from the Gem State. 

Pole Creek, Antelope Creek, and Blaine County are the first locations you should search for geodes or thundereggs. Twin Falls County and the Big Lost River are two other excellent sites for geodes or thundereggs in this state.

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.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Bonneville County43.449431, -111.971569
Malad42.193561, -112.261196
Ammon43.464795, -111.959815
Blaine County43.508061, -114.433396
Hess Pumice Mine (outskirts)42.480582, -112.251082
Bannock County42.430935, -112.068434
Twin Falls County42.373321, -114.409566
Where to Find Pumice in Idaho

Did you know that Idaho’s pure white pumice is in demand all over the world? In the southeast region of the state, rockhounds can find pure white pumice that’s of the highest quality. Idaho’s pumice is known for its beautiful color, purity, and high-quality.

If you want to add pumice to your rockhounding collection, you don’t need to travel very far in Idaho. Most rockhounds search near the outskirts of pumice mines or visit the counties known for their pumice, such as Bonneville County and Bannock County.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Jordan Creek42.928853, -116.864950
Heise Hot Springs43.642841, -111.684959
Kelly Canyon43.628738, -111.660665
American Falls42.791919, -112.859088
Big Southern Butte43.395607, -113.022680
Bear Gulch43.575284, -111.441041
Black Canyon43.587661, -111.464935
Fish Creek43.677835, -111.560396
Where to Find Obsidian in Idaho

While you might not find giant slabs of obsidian in Idaho, smaller pieces are plentiful in this state, especially near the southern region.

Idaho has four volcanic fields, so it’s no surprise that rockhounds find volcanic rocks in the area. There are multiple types of obsidian that exist in Idaho, such as rainbow, black, mahogany, midnight lace, silver sheen, and more.

Big Southern Butte is famous for its various types of gem-quality obsidian, and other popular places for this rock include Kelly Canyon, American Falls, and Jordan Creek.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Hulls Gulch43.642385, -116.183743
City of Rocks (surrounding areas)43.138190, -114.776894
Green Creek43.563418, -115.330247
Idaho Falls43.491180, -111.986331
Ada County43.340628, -116.164659
Owyhee County43.355608, -116.968034
Murray47.626715, -115.859357
Where to Find Granite in Idaho

Granite is the most common rock found in Idaho, and the largest granite rocks reside in the Idaho Batholith.

You can find white, gray, or green granite in various areas throughout the state, and many of the rocks are ancient. As a matter of fact, the oldest pieces of granite in Idaho exceed 2.5 billion years of age!

Because granite is so common in Idaho, it’s easy to find all over the state. The areas near the City of Rocks, Hulls Gulch, and Idaho Falls are great places to look for high-quality pieces of granite.

TIP: Granite is an interesting intrusive igneous rock that is found around the world. Check out the best spots in the United States in the article below:
Where to Find Granite: Best Environments & Locations (USA)

Agatized Wood

Petrified Wood
Agatized Wood
LocationGPS Coordinates
Challis44.493460, -114.222283
Owyhee County43.355608, -116.968034
Wood River Valley43.333266, -114.315580
Custer County44.367696, -114.667188
Blaine County43.914772, -114.722728
Twin Buttes43.495555, -112.697873
Graveyard Point43.571081, -117.022438
Saddle Mountain43.937155, -112.954725
Where to Find Agatized Wood in Idaho

Although petrified wood is common in Idaho, there is also plenty of agatized wood for collectors in the Gem State.

Agatized wood is a special type of petrified wood that is composed of agate and is known for its swirl of colors. Rockhounds also come across opalized wood in Idaho, but it’s much rarer than agatized wood.

To find petrified wood, agatized wood, or opalized wood in Idaho, search near Saddle Mountain, Graveyard Point, or Blaine County.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Lewiston46.414331, -116.983533
Clearwater River46.491198, -116.447708
Owyhee County43.355608, -116.968034
Snake River45.139493, -116.728591
St Charles42.114753, -111.394155
Nez Perce County46.378908, -116.787521
Opalene Gulch43.417870, -116.775561
Where to Find Chert in Idaho

Gray, tan, red, green, black, and brown chert all exist in Idaho, and it’s usually found in nodules. Chert is one of the most common sedimentary rocks in this state, so rockhounds have no trouble finding it, especially in the areas near Lewiston.

There are many places in Idaho where you can find chert, but Lewiston is by far the most popular site for rockhounds. You can also drop by Owyhee County, Nez Perce County, or the Clearwater River.

What Minerals Are Found in Idaho

It’s no surprise that the “Gem State” has a wealth of valuable minerals, including:


Start Garnet - The official state gemstone
Star Garnet
LocationGPS Coordinates
Idaho Panhandle National Forest47.925353, -116.223769
Emerald Creek Garnet Area46.999704, -116.367281
Salmon River45.373672, -115.513253
Deadwood Gulch47.537439, -116.150957
Pole Creek43.921912, -114.724357
Boulder Creek43.810297, -114.514787
Pack River48.284193, -116.379417
Canyon Creek47.618546, -116.261538
Where to Find Garnet in Idaho

Almost every rockhound who visits Idaho raves about the garnets, especially the star garnets that exist in this state. Interestingly, there are only two places in the world where you can find star garnets: India and Idaho.

Star garnets reflect a star with four or six points, making them a unique and valuable stone. There are also plenty of other gem-quality garnets, such as almandine garnets, that rockhounds can find in the Gem State.

Rockhounds who want to collect star garnets stop by the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, Emerald Creek Garnet Area, or Salmon River.

TIP: Garnet truly has a hidden world of beauty waiting to be unveiled. Get ready to discover its most prized colors, the fascinating price ranges, and what makes certain garnets so exceptionally valuable.
5 Crucial Factors of Garnet Value: What’s the Garnet Worth?


LocationGPS Coordinates
Spencer44.362770, -112.190022
Spencer Opal Mines44.361770, -112.187178
Lewiston46.420722, -116.987309
Snake River45.139493, -116.728591
Little Squaw Creek43.368102, -116.916745
Camas Creek43.326320, -114.401672
Yellow Pine44.963636, -115.500140
Where to Find Opal in Idaho

Even though Idaho isn’t one of the largest U.S. states, it produces a surprising number of opals. Spencer, a small town located in Clark County, is considered the capital of opals in North America.

There are all kinds of opals that rockhounds can pick up in Idaho, including black opals, Mexican fire opals, precious fire opals, and more.

Spencer and Spencer Opal Mines are two of the most famous places to find opals, but you can also look near Lewiston, Snake River, and Little Squaw Creek.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Priest Lake48.570600, -116.832841
Shafer Creek43.825936, -116.173577
Lemhi County44.828007, -113.613836
Crystal Butte44.291673, -111.700473
Pack River48.284336, -116.380233
Snake River44.397120, -117.236917
Kelly Creek46.716799, -115.052770
Where to Find Feldspar in Idaho

Since feldspar is one of the most abundant minerals on earth, it makes sense that rockhounds often come across it in Idaho. Clear and yellow feldspar are the most common, and Idaho is not known to contain any moonstone or labradorite, two valuable variations of this mineral.

Priest Lake and Shafer Creek are some of the best rockhounding locations for feldspar in Idaho. You can also stop by Crystal Butte, Pack River, and Kelly Creek for this mineral.

TIP: Both quartz and feldspar are classified as silicates since their chemical composition includes silicon. Check out differences between quartz and feldspar in the article below:
Feldspar vs. Quartz: What’s the Difference? 5 Crucial Signs


Smoky Quartz
Smoky Quartz
LocationGPS Coordinates
Dismal Swamp43.729071, -115.365730
Priest Lake48.570685, -116.832497
Pole Creek43.922035, -114.723670
Succor Creek43.615190, -116.958757
Graveyard Point43.571112, -117.022652
Owyhee County43.599832, -116.994000
Featherville43.609678, -115.258310
Custer County44.386676, -114.696041
Where to Find Quartz in Idaho

No matter where you go in Idaho, you are bound to find some quartz. Clear quartz is plentiful in the Gem State, and some rockhounds also find smoky quartz near Dismal Swamp and other areas. Amethyst is also common in this state, so be sure to keep an eye out for it during your journeys.

For smokey quartz, check out Dismal Swamp and Featherville. For clear quartz, look near Priest Lake, Pole Creek, and Succor Creek.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Sawtooth Mountain Range (surrounding areas)43.952928, -114.995278
Ardeth Lake43.964866, -115.017715
Clearwater County46.636049, -116.050161
Custer County44.218284, -113.969570
Glens Peak43.949777, -115.011500
Lemhi County45.004998, -113.965398
Camp Lake43.937437, -115.002848
Where to Find Aquamarine in Idaho

Aquamarine, a gem known for its striking blue color, is commonly found in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountain Range.

Typically, aquamarine is light blue in color, but many of the specimens found in the Gem State display a darker blue hue. As a matter of fact, the dark blue color is so unusual that rockhounds sometimes have trouble identifying aquamarine from this state.

Unfortunately, it’s illegal to collect gemstones from the Sawtooth Mountain Range, but the surrounding areas are excellent sites for aquamarine.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Clearwater River46.636049, -116.050161
Salmon River45.373672, -115.513253
Red River45.749652, -115.273045
Boise Basin43.905628, -115.934205
French Creek45.422867, -116.027180
Silver City43.016229, -116.733095
Elk City45.826612, -115.436537
Snake River45.139493, -116.728591
Where to Find Gold in Idaho

If you want to find gold in Idaho, you are in luck! Gold has been found in almost every part of Idaho, and you do not need a license to pan in this state.

While U.S. states such as California and Alaska receive more recognition for their gold, the United States Bureau of Mines claims that Idaho has more gold than any other U.S. state.

Gold flakes are by far the most common find in Idaho, but some lucky rockhounds have found gold nuggets that weigh several pounds, so nuggets are not out of the question.

All the main rivers in Idaho contain gold, including the Clearwater River, Salmon River, and Red River. There are also a couple of towns in the Gem State known for their gold, such as Silver City and Elk City.

TIP: If you’ve ever dreamt of striking it rich with gold, look no further than the picturesque landscapes of Idaho! Find out more in the article below:
Gold Prospecting in Idaho: 7 Best Locations & Law


LocationGPS Coordinates
Little Spangle Lake43.943362, -115.032251
Upper Cramer Lake44.028738, -114.989379
Glens Peak43.949777, -115.011500
Elmore County43.375444, -115.400081
Sawtooth Mountain Range (surrounding areas)43.952928, -114.995278
Camas Creek43.326133, -114.402101
Donnelly44.729163, -116.073441
Where to Find Topaz in Idaho

Idaho is one of the best places to find topaz, and the crystals found in the rivers are generally colorless, blue, or light yellow. Occasionally, rockhounds have been able to find champagne-colored topaz in certain areas of the state, and this color is popular among collectors.

In the Gem State, topaz comes in all sizes, from small stones to large crystals, so you never know for certain what you will find. 

Little Spangle Lake, Camas Creek, and Glens Peak are excellent sites for gem-quality topaz. You can also check out the areas near the Sawtooth Mountain Range, which is known for its variety of high-quality gems.

FAQ About Common Rocks & Minerals in Idaho

Idaho is called the “Gem State” for a reason, and there are many rare rocks and minerals for rockhounds to find, such as:

What Rare Rocks Can You Find in Idaho

With geodes, agates, jaspers, petrified wood, opalized wood, and obsidian, it’s easy to see why Idaho is a popular state among rockhounds. In addition to petrified wood, rockhounds can also bring home opalized or agatized wood, rarities that any rockhound would be proud to have.

Additionally, geode-lovers will be happy to know that there are all kinds of geodes in this state, including thundereggs. 

Any rockhound who’s searching for rare rocks should search near the various rivers and gulches in the state, such as the Salmon River or Bear Gulch. Scroll up to see the locations for each type of rock so you know exactly where to look for these stones!

BTW: If you are looking for the best UV light for rockhounding, find out my picks below (Amazon links):

What Rare Minerals Can You Find in Idaho

If you’re a rockhound who’s looking for rare minerals, Idaho is one of the best places to be! Since Idaho has star garnets, opals, topaz, aquamarine, gold, sapphire, amethyst, jade, tourmaline, silver, rubies, and diamonds, most rockhounds hit the jackpot in this state and find all sorts of valuable minerals.

Additionally, there are rare varieties of minerals that exist in the Gem State, including star garnets, blue garnets, fire opals, black opals, and more.

Along with all these gemstones, Idaho has plenty of precious metals, such as gold. Although it’s not as famous as California or Alaska, Idaho has more than enough gold to satisfy any rockhound.

Gold flakes are easy to pull from Idaho’s streams and rivers, and even though nuggets are rare, they have been found in specific areas.

Just like any other state, the precious gems and minerals you discover will depend on where you go. Some popular rockhounding sites for many precious rocks and minerals are Glens Peak, the Clearwater River, and areas near the Sawtooth Mountain Range.

What is the Most Famous Rock or Mineral Found in Idaho

Star garnets are an extremely rare type of garnet that’s only found in Idaho and India, and they are valued for their unique star-shaped reflection that displays four or six points. Idaho’s star garnets are a deep, purplish-red color, known for their beauty and durability.

This rare stone was nominated as Idaho’s state gemstone in 1967, and star garnets are considered to be even more valuable than star rubies and star sapphires in the U.S. 

Without a doubt, the most popular place to find star garnets in Idaho is Emerald Creek Garnet Area, but the Salmon River and Idaho Panhandle National Forest are also great locations.


In the vast wilderness of Idaho, there are numerous rocks, minerals, and gemstones that are waiting for the right rockhound to notice them.

A visit to the “Gem State” will not disappoint, and rockhounds can find star garnets, agatized wood, gold, aquamarine, obsidian, opal, and much more in this state.

Although you might not know for sure what you’ll find, one fact you can be certain of is that you’ll never return home empty-handed from a trip to Idaho!

TIP: Idaho is an excellent place to rockhound as it is also known under the name of “The State Gem.” Check out the complete rockhounding guide in the article below:
Best Rockhounding Sites in Idaho & What You Can Find