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10 Common Rocks & Minerals You Can Find in Minnesota

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Minnesota, a state that’s famous for its natural beauty and wilderness, has some of the most desirable rocks and minerals in the United States. From Yooperlites to binghamite, this article will cover all the collectible rocks and minerals that are located in the North Star State.

Rockhounds uncover all sorts of rocks and minerals in the North Star State, such as:

  • Lake Superior Agate,
  • jasper,
  • Yooperlite,
  • binghamite
  • geode,
  • thomsonite,
  • garnet,
  • staurolite,
  • pyrite,
  • and quartz.

Just as the north star provides direction for travelers, this rockhounding guide and its locations will provide useful information and direction for rockhounds. Continue on to learn all about the collectible rocks and minerals of the North Star State.

Common Rocks and Minerals in Minnesota
Common Rocks and Minerals in Minnesota

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 Minnesota

Rockhounds bring home some of the most interesting rocks from Minnesota, including:

Lake Superior Agate

Lake Superior Agate
Lake Superior Agate
LocationGPS Coordinates
Lake Superior47.219632, -91.398011
Kelsey Beach47.047899, -91.629621
Little Falls45.988460, -94.364296
Quarry Island44.867924, -93.180755
Lake Winona44.036776, -91.643154
Cloquet46.725750, -92.473284
Beaver Bay47.254203, -91.305331
Where to Find Lake Superior Agate in Minnesota

Want to collect Lake Superior Agates that are over 20 pounds in weight? If so, Minnesota is the right place to be! Minnesota’s Lake Superior Agates come in all sizes, ranging from pea-sized to over 20 pounds. With brilliant red, orange, and yellow swirls of color, these magnificent agates are more than worthy of any rockhound’s attention.

Rockhounds collect more Lake Superior Agates from Minnesota than anywhere else in the U.S. As a matter of fact, Moose Lake is known as the “Agate Capital of the World,” and it is home to the world’s largest agate, which weighs 108 pounds.

Fortunately, there are plenty of rockhounding sites in Minnesota where you can find Lake Superior Agates, such as all the Lake Superior beaches, bays, and waterways.

TIP: Lake Superior is among the most famous freshwater lakes in the United States and there are plenty of interesting rocks, and minerals that you can find here. Find out more in the article below:
Guide: The Best Rock Hunting Beaches on Lake Superior


LocationGPS Coordinates
Mary Elen Pit47.526590, -92.369814
St. Louis County47.617997, -92.356441
Biwabik47.529604, -92.329302
Winton47.931786, -91.801233
Osseo44.573602, -91.232651
Ely47.907822, -91.875605
Portsmouth Mine Pit Lake46.487788, -93.963531
Where to Find Jasper in Minnesota

Throughout the state of Minnesota, rockhounds come across all kinds of jaspers, and one of the rarer ones is Mary Ellen Jasper.

Mary Ellen Jasper is ancient, believed to be over 1.88 billion years old, and it can display pink, red, green, and white colors. Because of its eye-catching swirls and colors, this Minnesota jasper is sure to catch the eye of any rockhound who collects colorful or patterned rocks.

Another type of jasper that rockhounds collect from Minnesota is Evergreen Jasper. Although Evergreen Jasper isn’t as rare as Mary Ellen Jasper, it’s still a popular find due to its rich, dark green coloring.

To find Mary Elen Jasper, visit the Mary Elen Pit, which was formerly an iron mine. If you’re on the hunt for Evergreen Jasper, then Winton is your next stop. 


LocationGPS Coordinates
Lake Superior47.219632, -91.398011
Paradise Beach47.809498, -90.075636
Brighton Beach46.844641, -91.991684
Deluth46.793554, -92.095126
Carlton County46.619084, -92.667300
Whitefish Point46.765474, -84.965614
Grand Marais46.670875, -85.983566
Where to Find Yooperlite in Minnesota

It’s true that Michigan receives all the fame for Yooperlites, but rockhounds collect these minerals from Minnesota as well. Yooperlites are not as widespread in Minnesota as they are in Michigan, however, so you might need to narrow down your searches for these rocks in this state.

Even though Yooperlites are fluorescent sodalite rocks that aren’t very valuable, their glow-in-the-dark properties make them fun and unique additions to a rockhound’s collection.

The easiest way to find Yooperlites is to visit the shores of Lake Superior or the surrounding areas at night with a UV light. The UV light will activate the fluorescence of the rocks so that they shine through the darkness.

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.


Binghamite Found in Minnesota
LocationGPS Coordinates
Cuyuna Iron Range46.365743, -94.164750
Crow Wing County46.276077, -94.193226
Garrison46.272280, -93.866383
Brainerd46.317826, -94.209705
Merrifield46.444774, -94.176746
Crosslake46.714735, -94.033924
Where to Find Binghamite in Minnesota

Even though binghamite is a rock and not a mineral, many rockhounds consider it to be a gemstone. This gorgeous Minnesota rock is rare in the U.S., but rockhounds can find it in the North Star State. Binghamite stones are red, gold, black, or multicolored, and they are mainly composed of goethite and hematite.

There is currently only one area in Minnesota where rockhounds have found binghamite, and it’s near the Cuyuna Iron Range. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any of these rocks in the surrounding areas.

After all, binghamites are commonly found with iron, and there’s plenty of iron in the North Star State. To summarize, the Cuyuna Iron Range is the best place to find binghamite, but you can also search the surrounding areas. 


LocationGPS Coordinates
Lake Superior47.219632, -91.398011
Ely Creek47.412982, -92.473423
Cloquet46.725750, -92.473284
Moose Lake46.443746, -92.765258
Hatchery Pit46.479007, -92.715376
Sooline Pit46.453755, -92.731311
Where to Find Geode in Minnesota

Who doesn’t love to add shiny geodes to their rockhounding collection? The North Star State has plenty of geodes, mainly filled with quartz, amethyst, or calcite. Additionally, geodes are spread throughout the state, so you’ll be able to find them without having a narrow and confining search area. 

Minnesota’s gravel pits, such as the Hatchery Pit and Sooline Pit, are some of the best rockhounding sites in the state for geodes. Minnesota geodes are also found along the shores of Lake Superior and Moose Lake.

TIP: If you have ever encountered a mesmerizing geode with splendid color in a crystal shop, you may have wondered if that piece is dyed or natural. Find out the answer in the article below:
How to Tell if a Geode is Dyed: All You Need to Know

What Minerals Are Found in Minnesota

Minnesota has some awesome rocks, but don’t forget to collect some minerals during your trip, such as:


LocationGPS Coordinates
Lake Superior47.219632, -91.398011
Grand Marais46.671287, -85.983480
Cook County47.708134, -90.551954
Little Marais River47.415941, -91.096447
Thomsonite Beach47.722530, -90.450464
Beaver Bay47.254203, -91.305331
Where to Find Thomsonite in Minnesota

Want to add one of the rarest zeolites to your rockhounding collection? Swing by Minnesota for some high-quality thomsonite.

These minerals come in many beautiful, but light, colors, including light orange, yellow, white, beige, pink, gray, and brown. Keep an eye out for clusters, spherical crystals, or blocks of this mineral during your Minnesota rockhounding adventures. 

While this mineral does exist in other areas of the world, Minnesota thomsonite is gem-quality, so it is a popular find for rockhounds. Gem-quality specimens mostly occur near Lake Superior and Grand Marais, so it’s best to narrow your search to those areas if you want gem-quality specimens.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Carlton46.644546, -92.442085
Little Falls45.986790, -94.365326
Grand Rapids47.233744, -93.523582
Eveleth47.465674, -92.545748
St. Louis County47.732656, -92.471876
Where to Find Garnet in Minnesota

If you see a shiny, reddish-purple stone in Minnesota, it’s probably garnet. Rockhounds find garnets all over the state, but they are generally not used for jewelry or decoration.

Unfortunately, there are no known instances of gem-quality garnets in the Upper Midwest of the U.S., but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Usually, rockhounds will find small, dark red garnets embedded in Minnesota’s granite, gneiss, and schist rocks.

Most rockhounds search for garnets in St. Louis County, Grand Rapids, and Little Falls. Gravel pits and the areas outside of Minnesota’s mines have plenty of garnets for rockhounds to collect.

TIP: It’s challenging to differentiate between fake and real garnets without gemological equipment. Check out the complete guide in the article below:
Real vs. Fake Garnet: Focus on These 6 Differences


LocationGPS Coordinates
Little Falls45.987744, -94.364982
Royalton45.833416, -94.290026
Charles Lindbergh State Park45.958878, -94.388588
St. Louis County47.298587, -92.296094
Morrison County45.927728, -94.195233
Where to Find Staurolite in Minnesota

Staurolite, a mineral known for its unique cross-like shape, exists in multiple areas of the North Star State. This mineral is often scattered near many of Minnesota’s riverbanks or gravel pits, and it’s easily recognizable due to its shape.

Check out Little Falls, Royalton, and Charles Lindbergh State Park to bring home some Minnesota staurolite. St. Louis County and Morrison County are also great locations for this mineral.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Carlton46.644546, -92.442085
Cloquet46.725279, -92.473627
Hibbing47.418975, -92.981262
Pigeon Point48.005105, -89.492823
Arrowhead Park46.881448, -96.739132
Bronk Quarry44.033713, -91.722491
Where to Find Pyrite in Minnesota

Even though Minnesota doesn’t have a lot of gold, it does have plenty of pyrite. Pyrite, also called “Fool’s Gold,” has a metallic, golden luster that forms in cubic structures.

It’s similar to marcasite, which is another common mineral in Minnesota. The main difference between these two minerals is their crystal structure. Marcasite has an orthorhombic crystal structure, while pyrite has an isometric crystal system.

Both pyrite and marcasite are common in Minnesota, so keep an eye out for these shiny minerals during your adventures in the North Star State.

Fortunately, you won’t need to go out of your way to find pyrite in Minnesota. You can find this mineral almost anywhere in the state, but some areas where it’s particularly abundant include Hibbing, Cloquet, and Pigeon Point.

TIP: Despite Minnesota unassuming profile in the gold prospecting arena, this precious metal’s hidden veins are waiting to be unearthed here. Find out more in the article below:
Gold Prospecting in Minnesota: 7 Best Locations & Laws


LocationGPS Coordinates
Biwabik47.529604, -92.329302
Ely47.906671, -91.867279
Zumbro River44.294793, -92.169347
Gunflint Trail47.766779, -90.331794
Lake Superior47.219632, -91.398011
Where to Find Quartz in Minnesota

Rockhounds and collectors often pick up jewel-quality quartz from the North Star State. Known for its clarity and high quality, clear quartz from this state is beautiful to behold. While clear quartz crystals are the most popular in Minnesota, the ones with a milky appearance are also stunning and worth collecting.

Pick up some Minnesota quartz from Biwabik, Ely, and Gunflint Trail. Lake Superior and the Zumbro River are also two excellent sites for quartz.

FAQ About Common Rocks & Minerals in Minnesota

When you explore the North Star State, keep an eye out for these rare rocks, minerals, and gems:

What Rare Rocks Can You Find in Minnesota

From the forests and lakes of Minnesota, rockhounds collect all sorts of rare rocks, including binghamite, Yooperlite, Lake Superior Agate, and jasper.

Out of all the rare rocks that reside in Minnesota, the most famous ones are the Lake Superior Agates. These valuable agates are jaw-dropping, with vivid red, orange, and white coloring.

Even though Lake Superior Agates are rare, binghamites are even rarer, and they are highly sought by rockhounds. Composed of hematite and goethite, this rock displays gorgeous red, gold, black, and yellow hues.

As you may have guessed, the best place to find Lake Superior Agates is along Lake Superior. While it’s true that the shores of Lake Superior are some popular rockhounding hotspots, there are other areas in the state where you can collect rare rocks, such as the Cuyuna Iron Range and Cloquet.

What Rare Minerals Can You Find in Minnesota

Even though Minnesota might not have the largest collection of gems in the U.S., it does have some interesting ones, including lintonite, thomsonite, garnet, staurolite, and amethyst.

The first two minerals, lintonite and thomsonite, are popular finds in this state due to their fascinating patterns and colors. Lintonite is transparent to light green or blue in color, and it has a gorgeous shine once polished.

Thomsonite is famous for its pinkish-gray circular patterns that resemble eyes, and while they display a high shine, they can be brittle, so use caution when polishing.

Grand Marais, Cook County, and Little Falls are some of the best rockhounding places for rare minerals in Minnesota. Whether you are collecting staurolite or thomsonite, these three areas are the first places you should look.

What is the Most Famous Rock or Mineral Found in Minnesota

Due to their alluring swirls of bright red, orange, yellow, and white, the Lake Superior Agates are the most famous rocks found in Minnesota. In fact, the Lake Superior Agate is Minnesota’s state gemstone, and rockhounds flock to the shores of Lake Superior to search for these rare rocks.

These colorful rocks come in all sizes; they can be as small as a pea or larger than a bowling ball. Smaller stones are incorporated into jewelry and decorations, while larger agates are cut open to better display the unique rings and swirls of color.

If you only have time to make one stop in Minnesota, Lake Superior is an excellent choice. Scroll up to the “Lake Superior Agate” section of this guide to learn about the best rockhounding areas along Lake Superior.


Minnesota is famous in the rockhounding community for its Lake Superior Agates, but it has much more to offer rockhounds than these popular rocks.

Glowing Yooperlites, beautiful binghamites, and patterned thomsonites are all special finds that deserve a spotlight in your collection. Although the North Star State might not have as many rocks or minerals as other U.S. states, the ones it does possess are gorgeous, valuable, and unique.

So, before you discount the North Star State, do a little digging near Lake Superior or the Cuyuna Iron Range; you’ll be pleasantly surprised by all the fascinating rocks and minerals you uncover!

TIP: Minnesota is known for its agates, predominantly found in the Lake Superior region or Moose Lake. Find out more about rockhounding in Minnesota in the article below:
Best Rockhounding in Minnesota: What & Where to Find