An astonishing 80 percent of Utah is allotted for public use, much of which offers outdoor opportunities like gem mining. The state contains crystals and minerals not found in any other place. Many sites designated for the public permit individual collectors to mine for and remove small amounts of gemstones.
Sites Near Milford, Utah
One of Utah’s biggest exposed plutonic bodies, or masses of igneous rock, is located at Utah’s Mineral Mountains in Beaver County. Sites like Rock Corral Recreation Area contain pockets of clear and smoky quartz crystals, obsidian, garnets, blue beryl and more. This public site is off of Highway 21 in Milford, Utah, and is owned by the Bureau of Land Management.
Sites Near Lynndyl, Utah
Located in Juab County at the southern tip of the Thomas Mountain Range, Topaz Mountain draws rock collectors in search of Utah’s state gem, the topaz. Though the semiprecious gemstone is found in a variety of colors, most topaz found at this site are amber colored or clear. Clear topaz is relatively easy to find in washes around the area. Searching out vegetation in the rocks may lead to soft spots containing pockets of the more sought-after amber colored version. Topaz Mountain is a great spot for beginners and experts alike. For true rock hounds, some spots off the beaten path may be accessed by ATVs and often contain more gemstones than those collecting sites near the road. The mountain is located near Lynndyl, Utah, off Brush Wellman Road.
Sites Near Marysvale, Utah
The result of gas pockets trapped in a cooling lava flow, crystals found in Utah’s Marysvale region range from the black, metallic bixbyite to purple amethysts up to one inch long. A more scarce find, the mineral rutile contains needle-like crystals, while bixbyite is found in isometric, cube-like forms. Breaking or prying open the crevasses of rhyolite, a white to dark gray rock found in the area, reveals the crystals. The site is located on US Route 89 North.
Utah Mining Tips
Depending on your digging location, the gems you're looking for and other mining variables, the tools you need can vary from picks to shovels, chisels and sledge hammers. Safety glasses are always highly recommended to prevent flying dirt and debris from injuring your eyes or face. In addition to mining tools, you should take abundant drinking water and a hat or other head covering due to extreme heat and sun exposure.
- Utah Outdoor Activities: Smokey Quartz and Fledspar Crystals at Rock Corral Canyon in the Mineral Mountains, Beaver County
- Utah Outdoor Activities: Rock Corral Recreation Area - Mineral Mountains Utah
- Utah Outdoor Activities: Topaz Mountain, Juab County
- Utah Outdoor Activities: Bixbyite, Rutile, and Amethyst Crystals near Marysvale, Piute County
- Utah Outdoor Activities: Welcome To Utah Outdoor Activities
Based in Nashville, Mitch Morgan has been a writer since 2005. His articles have appeared in daily and weekly newspapers, "Nightclub & Bar Magazine" and various websites. Morgan earned a B.A. in print journalism at the University of Mississippi. As the former editor of a weekly arts-and-entertainment guide, he maintains a passion for film and music.