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Arkansas Rockhounding Location Guide & Map

Arkansas Rockhounding Location Guide & Map

Arkansas offers a wide variety of rocks, gems, and minerals for hopeful collectors, making it one of the most popular states in the U.S. for rockhounding. The northern and western parts of the state are particularly productive for rockhounding because they are primarily composed of crystalline rocks, as opposed to the predominantly sedimentary rocks of the southern coastal plains.

The mountains of western Arkansas are world-famous for their prolific and spectacular quartz crystals. These crystals are often very large, and come in beautiful clusters that are extremely popular with collectors. Some of the larger specimens have even earned the nickname ‘Arkansas candles’ because they are unusually long. And of course, Crater of Diamonds State Park is a must-visit destination for any aspiring rockhound.

The best places to collect rocks in Arkansas include the areas around Murfreesboro, Mount Ida, Magnet Cove, and Hot Springs as well as Marion and Saline Counties. These locations offer a diverse array of rock and mineral specimens such as world-class quartz crystals, sphalerite, and even diamonds.

State Symbols
State MineralQuartz
State RockBauxite
State GemstoneDiamond
State FossilArkansaurus
Arkansas: Source

Arkansas Quartz Cluster

Through quite a bit of research and cross-referencing, I have compiled this list of some prospective locations in Arkansas which I would recommend to people looking to do some rockhounding. These are mostly comprised of old mines, mineral prospects, and historically known rock and mineral collecting sites. For additional reading, I’d highly recommend the book Southeast Treasure Hunter’s Gem & Mineral Guide: Where & How to Dig, Pan and Mine Your Own Gems & Minerals which you can find on Amazon.

Please remember that rock collecting locations are constantly changing. Specimens may become depleted from other collectors, the location may have been built on or altered, locality information in literature may be inaccurate, and property ownership may have changed hands. Though there are many locations listed here, this list is far from exhaustive. A location’s listing here is not a guarantee of accuracy. Be safe, never go underground, and make sure to get permission from the landowner to search for and collect specimens.

If you’re planning on heading to the field, make sure you have all the gear you’ll need! To get started, you can check out my recommended gear page. That page contains my full reviews for every Geologist’s favorite rock hammer and the best hiking backpack I’ve ever owned.

Arkansas Rockhounding Locations

NOTE: All the locations listed in these tables are clickable, and will take you to the location on Google Maps.

Magnet Cove, AR

Just to the east of Hot Springs, the area around Magnet Cove has long been a hotspot for rockhounds. This area probably has the highest density of locations and variety of minerals in the entire state. You can easily make many trips here and not exhaust the locations to search. There are many granite outcrops in the area where you can hope to find a wide variety of rocks and minerals here including actinolite, labradorite, albite, barite, garnets, smoky quartz, and even opal.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Just N of curve of Hwy 51Sphene, Nepheline syenite
N roadbank just W of Cove Creek bridgeApatite, Monticellite, Magnetite, Perovskite, Kimseyite, Biotite
Boulder near the SW corner of Cove Creek bridgeEudialyte nepheline syenite
S bank of Hwy 51 near Magnet Grove Baptist ChurchMelanite garnet, Nepheline, Biotite
In Cove Creek, .2 mi. E of iron bridgePyrite cubes
On small hill S of cemeterySmoky Quartz, Brookite

Mount Ida, AR

This part of Arkansas is world-famous for its prolific quartz crystal production. The crystals can be very large and often form in beautiful, large clusters. In this area, you can find the famous Wegner Quartz Mine (which I’ll mention again later in this article) just to the south of Mount Ida. This is, without a doubt, one of the best places you can rockhound in Arkansas (and the entire country). I discuss the Wegner Mine in more detail in my article about the best places to find crystals in the U.S.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Wegner Quartz Crystal MinesQuartz crystals
Fisher Mt. (Ocus Stanley Mine), owned by Avant MiningRock crystal, Smoky Quartz crystals
Area of Mt. IdaQuartz crystals
Quarry to E of Hwy 270Wavellite

Murfreesboro, AR

Murfreesboro area rockhounding is highlighted by the aptly-named Crater of Diamonds State Park (which I’ll mention again later in this article). This is the only place in the country where you can find and keep your own diamonds! Even aside from this world-famous attraction, you can find many other rocks and minerals around Murfreesboro including quartz crystal, garnets, and cinnabar.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Crater of Diamonds State ParkDiamonds, Amethyst, Garnet, Jasper, Agate, Quartz crystals
Prairie Creek area SSE of MurfreesboroAmethyst, Diopside, Epidote, Garnet, Hematite, Peridote, Pyrite, Quartz crystals
S end of Lake GleasonAntimony, Cinnabar
End of cove between public use areasCinnabar

Marion County

A less well known destination for rockhounds, the Marion County area is a a fun place for adventurers to spend some time looking for rocks and minerals to add to their collection. You can find popular, common specimens like quartz and agate, as well as less common minerals like sphalerite and greenockite. The coolest mineral to seek out in this area is ‘turkey fat’ Smithsonite – a yellow, botryoidal variety native to this part of the state.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Mine at Silver Hollow BluffZinc
Abandoned mines at base of a hillSmithsonite, Calcite, Quartz, Dolomite, Greenockite, Sphalerite
Yellville area mines, esp Morning Star mineGalena, Pyrite, ‘Turkey Fat’ Smithsonite, Sphalerite
In Clabber Creek and on nearby Mt.Agate

Hot Springs, AR

The area around Hot Springs, encompassing most of Garland County, is a hotbed for rock and mineral collectors. You can hope to find a nice assortment of minerals in the area, including quartz crystals, wavellite, pyrite, fluorite, and even uranium ore. You can also swing by Coleman’s Rock Shop to sift through some of diggings from their mine (for a fee).

LocationRocks & Minerals
Hill to E of roadWavellite, Variscite
Coleman’s Crystal MineQuartz crystals
S slope of West Mt.Pyrite
Area, rock ridges outside boundaries of Hot Springs Nat’l ParkRock crystals, Quartz crystals
Area, road between Mt. Tabor and AvantWavellite spherules, yellow-green
Area pegmatites 2.5 mi. W of Price, N of Lake CatherineUranium ore, Columbium ore
Area to the S of Lake CatherineFluorite

Saline County

From a geological perspective, Saline County is probably best known for its bauxite production. It even has a town named Bauxite, where you can find many mines in the area. In the northern part of the county to the W and SW of Paron, you can also find specimens of quartz, calcite, chert, and other minerals. These are spread over a fairly wide area in outcrops and ridge crests.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Quarries near Bauxite, ARGemmy Bauxite, Heliotrope Bauxite
N of Blocher, in patches of quartzSerpentine
Outcrops in a broad area SW of ParonQuartz crystals (smoky, milky), Calcite, Chert, Chlorite, Feldspar

Fee-to-Dig Sites

Arkansas is home to many fee-to-dig rockhounding sites, mostly because of the fantastic quartz specimens found in several parts of the state. Here is a brief list of some of the more popular fee-to-dig sites in Arkansas and where you can find more information about them.

Site NameTownBest Contact
Crater of Diamonds State ParkMurfreesboroWebsite
Wegner Quartz Crystal MinesMount IdaWebsite
Dixie Crystal Mining CompanyMount Ida1-870-867-4945
Sweet Surrender CrystalsWashitaWebsite
Jim Coleman CrystalsJessievilleWebsite
Ron Coleman MiningJessivilleWebsite

Tip: Check out my Complete Rock Tumbling Guide to make your rocks and gemstones really shine!

Arkansas Rockhounding Laws & Regulations

One of the most common questions rockhounds have is whether or not they are allowed to collect at a certain location. It is the responsibility of each rockhound to obtain permission from a landowner to search and/or collect on a piece of property.

The ownership and status of land can and does change frequently, making it impossible to document accurate information on this page. However, I have compiled a list of resources here so that you may investigate and obtain permission for any locations (found here or elsewhere) for yourself.

Public Land Resources

I have written entire articles which cover the rockhounding laws and regulations for nearly every type of public land you can think of. I encourage you to check them out if you are curious about the legalities of rock and mineral collecting.

To determine what type of public land a particular location is on, I would recommend starting with this map from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources which keeps accurate maps of every kind of public land in the state.

Private Land Resources

As with most states, each county in Arkansas will have records of who owns each piece of property. Unfortunately for rockhounds, the law prohibits them from publishing their names or contact information online. You can get the landowner’s name and address by visiting the county records office. This site contains links to each County Assessor’s office where you can look up any information you need.