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Missouri Rockhounding Location Guide & Map

Missouri Rockhounding Location Guide & Map

Missouri is an often overlooked state when it comes to rockhounding, and it is home to many fantastic locations to search for rocks and minerals. The state’s geology is dominated by the Ozark Uplift which is one of the most mineral-rich areas in the entire world. Many old mines and large quarries dot the landscape and they are just the beginning of the many prospective rockhounding locations to be explored.

Amazing geodes are abundant in the northeastern part of the state and almost any river or stream bed is likely to contain worthwhile agates or petrified wood. Any rockhound exploring the state will likely want to make an effort to find some ‘Mozarkite’ which is the local name for an attractive, gem-quality variety of chert found to the west of the Ozark Uplift.

The best places to rockhound in Missouri are gravels of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, particularly in the northeast near the Keokuk Geode Beds. In northern Missouri, stream gravels are the best places to search, while in the south you can find many productive mines and quarries.

State Symbols
State MineralGalena
State RockMozarkite
State Gemstone
State FossilCrinoid
Source

Galena
Galena

This article will dive deeper into the many great rockhounding sites across the state (along with maps), but I’d like to highlight a few standouts here. The top 10 rockhounding sites for rocks and minerals in Missouri:

Missouri is home to one of the most mineral rich areas in the entire world. The Ozarks are absolutely loaded with commercial minerals and the many large mines and quarries in the area are a testament to that fact. Along the Mississippi River and its tributaries you can find many minerals including agates, chalcedony, jasper, geodes, and petrified wood. Beyond the quartz family gemstones you can also find nice specimens of minerals like galena, marcasite, dolomite, calcite, and sphalerite.

The most commonly found and collected rocks and minerals in Missouri are:

  • Agate
  • Geodes
  • Petrified wood
  • Quartz
  • Pyrite
  • Chert
  • Galena
  • Calcite
  • Jasper
  • Barite
Jasper
Jasper

Through quite a bit of research and cross-referencing of available literature, I have compiled this list of some prospective locations in Missouri which I would recommend to people looking to do some rockhounding. These are mostly comprised of old mining prospects, washes, streams, and historically known rock and mineral collecting sites. For additional reading, I’d highly recommend these books 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. Joining up with a local rockhounding club for a group trip can often get you access to otherwise off-limits locations like privately owned mines and quarries. There are many rockhounding clubs in Missouri so you can most likely find one you like nearby.

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 which contains my full reviews for every Geologist’s favorite rock hammer and the best hiking backpack I’ve ever owned.

Rockhounding Sites in Missouri

Northwestern Missouri Rockhounding Sites

Northwestern Missouri is a great place to find quartz family minerals like agates, jaspers, chert, and petrified wood, especially if you search in some of the area’s stream snd river gravels. You can also find very cool spetarian nodules containing aragonite, calcite, and celestite in the area of Sugar Creek.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Sugar Creek, SE of RushvilleSeptarian nodules, Aragonite, Calcite, Celestite, Pyrite, Sphalerite
Pleasant Hill, in soils near creekCalcite, Vivianite
Gallatin, all gravels along Grand RiverAgate, Chalcedony, Jasper, Petrified wood, Fossils
Grindstone Creek in coal seamsCalcite (white and brown crystals)
Gentry County, all area streams, gravels, etc.Agate (Lake Superior agates), Jasper, Fossils, Petrified wood
Daviess County, all area streams, gravels, etc.Agate (Lake Superior agates), Jasper, Fossils, Petrified wood
Grundy County, all area streams, gravels, etc.Agate (Lake Superior agates), Jasper, Fossils, Petrified wood
Livingston County, all area streams, gravels, etc.Agate (Lake Superior agates), Jasper, Fossils, Petrified wood
Kansas City, area quarries & rocky exposuresAragonite, Barite, Calcite, Dolomite, Marcasite, Opal (common) Sphalerite, etc.
Walnut Creek in shale concretionsSphalerite
Dog Creek in calcite veinsCalcite, Sphalerite
Sedalia, quarry W of townPyrite (large crystals)
Smithton, area W towards SedaliaBarite (blue with white bands)

Northeastern Missouri Rockhounding Sites

Northeastern Missouri is arguably the best part of the state for rockhounding, most notably for the world-famous Keokuk geodes which are prevalent near the Iowa border. The extensive and impressive road cuts in the St. Louis area are also loaded with interested rocks and minerals while being fairly easy to access. And, of course, the gravels of the Mississippi River are always a go-to spot for agate hunting.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Chariton River, 2 mi. N of Macon Co.Calcite crystals, Goethite, Quartz, Septarian Nodules
Elmer, in area streamsGold, Garnet (fine-grained)
Adrian’s Quarry off Hwy 63Calcite, Chalcopyrite, Marcasite, Millerite, Pyrite
Finger Lakes State Park (former strip mine)Aragonite, Copiapite, Gypsum, Halotrichite, Marcasite, Melanterite, Pyrite
Rucker, in a road cut just WAlunogen, Gypsum
Alexandria & Wayland, regional creek and river banksGeodes (‘St. Francisville Geodes’)
Fox City, N of bridge on NE side of riverGeodes (large quartz geodes, dog tooth calcite)
Kahoka, in outcrops along Fox RiverGeodes (abundant)
St. Francisville, in banks of Weaver’s BranchGeodes (abundant, lined with aragonite, barite, calcite, fluorite, malachite, pyrite, quartz, sphalerite, etc.)
Newark, in area quarriesCalcite, Chalcopyrite, Goethite, Malachite, Pyrite, Quartz
Fabius River, E of DurhamGeodes aragonite, barite, calcite, fluorite, malachite, pyrite, quartz, sphalerite, etc.)
La Grange, all gravels of Miss. River and tributariesAgate (gem-quality), Chalcedony, Jasper
Old Monroe, area gravels and glacial sandsAgate (Lake Superior agates), Garnet, Staurolite
Troy, area quarriesCalcite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Chalcopyrite, Malachite, Millerite, Quartz, Sphalerite
Danville QuarryCalcite, Dolomite, Millerite, Pyrite
Hannibal, quarry S of townMarcasite, Pyrite
New London, in road cut S of Salt River bridgeSilicified conodonts
Saverton, along Hwy 79Pyrite
Defiance Quarry, in limestoneCalcite (yellow, white), Goethite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Sphalerite, Fossils
Saint Charles Quarry, in limestoneCalcite (white, green), Chert nodules, Dolomite (pink), Fluorite, Fossils (plant fossils)
St. Louis, a bluff behind Taco BellCalcite crystals, Millerite, Quartz
St. Louis, in road cuts near Hwy 141 & Hwy 30Barite, Calcite, Goethite, Pyrite, Quartz
Weber QuarryGeodes (calcite, fluorite, millerite)
Chesterfield, in Missouri River gravelsGarnet, Staurolite
Coldwater Creek in FlorissantVivianite (replacing fossils)
Florissant, in quarry by riverCalcite, Celestite

Southwestern Missouri Rockhounding Sites

Southwestern Missouri is home to many old mines and large quarries which (if you can gain permission and access) provide countless opportunities to find a wide variety of interesting rocks and minerals including barite, calcite, galena, pyrite, and quartz. This part of the state is also the home of the state rock which is a gem-quality variety of chert, locally known as ‘Mozarkite’. To find this unique and desirable rock you can try searching almost anywhere along the western slopes of the Ozark Mountains.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Liberal, in coal deposits 2.5 mi. NEPickeringite, Pyrite, Siderite
Foster & Hume, area coal strip minesAlunogen, Gypsum, Melanterite
Lincoln, area quarries, gravel pits, etc.Chalcedony, Chert (‘Mozarkite’), Jasper, Galena
Warsaw, general area in low hills W of Ozark UpliftAgate, Chert (‘Mozarkite’)
Decaturville Crater, in granite pegmatiteAlbite, Galena, Glauconite, Limonite, Marcasite, Microcline, Muscovite, Opal, Plagioclase, Pyrite, Sphalerite, Tourmaline
Cole County, many regional minesBarite, Calcite, Cerussite, Chalcopyrite, Dolomite, Hematite, Galena, Malachite, Pyrite, Quartz, Sphalerite, Smithsonite
Greenfield, all area gravels, exposures, etc.Agate, Chert, Petrified wood
Springfield, old area mines E & W of townBarite, Calcite, Cerussite, Dickite, Dolomite, Galena, Limonite, Marcasite, Smithsonite, Sphalerite, etc.
Tightwad, area coal minesPyrite (clusters)
Hermitage, area road cuts, creek banks, etc.Chalcedony, Chert (gemmy)
Peterson MineSphalerite
Elk River near Bee BluffChert (gem-quality, blue)
Eldon & Etterville, area minesBarite, Calcite, Cerussite, Dolomite, Galena, Malachite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Sphalerite, Smithsonite, Chalcopyrite
Versailles, gravel pits over a wide areaBarite (crystals)
Indian Creek, in gravels 1 mi. SE of Boulder CityQuartz crystals (drusy, smoky)
Racine & Seneca, area quarriesTripoli
Wentworth, area mines and dumpsLead and Zinc minerals, Pyrite, Sphalerite
Alice Mine near ElijahDolomite, Greenockite, Pyrite, Quartz, Smithsonite, Sphalerite
Timber Knob, areaChert (gem-quality, white with yellow bands)
Mansfield, mining district to EGalena, Smithsonite, Sphalerite, Hemimorphite
Joplin, all large area mines and quarriesApatite, Aragonite, Azurite, Barite, Calcite, Cerussite, Chalcopyrite, Chrysocolla, Dolomite, Galena, Garnet, Pyrite, Sphalerite, etc.

Southeastern Missouri Rockhounding Sites

Southeastern Missouri is dotted with hundreds of old mines and quarries which have been known to produce myriad mineral varieties including pyrite, azurite, malachite, quartz, and galena. As with the rest of the state, the gravels of local streams and rivers are great places to search for quartz family minerals like agates and petrified wood. As always, before venturing out to a mine, quarry, or any collecting site make sure to get permission to collect there.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Marble Hill E to Miss. River, all area gravels, exposures, etc.Agate, Petrified wood
Cape Girardeau County, all area gravels, exposures, etc.Agate, Petrified wood
Bleeding Hill Mine, SE of BourbonCopper, Cuprite, Goethite, Pyrite
Hinch Copper Mine, SE of BourbonCopper, Cuprite, Limonite, Hematite, Malachite, Marcasite
Scotia, many area minesAzurite, Goethite, Hematite, Malachite, Pyrite, Quartz
Steelville, area mines especially to EAllophane, Amethyst, Azurite, Dolomite, Galena, Goethite, Hematite, Malachite, Marcasite, Quartz, Pyrite, Rutile, etc.
Copper Hill Mine near SullivanAzurite, Barite, Chalcopyrite, Gypsum, Hematite, Malachite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Quartz
Crooked Creek CraterBarite, Galena, Marcasite, Pyrite, Sphalerite
Simmons MineHematite, Quartz crystals
Saint Clair, area minesAnglesite, Galena, Barite, Calcite, Cerussite, Pyrite, Smithsonite, Sphalerite
Ruepple Iron Mine near StantonAmethyst, Goethite, Hematite, Marcasite, Melanterite, Pyrite, Quartz, Siderite, Azurite, Copper, Cuprite, Gypsum, etc.
Sullivan, many area minesAzurite, Chalcocite, Chalcopyrite, Copper, Cuprite, Hematite, Malachite, Pyrite, etc.
Bellview, area 5 mi. SWActinolite
Bixby, area mines & tailingsBornite, Chalcocite, Chalcopyrite, Galena, Malachite, Marcasite, Millerite, Pyrite, Sphalerite, etc.
Graniteville, area quarriesActinolite, Apatite, Beryl, Fluorite, Galena, Hematite, Magnetite, Orthoclase, Quartz (smoky quartz), Topaz, etc.
Cuthbertson Mountain, area mines and prospectsHematite, Pyrolusite, Chalcopyrite, Copper, Epidote, Garnet, Malachite
Shepherd MountainFluorite, Hematite, Magnetite, Quartz
Jefferson County, area road cutsCalcite (nodules), Sphalerite
Arnold, W side of I-55Geodes (calcite, dolomite, marcasite, pyrite, sphalerite)
De Soto, in road cut on Rte. 67Calcite (fluorescent)
Palmer, mines E of townAnglesite, Calcite, Cerussite, Dolomite, Galena, Goethite, Pyrite, Quartz, Sphalerite
Fredericktown, area minesAragonite, Azurite, Calcite, Cerussite, Chalcocite, Chalcopyrite, Dolomite, Galena, Malachite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Quartz, Sphalerite, etc.
Captain Creek, N of Rock Pile MountainActinolite, Epidote
Zion, area surfaces esp. to EJasper
Newburg, hills S of townCalcite
Moselle Iron Mines, W of VidaAmethyst, Arsenopyrite, Azurite, Chalcopyrite, Hematite, Malachite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Quartz (smoky), etc.
Doniphan, area surfaces to EFlint (gem-quality)
Current River, near DoniphanChert nodules (gem-quality, large)
Eminence,area mines to SECalcite, Chalcopyrite, Cuprite, Dolomite, Malachite, Fluorite, etc.
St. Francois County, many area mines and quarriesBarite, Goethite, Pyrite, Quartz, Cerussite, Chalcopyrite, Galena, Malachite, Sphalerite, Smithsonite, etc.
Iron Mountain, area mines and pitsGarnet (yellow), Apatite, Barite, Calcite, Diopside, Dolomite (pink), Epidote, Fluorite, Galane, Magnetite, Quartz, etc.
Dexter, all gravels and streams to the SChert, Agate (fortification agate, blue, gray, pink, white)
Old Mines, area mining dumpsBarite, Calcite, Galena, Goethite, Malachite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Chert, Quartz (drusy)

Where to Find Geodes in Missouri

Geodes are some of the most popular rocks sought by rockhounds all over the world, and Missouri is no exception. In fact, Missouri is one of the best states in the U.S. for geode hunting! Most of the best geode hunting locations are concentrated in the state’s northeastern corner where you can find the famous Keokuk geode beds.

Geode
Geode

These geodes form in cavities in the rocks when mineral-laden water precipitates through the voids and leaves its minerals behind. Over time this slow deposition of various minerals causes the walls of the cavity to become lined with crystals. Most of the geodes found in Missouri will be lined with quartz, aragonite, barite, calcite, fluorite, malachite, pyrite, or sphalerite.

Tip: Not sure if the rock you’ve found is a geode? Check out my article about how to identify a geode.

While there are plenty of locations in Missouri where geodes can be found, you can’t find them just anywhere. You need to know exactly where to look – but don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

The best places to find geodes in Missouri:

Where to Find Crystals and Gemstones in Missouri

There is nothing quite like uncovering a quartz crystal with a perfect termination or finding a beautiful agate that has been waiting in a river bank for you to come along and take it home. Gemstones are some of the most enjoyable specimens that rockhounds can find, but it’s not always easy to know where to look.

Flint
Gemmy Chert

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

The diverse and complex geology of Missouri means that there are plenty of locations across the where you can find crystals and gemstones. There is a nice variety to be found as well, many of which I have mentioned above. Particularly of note are the Lake Superior Agates (see the next section below) which can sometimes be found in glacial deposits left over from the last ice age. There is also a unique form of gem-quality chert which is locally known as ‘Mozarkite’ which any collector will want to get their hands on.

The best places to find crystals and gemstones in Missouri are:

Where to Find Agates in Missouri

Agate
Lake Superior Agate

Agates are some of the most commonly sought-after and collected rocks by rockhounds all over the United States. They come in nearly every color and display many interesting patterns that make each specimen something entirely unique and fun to find. Missouri is home to several amazing varieties of agates and has no shortage of locations in which they can be found.

The best places to find agates in Missouri are:

Missouri 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 for every location 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 the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Natural Areas Map.

Private Land Resources

As with most states, each county in Missouri will have records of who owns each piece of property. You can also usually get the landowner’s name and address by visiting the county records office. I would probably start by contacting the assessor in whatever county you’re interested in and getting whatever contact information you can for the landowner.

Sources & Further Reading

The locations and information contained in this article are primarily derived from academic papers, online resources, and other outside sources. If you would like to read some of the source material for yourself I have listed them below. The majority of these locations are my interpretation of Robert Beste’s A Location Guide for Rock Hounds in the United States. Other sources include: