New York is an exciting state for rockhounding, both for its large quantity of prospective rockhounding locations and the wide variety of rocks and minerals to be found. The geology of the state is dominated by its relatively recent glacial activity which scored the bedrock and left interesting materials in its wake. While not particularly known for its rockhounding, New York nevertheless contains many interesting rocks, minerals and fossils for rockhounds who know where to look.
The best places to rockhound in New York are the mines and streambeds of the Adirondack Mountains, the Herkimer Diamond mines near Middleville, the banks of the Hudson River, and the many mines and quarries of central and western New York.
I’ll dive deeper into the many great rockhounding sites across the state, but I’d like to highlight a few standouts here. Here are the top 10 rockhounding sites in the state of New York:
|Location||Rocks & Minerals|
|Ace of Diamonds Mine||Herkimer Diamonds|
|Herkimer Diamond Mine||Herkimer Diamonds|
|Lake Harris||Albite, Pyrite, Smoky Quartz crystals, Tourmaline, etc.|
|Hudson River, near Cornwall||Bloodstone, Jasper|
|Diamond Acres Mine||Herkimer Diamonds, Quartz crystals|
|Little Nose Hill, Sprakers||Herkimer Diamonds, Quartz crystals|
|Gore Mountain, area mines||Garnet (almandine)|
A wide variety of rocks, minerals, and gemstones can be found in New York including garnet, fluorite, labradorite, hematite, quartz crystals, sphalerite, sunstone, barite, and pyrite. The world-famous Herkimer Diamonds can also be found in central New York.
|State Mineral||Herkimer diamond|
|State Fossil||Eurypterus Remipes|
If you’ve already found a rock and you’re not sure what it is, I would highly recommend checking out my Practical Rock Identification System. This bundle of information includes a book, videos, and online tools. It is, simply put, the most comprehensive and easy-to-understand rock identification system you’ll find anywhere.
You can also read through my free rock identification guide and mineral identification guide which are filled with useful information and tools.
Through quite a bit of research and cross-referencing of available literature, I have compiled this list of some prospective locations in New York which I would recommend to people looking to do some rockhounding. These are mostly comprised of beaches, old mining prospects, 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. 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.
New York Rockhounding Locations
Important Disclaimer: I have not been to these locations myself, and I do not know if they are currently open for collecting. Use this resource as a guide to get you started. Follow posted signage and always get permission from the landowner to collect.
NOTE: All the locations listed in these tables are clickable, and will take you to the location on Google Maps.
For ease of discussion, I’ll break the rockhounding locations up into four parts of the state. Please see the map below for reference.
NYC Metropolitan Area Rockhounding Locations
The best places to rockhound in the NYC metropolitan area include the bands of the Hudson River, the southwest tip of Staten Island, and regional mines in Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties. Rockhounds can find many minerals including galena, bloodstone, fluorite, and magnetite.
|Location||Rocks & Minerals|
|NE Dutchess County, area mines||Galena, Goethite, Limonite|
|Amity, area limestone outcrops||Corundum (blue, white), Fluorite|
|Cornwall, area along Hudson River||Bloodstone, Jasper|
|Craigsville, along Hwy. 94||Bloodstone|
|Mines btwn Edenville & Mt. Adam||Arsenopyrite, Leucopyrite, Scorodite|
|Tilly Foster Iron Mine||Magnetite, Brucite, Chondronite, Clinochlore, Titanite, etc. Many minerals|
|Pine Pond, nearby mine||Arsenopyrite, Asbestos, Leucopyrite, Pyrite|
|3.5 mi. S of West Point, bank of Hudson||Chrysotile asbestos|
|Androvette Clay Pits, SW tip of Staten Island||Artinite, Serpentine|
|Summitville, area mines||Sphalerite|
|Ulster County, regional mines||Sphalerite, Siderite|
Capital District Rockhounding Locations
Upstate New York contains some of the best rockhounding in the entire state. The best places to rockhound in the Capital District include mining dumps, stream gravels, and rock outcrops, especially around the area of Adirondack State Park. This is one of the best places in the state to find fluorite, labradorite, garnets, and sunstone.
|Location||Rocks & Minerals|
|Palmer Hill Mine||Fluorite (abundant)|
|Arnold Hill, area mines & ore bodies||Magnetite|
|Arnold Hill Mine, in dump||Jasper, Magnetite, Martite, Quartz|
|Lyon Mountain, area mine dumps||Aegirine, Albite, Apatite, Augite, Biotite, Calcite, Chlorite, Epidote, Hematite, Ilmenite, Magnetite, Molybdenite, Orthoclase, Perthite, Pyrite, Quartz, Stilbite, Wernerite, Zircon|
|Ancram area lead mines||Barite, Galena, Sphalerite, Pyrite, Quartz|
|Opalescent River, gravel beds & bars||Labradorite|
|Cascade Lakes, area gravels & outcrops||Labradorite|
|Crown Point, area outcrops & gravels||Sunstone|
|Crehore Mine||Garnet (crystals), Hornblende|
|Keeseville, area quarries||Labradorite|
|Lead Hill, area mines||Graphite|
|Lake Harris, area outcrops||Albite, Amphibole, Apatite, Diopside, Graphite, Muscovite, Phlogopite, Pyrite, Pyroxene, Smoky Quartz crystals, Scapolite, Tourmaline, Tremolite|
|Oven Mt., area mines||Garnet|
|E of Minerva, area||Idocrase, Microcline crystals, Scapolite|
|Mill Pond, area||Quartz (rose quartz)|
|Port Kent, shore to S||Labradorite|
|Old mine dump off of Owl’s Head trail||Sunstone|
|Sacandaga River, along Hwy. 8||Labradorite|
|Diamond Acres Mine (fee)||Herkimer Diamonds, Quartz crystals|
|Sprakers, Little Nose hill||Herkimer Diamonds, Quartz crystals|
|Toddsville, area stream beds||Sapphire|
|Schoharie County, general area exposures||Silicified coral|
|Brant Lake, S shore in pegmatites||Apatite, Calcite, Diopside, Muscovite, Pyrite, Rutile, Tourmaline|
|Gore Mountain, area mines||Almandine, Garnet|
|Humphrey Mountain, area mines||Almandine, Garnet|
Central New York Rockhounding Locations
The best places for rockhounding in central New York are the mines and rock exposures near Middleville, where the famous Herkimer Diamond quartz crystals can be found in abundance. The many mines and quarries in central New York are also great rockhounding locations and are notable for their fluorite, barite, and occasional moonstone.
|Location||Rocks & Minerals|
|N side of road N of Middleville, in sandstone||Herkimer Diamonds|
|1 mi. E of Middleville, N side of Rte 29||Herkimer Diamonds|
|S of Middleville, esp. on hill on way to Herkimer||Herkimer Diamonds|
|Ace of Diamonds & Herkimer Diamonds Mine||Herkimer Diamonds|
|Philadephia, area serpentine outcrops||Hematite, Pyrite, Siderite|
|Pillar Point, area quarries||Barite crystals|
|Muskellunge Lake, mines to NE||Fluorite|
|Lowville, area mines||Fluorite|
|Quarry NE of Natural Bridge||Serpentine, Talc|
|Cazenovia & Chittenango, area quarries||Celestite|
|Fayetteville, area quarries||Fluorite|
|Manlius, area quarries||Fluorite|
|Syracuse, area outcrops||Peridotite|
|Balmat, Gouverneur Talc Mine||Anthophyllite, Apatite, Talc, Tremolite|
|DeKalb, area quarries||Barite, Fluorite|
|Richville, area quarries||Moonstone, Diopside, Tourmaline (brown)|
|Edwards, area quarries & mines||Barite, Galena, Gypsum, Sphalerite, Fluorite|
|Fowler, area stream beds, sedimentary exposures||Geodes (barite, hematite)|
|Exposures along Oswegatchie River||Serpentine|
Western New York Rockhounding Locations
The best rockhounding locations in western New York include the banks of the Genesee River, the east side of Canadice Lake, 18 Mile Creek, and the many quarries in the region. This area is among the best in the state for finding agates and fossils, and also produces some fluorite and labradorite.
|Location||Rocks & Minerals|
|Fogelsanger Quarry, E of Buffalo||Calcite, Favosites, Fossilized coral|
|18 Mile Creek, in deposits||Pyrite|
|Jaycox Creek N of Geneseo, in gravels||Silicified coral|
|Genesee River near Norton St., in limestone banks||Agate|
|Lockport, area quarries||Fluorite|
|Canadice Lake, E side||Labradorite|
Where to Find Herkimer Diamonds in New York
Without a doubt, the most sought after gem or mineral in New York is the famous Herkimer Diamond. Herkimer Diamonds are double-terminated quartz crystals, which means they come to a point on both ends. They are exceptionally clear and are very desirable for their aesthetic beauty. They derive their name from Herkimer County, in which they are primarily found.
The best places to find Herkimer Diamond are near Middleville, NY along Highway 28 and Highway 29. In particular, the Herkimer Diamond Mine and the Ace of Diamonds Mine are famous for their Herkimer Diamond production. Herkimer Diamonds can also be found in sandstone outcrops near Middleville.
Tip: You can actually buy authentic Herkimer Diamonds from Amazon
Where to Find Garnets in New York
Garnet is the official state gemstone of New York, and for good reason. New York is one of the best places in the United States to find garnets in relative abundance. In fact, Barton Mines in the Adirondacks is the largest garnet mine in the entire world. Naturally, many rockhounds want to know where to find their own garnet specimens in New York.
The best places to find garnet in New York are in the Adirondack Mountains, particularly at Gore Mountain, the Barton Garnet Mines, Humphrey Mountain, and Oven Mountain. Several mines are privately operated, allowing patrons to find their own garnet specimens in a safe environment for a small fee.
Where to Find Geodes in New York
While not particularly common, there are some select locations in New York where geodes have reportedly been found. The best place to find geodes in New York State is the town of Fowler, in local stream beds and sedimentary exposures. These geodes usually contain barite or hematite crystals.
Best Mines for Crystal Digging in New York
If you just want to have a great experience digging for your own gems an crystals, there are many fantastic options in New York. These fee-to-dig mines provide a safe and controlled environment for people to search for their own crystals, and their patrons are nearly guaranteed of finding quality specimens. These mines are very popular destinations for families. Here are some of the best places in New York where you can dig for your own crystals.
Tip: Check out my Complete Rock Tumbling Guide to make your rocks and gemstones really shine!
|Barton Mines||North River, NY||Garnet|
|Ace of Diamonds Mine||Middleville, NY||Herkimer Diamonds|
|Herkimer Diamond Mines||Herkimer, NY||Herkimer Diamonds|
|Crystal Grove Diamond Mine||St. Johnsville, NY||Herkimer Diamonds|
|Paradise Falls||Herkimer, NY||Herkimer Diamonds|
New York 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.
- Rockhounding on Public Land: Laws and Regulations
- Can You Collect Rocks in State Parks? All 50 States Answered
To determine what type of public land a particular location is on, I would recommend starting with New York’s Office of General Services Bureau of Land Management’s website.
Private Land Resources
As with most states, each county in New York will have records of who owns each piece of property. Unfortunately for rockhounds, the law in most states 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. I would also highly recommend starting with the New York Municipal Offices website.
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: