If you’re looking to do some rockhounding in Ohio, you’ve come to the right place. Ohio is relatively lacking in both its number of prospective rockhounding locations and its diversity of rock and mineral specimens. Still, there are plenty of rockhounding sites where collectors can go and enjoy finding quality specimens – if they know where to look. I have put together this guide for rockhounds in Ohio looking for some sites to begin searching.
The best place to rockhound in Ohio is Flint Ridge, located in Licking and Muskingum Counties, where high quality specimens of flint and other minerals can be found. Other potential rockhounding sites include regional quarries and mining dumps, rocky outcrops, and stream gravels in select areas.
|State Gemstone||Ohio Flint|
|State Fossil||Isotelus Trilobite|
When it comes to mineral specimens, Ohio is not a particularly diverse state. Ohio Flint, the state’s official gemstone, is the only notable gemstone in the entire area. This flint is of exceptionally high quality and has long been used for making tools and is still highly sought for its aesthetic beauty. Other minerals, found in less abundance and in poorer quality, include calcite, pyrite, amethyst, quartz, fluorite, celestite, and (very rarely) diamond.
Through quite a bit of research and cross-referencing of available literature, I have compiled this list of some prospective locations in Ohio which I would recommend to people looking to do some rockhounding. These are mostly comprised of 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.
Rockhounding Locations in Ohio
NOTE: All the locations listed in these tables are clickable, and will take you to the location on Google Maps.
|Location||Rocks & Minerals|
|Conneaut, area quarries & pits||Calcite (cone-in-cone)|
|Milford, area gravels & alluvial deposits||Diamond (rare)|
|Coshocton County, area ridges & knobs||Flint (dark gray, black)|
|Delaware County, in area blue clay exposures||Pyrite (cubic crystals)|
|Columbus, area exposures, road cuts, quarries, of blue clay||Pyrite (clustered cubic crystals)|
|Sinking Spring, area ore deposit||Hematite|
|Benton Township, along high ridges||Flint (high quality)|
|Holmes County, area outcrops of shale, sandstone & limestone||Flint|
|Lawrence County, area limestone exposures||Flint (nodules)|
|Flint Ridge, area||Agate, Amethyst, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Chert (varied colors), Flint (gem-quality), Jasp-Agate, Jasper, Smoky Quartz crystals, Quartz|
|Licking & Muskingum Counties, area stream beds, road cuts, etc.||Flint (gem-quality), Chalcedony (translucent), Quartz (drusy)|
|Medusa Quarry in Sylvania||Fossils (many specimens, lined with Marcasite or Calcite)|
|Whitehouse, area quarries||Celestite, Gypsum|
|Muskingum County, area gravels & exposures||Agate, Amethyst, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Chert, Flint, Jasp-Agate, Jasper, Smoky Quartz crystals, Quartz|
|Clay Center limestone quarry||Calcite, Celestite, Dolomite crystals, Fluorite, Pyrite, Fossils|
|Genoa, area quarries||Calcite, Celestite, Dolomite crystals, Fluorite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Fossils|
|Green Island, along waterline||Celestite (fine crystals and large masses)|
|Perry County, countywide deposits||Flint (nodules)|
|Chillicothe, W several miles in blue clay exposures||Pyrite crystals|
|Sandusky, area quarries & outcrops||Calcite, Celestite, Dolomite crystals, Fluorite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Witherite, Pyrite, Fossils|
|Maple Grove Quarry||Calcite, Celestite, Dolomite crystals, Fluorite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Fossils|
|Tuscarawas County, regional mining dumps||Pyrite|
|Tuscarawas River near Zoar, in limestone outcrops||Flint|
|Bowling Green, quarries W and S||Barite crystals, Calcite, Celestite, Fluorite, Pyrite|
|Lime City, area quarries||Celestite|
Where to Find Flint in Ohio
The best place to find flint in Ohio is the area of Flint Ridge in Licking and Muskingum Counties. This 8 mile long vein containing gem-quality flint has long been mined by American Indians and continues to attract rockhounds to this day. The flint found at Flint Ridge tends to be a mixture of chert, chalcedony, jasper, and opal, and is renowned for its uncommon beauty.
Aside from Flint Ridge, there are several other notable locations where rockhounds can hope to find flint in Ohio. A very colorful variety of flint known as ‘Vanport flint’ and ‘Upper Mercer flint’ can be found in rocky exposures in Hocking, Coshocton, and Perry counties.
Where to Dig for Crystals in Ohio
There are several places in Ohio where amateur geologists can pay to dig for crystals. These fee-to-dig mines provide a safe and controlled environment for rockhounds to search for their own crystals with a much higher chance of finding quality specimens than they might otherwise have on their own. These mines are very popular with families looking for a day of fun and adventure. Below are some of the best places in Ohio to dig for crystals.
Tip: Check out my Complete Rock Tumbling Guide to make your rocks and gemstones really shine!
|Nethers Farm – Flint Ridge||Muskingum County|
|Caesar Creek Lake Spillway||Waynesville, OH|
|Hocking Hills Gem Mine & Gold Rush||Logan, OH|
Where to Find Geodes in Ohio
Ohio is not blessed with an abundance of geodes. In fact, there are very few locations where geodes have been found, and where they have been found it is a rare occurrence. However, if you are dead set on searching for your own geodes there are a couple of places you can try. The best places to search for geodes in Ohio include the Findlay Arch mining district and the Serpent Mound Zinc District in the southern portion of the state. These geodes can potentially contain several minerals including barite, calcite, fluorite, and celestite.
If geodes and crystals are your thing, you will probably be interested in Crystal Cave located in Put-In-Bay. This cave is sometimes referred to as “The World’s Largest Geode” because it is completely lined in large celestite crystals. A visit to this cave is a must for any rockhound, and as an added bonus you can also tour the winery which owns it!
Ohio 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 the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Private Land Resources
As with most states, each county in Ohio 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 usually get the landowner’s name and address by visiting the county records office. In Ohio, I would recommend starting with the County Clerk’s office.
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: