State Gemstones: Montana Agate & Sapphire (1969)
State Fossil: Maiasaura Peeblesorum (1985)
Do you have a short list of must visit states? Add Montana to it. Montana won’t disappoint and rockhounding is an extremely popular hobby there.
Montana is known as the ‘Treasure State’ and is well known for its enormous copper (the ‘richest hill on earth’) and coal deposits. In addition, the state is famous for its sapphires and its agates. It also is home to some very unusual ringing rocks.
Sapphire is a variety of corundum. Red corundum is called ruby while all other colors are called sapphire.
Montana was once a top producer of gold and other precious metals. Gold panning continues to be a popular hobby to this day. You can pan for gold in almost any stream or river and end the day with a nice reward of small gold flakes.
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
420 Barrett St.
Dillon, MT 59725
Crystal Park is a beautiful recreation area at an elevation of 7,800 feet in the Pioneer Mountains in southwest Montana. Facilities include 3 picnic sites with tables and grills, information signs, toilets, and a paved trail with benches and an overlook.
The crystals found at Crystal Park can be clear, cloudy, white, gray or purple. They can be smaller than your little finger or up to several inches in diameter.
Hand tools are the only tools allowed for use, and there is a five-day-per-person season limit on digging.
The Day Use area is open from June through November.
$5 per car
The day use area and the toilets are accessible.
Please note that rock collecting locations are always changing so be sure to check with the site owner for the most current information before going.
Dig safe, never go underground, and make sure to get permission from the landowner to search for and collect rocks.