Utah Rock Hounding Guide Blog Banner Image with Pictures of Geodes and Minerals Found in Utah

Discover Rock Hounding: Your Guide to Topaz Mountain, Dugway Geode Dig, and Moab Agate

Rock hounding is a rewarding hobby that brings you closer to nature while uncovering the hidden treasures of the earth. It's a perfect activity for anyone who loves the outdoors and has a passion for discovering beautiful gems and minerals.

Ken Whipple, the owner of Park City Jewelers, has been an avid rock hounder since he was a child. He fondly remembers trips with his grandpa, exploring Utah's rich geological landscapes and uncovering amazing treasures. These early adventures sparked a lifelong love for gemstones and a deep appreciation for the natural beauty of Utah.

Pickaxe sitting on the ground of a dig.

General Tools for Rock hounding

Before heading out to the field, it's important to be prepared with the right tools and techniques to ensure a successful and enjoyable rock hounding experience. Here are some essentials:

Suggested Tools:

  • Rock Hammer: For breaking rocks and extracting specimens.
  • Chisel: To help split rocks and remove crystals.
  • Shovel and Pickaxe: For digging and moving earth.
  • Hoe and Rake: Useful for sifting through soil.
  • Screen/Sifter: To help find smaller gemstones in the dirt.
  • Gloves and Safety Goggles: To protect your hands and eyes.
  • Buckets and Bags: For carrying your finds.
  • Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated and energized.
  • First Aid Kit: Always good to have on hand for minor injuries.

General Techniques for Rock Hounding

Sifting/Screening: Use a screen to sift through soil and find smaller gems and minerals.

Digging: Digging into the earth can reveal larger specimens. Be respectful of the land and fill any holes you dig.

Breaking Rocks: Use a rock hammer and chisel to break open rocks and expose hidden crystals.

Surface Collecting: Sometimes, beautiful gems and minerals can be found right on the surface.

Man sifting Dirt Through a Screen

Topaz Mountain

Picture of Topaz Mountain in Utah

Topaz Mountain is definitely one of Utah's most famous gemstone collecting sites, boasting topaz crystals of a color and clarity that rival any to be found anywhere. A prized specimen to look for while in the area is a bixbyite crystal perched on a topaz crystal. This combination makes for an extraordinary find and is a true treasure for any rock hounder.


  • Start at Salt Lake City.
  • Take I-15 South for 60 miles.
  • Exit 225 towards Nephi.
  • Follow Highway 132 west for 30 miles to Highway 6.
  • Continue west on Highway 6 for 37 miles to Highway 174.
  • Drive 37 miles west on Highway 174 to where a graded, dirt road intersects from the north.
  • Follow that road two miles to the base of Topaz Mountain

Nearby Collecting Sites:

  • Site B: Return to Highway 174 and travel west another six and a half miles to where the pavement ends. Along the right fork, the ground is covered in Apache tears, most of which are black, but mahogany is also prevalent.
  • Site C: Double back four miles on Highway 174, then turn south. After about one mile, you can find jasper, agate, and rhyolite scattered on both sides of the road for at least another mile. The jasper is gold and yellow, while the agate occurs in various colors and patterns. A little walking from the road is required, but a respectable quantity can usually be picked up in a short amount of time.

Dugway Geode Beds

The Dugway area is famous for its beautiful geodes filled with sparkling quartz crystals.


  • Take exit 279 off I-15.
  • Head east on Highway 73 for 25.2 miles, then turn left towards Vernon.
  • Travel 13.8 miles, then turn left on Highway 36 for 0.6 miles.
  • Turn right on Pony Express Road (paved; will turn to dirt soon).
  • Travel 49.8 miles, passing Lookout Pass, Simpson Springs, and Dugway Pass.
  • Turn right at the geode sign.
  • Continue right for 0.3 miles, then turn left for 0.5 miles down the wash.
  • Turn right out of the wash for 0.1 miles to a metal post.
  • Keep going straight (north) for 0.7 miles.
  • Turn right (east) for another 0.7 miles to the dig site.
Dugway Geode Bed Dig Site

Moab Agate Location

Moab is not only famous for its stunning landscapes but also for its colorful agates.

Easy Road Directions:

  • Turn south off I-70 towards Moab.
  • Go 15.1 miles south until you get to Klondike Bluffs trailhead.
  • Turn left (east) and travel for 2.6 miles.
  • Turn right (south) and go 2.5 miles.
  • Turn right on a lightly traveled road and go 100 yards.
  • Agate is all around you.

4-Wheel Drive Route from the South:

  • From Moab, go north from the Colorado River.
  • Go 11.3 miles north to Dalton Wells Road.
  • Turn right (east) and go 1.7 miles to a fork in the road.
  • Turn left (north) and travel 2.3 miles.
  • Turn left (south) on a little road for 100 yards.
  • Agate is all around you.
Moab Utah Landscape


Embarking on a rock hounding adventure is not just about finding beautiful gemstones; it's about reconnecting with nature, discovering the hidden wonders of the earth, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re exploring the renowned Topaz Mountain, digging for geodes in Dugway, or hunting for vibrant agates in Moab, each experience offers its own unique rewards and challenges.

At Park City Jewelers, we celebrate this passion for discovery and the natural beauty of gemstones. We hope this guide inspires you to embark on your own rock hounding journey and uncover the treasures that Utah's rich landscapes have to offer. Happy hunting, and don’t forget to bring your finds to us so we can help turn them into cherished pieces of jewelry.