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From My Book: Places to Visit and Collect in The Southwest

November 7, 2019

The latest version of this file will always be at my rockhounding site:

Here’s the latest version of my Places to Visit or Collect in the Southwest:






I do have a mobi or Kindle format for mobile but it is hosted at my rockhounding site, this personal blog website can’t host that kind of file:





These are places I visited or were recommended to me while traveling in the Southwest for my book. I mostly visited rock related places and ground open to collecting.

Weather wise, October may be the best time to travel the Southwest, followed by May.

It is impractical to visit every place you want to go because day after day you will find certain stores, mines, and museums closed.

Traveling Monday through Thursday is especially tough, my advice is to prospect or collect on those days and then try to visit businesses and museums closer to the weekend.

You will have to return to the Southwest to visit places closed on your first travel. I envy you.

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Table of Contents

State Chapters

California (Southern)
Colorado (Southern)
Nevada (Southern)
New Mexico
Utah (Southern)

Map Stores

Desert Map and Aerial Photo – Palm Desert, CA
Wide World Maps & MORE! – Phoenix, Az (Central)
Wide World Maps & MORE! – Phoenix, Az (North)
Most BLM and USFS district offices sell local maps of areas they manage

Surveying Stores

Colton Surveying Instruments – Colton, CA

Rock, Gift, and Prospecting Shops by State


Sunshine Gallery and Gifts – St. David
Meteor Crater Gift Shop – Outside of Winslow
Rock-a-Buy – Duncan
Jim and Ellen’s Rock Shop – Cottonwood
The Gold Lady – Golden Valley / Kingman
The Miners Depot – Quartzsite
More shops in this file further on, to be hyperlinked soon . . .

California (Southern)

The Collector – Fallbrook
Desert Discoveries Rock Shop – Boron
Diamond Pacific – Barstow
Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society – Fallbrook
Minerals Unlimited – Ridgecrest
More shops in the text, working on hyperlinking . . . .

Colorado (Southern)

San Juan Gems – Cortez

Nevada (Southern)

Cactus Joes Nursery, Las Vegas
Rupprecht Estate Rock Yard – Las Vegas
Jewelry and Mineral of Las Vegas

Hidden Treasures Trading Company, Goldfield
Vanderford’s Gold Strike, Goldfield
Rock Chuck – Schurz

More shops in the text, working on hyperlinking . . .

New Mexico

Mama’s Minerals – Albuquerque
Mama’s Minerals – Santa Fe
New Mexico’s Mineral Museum and Gift Shop – Socorro
More shops in this file further on, to be hyperlinked soon . . .

Fee Digs, Tours, and Appointment Necessary Visiting
Courtland Ghost Town -Tours – Dig – Pearce, AZ
Gemfield Gem Claims – Dig – Goldfield, NV
Florence Mine – Tour – Goldfield, NV
El Dorado Canyon Mine Tours – Tour – Nelson, NV
Peridot Dreams – Tour or Surface Collect, San Carlos, AZ
Himalaya Mine – Screen Wash – Lake Isabella, CA
Oceanview Mine/Pala Chief – Dig – Wash Screen -Pala, CA
Ernst Quarries/Shark Tooth Hill – Dig – Bakersfield, CA
Questa Fire Agate Mine – Dig – Oatman, AZ
Blanchard – Desert Rose – Dig – Bingham, NM
Kelly Mine – Dig – Magdalena, NM
Prospecting or local rock and gem club membership often provide access to private fee digs


Many museums listed in the text, working on hyperlinking . . .


Many clubs listed in the text, working on hyperlinking. . . .

Organizations I Financially Support (external links):
Fluorescent Mineral Society:

Clubs I Belong To (external links)

Southern Utah Rock Club:
Southern Nevada Gem and Mineral Society:
Nye Gold Seekers:

Businesses I Regularly Use and Endorse (external links)

Geological Specimen Supply:
Minerals Unlimited:

Arizona (and one exception in Utah) [back to top]

James Mitchell’s Gem Trails of Arizona is dated but essential.

Anyone traveling extensively off-pavement in Arizona should get an Arizona State Trust Land Permit. $15.00 for individuals. Rockhounding on Arizona State Trust Land is prohibited but stopping at any point on these lands constitutes a “use” and that use demands a permit. Determining where these properties exists while driving is nigh impossible, most are managed grazing land outside of small towns or settlements. Rather than guess, it may be easier just to get a permit.

Washington County (Utah)

BLM Arizona Strip Office
345 E Riverside Dr.
St. George, UT 84790

37°04.986′ N 113°34.611′ W

This office is physically present in Utah but manages Arizona land. They manage the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, a no collecting area, and the Virgin River Recreation Management Area in northwest Arizona, a noted rockhound area. The office has some nice rock and mineral displays.

On my last visit they requested that I fill out a rockhound permit when I asked about collecting. This form applied to casual use, not commercial operations which demands a permit. No other office has asked me to fill such a thing out and other BLM offices look at the document with curiosity. Many BLM and USFS offices act as their own fiefdom, drawing up practices and procedures to fit their particular area.

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By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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