It's been said that Texas is full of treasures, but most don't realize that Texas is literally filled with treasures that you can actually find— if you're ready to dig for them.
Topaz, agate, chalcedony, jasper, quartz crystals and arrowheads are among some of the treasures you can find around the state. While it's illegal to go digging on government land, or elsewhere without permission, there are plenty of ranches that offer public digs for a fee. Alternatively, there are several private guides that offer rock hunting excursions. While these treasures are out there for the taking, don't expect them to be laying around. Figure on spending at least several hours on the search, and even then, it's not always a sure thing. But it's certainly worth trying for.
Of course a good spring rain always helps the outcome, especially since washing away the topsoil can bring some of the goodies up closer to the surface.
Here is a round-up of Texas treasure hunting sources, happy hunting!
Dig Your Own
Topaz and Quartz
Mason County is the only place in North America where you can find blue topaz, and that's why it's the official gem of Texas.
Bar M Ranch Services
5309 Old Junction Rd.
Mason, TX 76856
Open: February 1– October 30.
Price: $15 per person/day
Equipment Rental: $6 per day (1/4″ screens and small shovels)
Seaquist Family Ranch
460 Lindsay Ranch Rd
Mason, TX 76856
Price: $15.00 per person per day 12-years-old and older. Only those staying in the guesthouses are allowed to rock hunt. There are 3 guesthouses each priced at $100 for 2 adults and $25.00 for each additional guest age 12 and over.
Arrowhead, Fossils and Artifacts
1712O Moody Leon Rd
Moody, TX 76557
Price: $20 half day digs/$40 full day digs
Palo Pinto County, TX 76049
Price: $75 per day for hand digs/ $150 per day for screen digs
Camp Live Oak on the Frio River
P.O. Box 502
Leakey, TX 78873
Price: $70-$ 195 cabin rates
Mineral Wells Fossil Park
2375 Indian Creek Road
Mineral Wells, TX 76067
Open: Friday– Monday, 8 a.m. to dusk
An eroded landfill’s borrow pit in the old city of Mineral Wells containing plenty of small fossils dating back over 300 million years. Great for younger children.
Guided Rock Hounding Expeditions
Baringer Hill Pegmatite
Price: $30 adult per day/$15 ages 12 and under
Guided rock hunts around Texas, including Emerald Ridge pegmatite in Mason County, Badu Hill pegmatite in Llano County, Petrick Quarry in Llano County, Coal Creek serpentinite in Big Branch and White Eagle mine in Burnet County.
Teri Smith Rock Hunts
Big Bend Area
Teri Smith takes groups to private ranches where rock hunters can find everything from agate, jasper, petrified wood, calcite, selenite, aragonite, and fossils.