Rockhound Locations in Montana

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Here at the Rockhounding Maps, we give you access and information to the best dig sites for crystals and minerals in Montana.  On top of that, we’ve created a resource page to assist with answering all of your gem and mineral collecting questions.

We hope you enjoy your time on our site and come back often because we’re always adding new dig locations and crystal collecting updates. This is a great resource for anyone who loves rockhounding, from beginners to experts alike!

Digging for rocks in Montana is a great way to discover the state’s diverse geology and fossilized wildlife. The number of potential collecting sites makes it an excellent location for those interested not only in rocks and minerals.

We’re always interested in readers’ rock-collecting trips so be sure to share them with us.

Montana Rockhound Locations

The impressive and expansive landscape of Montana makes it an excellent adventure wherever you go. Whether you are into rock climbing or rockhounding, there’s something incredible wherever you roam.

Montana’s geology is dominated by volcanic activity in the west, which is relatively recent. The volcanic activity is one of the primary reasons there’s such a variety of rocks and minerals to find and collect. The ensuing erosion caused by major rivers, including Yellowstone and Jefferson, transports agates and many other minerals to areas across the landscape. This means you’re bound to find interesting things all around you.

Some of you may already know that Montana was a top producer of gold and other precious metals once upon a time. While you might not strike it filthy rich, gold panning is still popular today.

While the state’s precious metals have marked it on the map, Montana is also well-known for the incredible gemstones that can be found, like sapphire and amethyst. If you’re interested in finding either of those gems, head out west, around Lewis and Clark County. However, Montana is likely the most popular for the Montana Moss Agate.

The gravels of the Jefferson and Yellowstone Rivers of Montana are the best places to get lucky on a rock-hounding hunt. Don’t forget to explore their tributaries as well. You’ll also find private and public mines in western Montana, including Crystal Park and the Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine, which are two extremely popular rockhounding sites.


green moss agate


Top 10 Best Rockhounding Sites


Rocks and Minerals In Montana

Montana has a wide variety of minerals and rocks, which is one of the biggest reasons rockhounds love the state. Many collectors are mainly interested in amethyst, sapphires, and the Montana Moss Agates that can be found. The sapphires are often found in some privately owned mines. That said, don’t forget to request permission to explore and collect.

The state has a lengthy history of mining precious gems and metals, including silver and gold. Rockhounds can also find various semiprecious stones scattered across Montana’s landscape. Members of the quartz family, including petrified wood, agates, chalcedony, and jasper, can typically be found in abundance if you look in the right areas.


Western Montana Gemstone Map

Location NameLongitude and LatitudeRocks and Gemstones
Crystal Park45.486369, -113.099901Amethyst, Quartz Crystals (Smoky, Clear)
Frying Pan Basin45.293301, -112.733595Corundum, Opalized Wood, Silicified Wood
Monarch, local pegmatite outcrops47.097266, -110.816132
Neihart46.945754, -110.724034Galena, Polybasite, Silver, Sphalerite (gem-quality)
Calvert Hill Mine45.848888, -113.152421Scheelite, Garnet, Aquamarine, Tungsten
Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine46.246748, -113.592164Sapphire
Elkhorn Mountain46.290943, -111.935909Magnetite, Hematite
Pipestone45.955460, -112.386873Amethyst, Quartz Crystals
Whitehall45.917913, -112.041080Galena, Gold, Sphalerite, Pyrite
Pole Creek45.576911, -111.524725Garnet, Gold, Quartz crystals, Ruby, Sapphire
Bismark Mine45.612853, -112.048973Molybdenite, Pyrite, Chalcopyrite
Dry Cottonwood Creek46.220599, -112.685142Sapphire
Crystal Mountain Mine46.006579, -113.888129Fluorite Crystals (White, Green, Purple)
Sula45.868798, -113.982020Beryl Crystals (Green)

Montana’s western region is well known by amateur collectors and experienced rockhounds looking for amethyst, quartz crystals, petrified wood, and gold.

Many prime rockhounding locations are old tailing piles from previous mines but don’t let the discarded host rock fool you. If you’re diligent, you can find plenty of specimens to add to your collection.

Gravel beds in the local rivers and streams make for great prospecting because they’re loaded with quartz crystals, agate, and petrified wood.


sapphirine crystal


Central Montana Gemstone Map

Location NameLongitude and LatitudeRocks and Gemstones
Big Horn Canyon, area gravels esp. along canyon rim45.312960, -107.960421Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper, Fossils
Fromberg, area 1mi. W45.392994, -108.931635Pyrite
Pryor Mountains45.238575, -108.267474Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper, Petrified Wood
Horseshoe Hills46.022258, -111.271200Trilobite fossils
Mount Blackmore45.444727, -111.003479Agate, Chalcedony, Opal (Hyalite), Petrified Wood
Yogo Gulch46.921894, -110.454843Ruby, Sapphire
Magpie Gulch46.662912, -111.660973Green Sapphire
Bear Canyon, in Pryor Mountains45.081805, -108.525837
Geodes, Agate
Missourri River, in gravels near Helena46.728366, -111.874610Chalcedony, Garnet, Kyanite, Topaz
Carbella45.217457, -110.927334Agate, Jasper, Petrified wood, Quartz crystals
Miner45.191839, -110.927115Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper, Petrified wood


Central Montana has an abundance of public land which makes it incredibly easy to explore and dig for rocks.

Just like the rest of the state, quartz crystals are abundant but the number one destination is the Montana sapphire. You can dig for these beautiful gems at Magpie Gulch and surrounding gravel bars. If you are searching for something more family-friendly and controlled, the Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine is an excellent choice.

Here’s another location to consider if you’re looking for geodes. Bear Canyon’s gravels in the Pryor Mountains, south of Billings, Montana, is one of the best places to hunt for geodes. This location produces geodes lined with drusy quartz and an agate crust.


Eastern Montana Agate Map

Location NameLongitude and LatitudeRocks and Gemstones
Custer County, Yellowstone River gravel46.396266, -105.898102Montana Agate
Hysham46.177373, -107.178966Moss Agate
Glendive47.114907, -104.665038Agate, Moss Opal
Cracker Box Creek46.913106, -104.920913Montana Agate
Hatchet Creek46.870352, -105.072643Montana Agate
Sand Creek46.927892, -104.817836Agate
Fallon, gravels of Yellowstone River and tributaries46.852986, -105.078216Agate
Terry46.772711, -105.259891Petrified Wood, Chalcedony, Jasper


Eastern Montana offers an opportunity to collect Montana agate and moss agate. These agates are highly sought-after by collectors and lapidary artists. While exploring the gravel bars in the Yellowstone River, near the town of Fallon, you will come across geodes from time to time.

You should consider yourself very lucky if you do find one because they’re not very common.


dendritic agate cabochons

Rock and Mineral Societies

Rockhound clubs and societies are excellent for meeting other people with similar interests. A wealth of knowledge and lapidary skills are shared amongst members and I highly recommend joining the clubs listed below.


Bozeman Gem and Mineral Club

The Bozeman Gem and Mineral Club is the oldest ‘rock club’ in Montana, established in 1939. Club members have various interests, including mineral specimens, fossils, gemology, geology, faceting, jewelry design, and lapidary arts.

The Club offers multiple programs, activities, and affiliations to all members. While their primary goals are to improve club members’ knowledge and skills, as well as educate the youth and public.

The club’s website posts all of the upcoming events and updates. 


Helena Mineral Society

The Helena Mineral Society (HMS) has a lot to offer members. The monthly meetings give members the opportunity to meet other people interested in minerals, rocks, and gems. The monthly educational programs are excellent, and expert help is available to help identify rock and mineral species.

Aside from the monthly meetings, society members can partake in wire wrapping classes, attend field trips in the area, and discuss their mineral collections.

The society’s website has listed that a yearly membership for a single member is only $17, and $25 for family memberships.


Red Creek Jasper cabochons


Bitterroot Gem & Mineral Society

The Bitterroot Gem and Mineral Society hold meetings once a month, with Junior Club meetings a half-hour prior to regular meetings. Youth club members get the opportunity to study various specimens and earn badges. 

The Bitterroot Gem and Mineral Society (BGMS) aims to promote interest and education in earth sciences. They strive to support promoting and ensuring the rights of amateur hobby collecting and recreational rock hunting.

The Bitterroot Gem and Mineral Society are affiliated with the Montana Council of Rock and Mineral Clubs, the Northwest Federation of Mineralogical Societies, and the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies.


Billings Gem & Mineral Club

This mineral club is a non-profit organization devoted to all things rockhounds love, with specific attention to the Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota regions.

Club members meet once a month in Billings, Montana. An annual picnic is held in the summer, a Christmas potluck in December, and their yearly rock show is usually in May. The club’s meetings typically include members sharing their recent finds, educational presentations, and attending to any club business at hand.

Guests are welcome to participate in all club meetings unless it’s been otherwise specified. People interested in becoming club members are encouraged to attend a few meetings as guests before joining. Membership fees are due once a year. New member fees are $16 per individual or $22 for a couple or family. Renewal fees are $10 per person and $15 for a couple or family. These fees support the annual show, programs, and the club’s development activities.


Sagenite Agate cabochons