Chunky Gal Mountain Rockhounding  (For First Time Visitors)

North Carolina is the top rockhounding state in the United States.

In the article that follows, you’ll learn more about Chunky Gal Mountain rockhounding, a North Carolina gem of the outdoors.

Chunky Gal Mountain Rockhounding  (For First Time Visitors)


The information provided in this article by is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.


North Carolina is considered to be the best location globally to hunt for crystals and gemstones.

North Carolina’s central and western regions have the most mineralized terrain worldwide.

Chunky Gal Mountain in North Carolina is a little-known mining gem.

Many people do not know about it and are turned off by the name.

The name Chunky Gal comes from American Indian history.

Chunky Gal Mountain received its unique name from the Cherokee tribe about an overweight young woman who fell in love with a man from a different tribe.

The young woman’s mother and father attempted to halt the romance, but the young woman left her family and tribe, to follow her love.

The young woman found her way across the mountain to be with her beloved.

What Makes Chunky Gal Mountain Attractive?

Chunky Gal Mountain contains fine crystals of corundum that occur in a matrix of smaragdite.

At Chunky Gal Mountain, the three famous gems you will find are rubies, sapphires, and garnet.

Chunky Gal Mountain is in the western part of the state of North Carolina, where it is known for its natural beauty.

Breath-taking waterfalls and mountain vistas are attractions in western North Carolina.

Where is Chunky Gal Mountain?

Chunky Gal Mountain is located near Clay County, North Carolina.

The town of Hayesville is the closest to the mountain, approximately 9 miles away.

Chunky Gal Mountain’s elevation is 4,770 feet high.

Chunky Gal Mountain is a 22-mile vast hike that connects the Nantahala Mountains with the Tusquitee Mountains.

Chunky Gal creates an 8-mile ridge found between the Appalachian Trail and US 64.

What Can Be Found At Chunky Gal Mountain?

Chunky Gal Mountain is a great place to find rubies, sapphires, and corundums.

Chunky Gal Mountain is located in an area that has amazing mineralization.

Plenty of gems and minerals have been located at Chunky Gal Mountain.

Red and pink rubies are located in smargadite.

One can also find rutile, spinel, and peridotite minerals.

The beautiful clear water creek, Buck Creek, runs along the base of Chunky Gal Mountain.

Buck Creek contains bright red almandine garnets.

Dunite accounts for the presence of rubies, garnets, sapphires, and other gemstones at Buck Creek.

Buck Creek is the heart of the corundum deposit on Chunky Gal Mountain.

When you see greenish-gray rocks, look for pink streaks.

This will indicate ruby is present.

Other Reasons To Travel To Chunky Gal Mountain

Chunky Gal Mountain has it all. People travel to Chunky Gal Mountain for recreational activities such as sightseeing, backpacking, hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, family time, and rockhounding.

Chunky Gal Mountain does not have any fees or facilities to use.

Chunky Gal does not have a designated parking area.

However, there are areas where you can pull off and park by Glade Gap.

Rockhounding Tips

If you are rock hounding, look out for Barnett Creek Road.

When located, make a left on Barnett Creek Road and continue down approximately 2 miles to the parking area.

A great deal of the mountain is off-limits.

However, at Corundum Knob, there is a public rock-hunting area.

This is the designated digging area.

At Corundum Knob, you will find people digging along the creek and up the mountain.

Chunky Gal Mountain prohibits all commercial activity.

Parts of Buck Creek and Chunky Gal Mountain are classified as “special interest areas,” and are protected by the U.S. Forest Service.

The Best Time To Visit For Rockhounding

The best time to go rockhounding at Chunky Gal Mountain is in cooler weather.

The spring season would be best, but people have had a lot of success in the winter.

The wintertime can be safe as long as the temperatures are freezing and conditions are not icy.

During the fall season, it would not be an ideal time as the leaves are falling and covering all of the rock.

This would create more digging and it would be harder to locate rocks.

In the summer months, North Carolina does get hot and humid.

Digging in the heat can be dangerous and place you at risk for heatstroke.

Tips for Rockhounding Beginners

  • One should never go rock hounding alone for safety reasons.
  • If you are a beginner at rock hounding, stick to the basic areas. Do not try to go into the deepest caves or risky cliffs. Start in areas with fewer risks to learn the area and what to do.
  • Conduct research on the area. Don’t go rockhounding blind.
  • Beware of radioactive materials. If you do not know how to handle radioactive areas, it can cause harm to your health.
  • Plan a rockhounding trip without internet access. Be prepared to navigate without GPS. Print off a map before you go.
  • Know the law. Do not break any laws, rock hounding. If there is a no trespassing sign, or no mining area sign, abide by the law.
  • Know what not to collect when you go rock hounding. Certain artifacts cannot be collected and removed from the site. Items you should not collect would include dinosaur bones, vertebrate fossils, creatures with bones, and fossilized tail drag marks by dinosaurs. People are allowed to take pictures of these items, but the artifacts must go untouched.
  • Stay away from human artifacts and human remains. Human artifacts and human remains are protected and cannot be disturbed. These items would also include arrowheads, pottery, and stone tools.
  • Always be on alert of your surroundings. Wildlife resides on the mountain.

Tools and Items for Rockhounding Success

  • Shifting screens
  • Pry bars
  • Small sledge hammer
  • Hand shovel
  • Brushes
  • Rock pick
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Water for hydration
  • Hiking shoes
  • Backpack or bags
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • First aid kit

Other Useful Information

What is Corundum?

Corundum is an extremely hard aluminum oxide.

Corundum is used as an abrasive. Examples of corundum are rubies and sapphires.

What is Smaragdite?

Smaragdite is an emerald green Actinolite.

Due to small amounts of chromium, the emerald green color is created.

Smaragdite is not related to the emerald.

Wrap Up

Rockhounding is a great outdoor activity to be one with nature.

It teaches what rocks are made up of, and how they are formed.

Rockhounding satisfies those with a curious and adventurous heart.

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Chunky Gal Mountain Rockhounding