Colorado is well known for gems and minerals.
Located at the mountainside in the Pike National Forest, Colorado, is Devil’s Head, famous for rockhounding.
Here you can find rocks such as Fluorite, Topaz, Hematite, Amazonite, and Smoky Quartz.
Devil’s Head Rockhounding (Let’s Go)
The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com 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.
Learn About Devil’s Head Before Visiting
As a first-time visitor to Devil’s Head, you must familiarize yourself with the area’s information to have a successful stone collection trip.
Devil’s Head Trail is one of the most popular hikes and is one hour fifteen minutes from the center of Denver.
You can get there via Highway 85, from Sedalia—the closest town.
You can also take State Highway 67, which is to the West of the Indian Creek Work Center.
Then, drive on Rampart Range Road, which leads to the trailhead.
You can access the Devil’s Head Trail from the trailhead.
The great rock formations trail is 1.4 miles long and takes approximately 50-90 minutes on a one-way hike.
The best time to visit Devil’s Head is during summer.
The stone collecting area is on both sides of the Rampart Range Road (to the north and the south).
This area is also known as the Devil’s Head Mountain or Platte Mountain.
Note: Rampart Range Road remains closed throughout the winter. The road reopens during favorable summer conditions.
Follow Correct Rockhounding Procedures
Devil’s Headstone collection activity offers visitors plenty of room for discovery and exploration.
You can find everything from Amazonite smoky quartz to Topaz on this trail, and it’s best to collect the stones when it is not snowy.
Your safety is vital, and you should always carry some safety gear with you.
Below is a list of items you should take while going for the Devil’s Head stone hunt.
- Heavy gloves
- Pick-axe or a rock hammer
- Magnifying lens
- The desired size collection bag
- A shovel
- A gem collection guidebook
- A tub of water- to wash dirt from your stones
Some stones are just ordinary-looking, and you may overlook them easily.
The collection guidebook will come in handy during your collection because it will give you clues about what to look for.
It will guide you in identifying different stones based on their color, hue, saturation, transparency, and specific gravity.
The most common method that you will use for stone collection at the Devil’s Head Trail is digging through the soil with a pick-ax.
The second method you can use to collect rocks is by searching through the piles of other digs made earlier.
Lastly, you can opt to find a float and follow it.
The floating of stones is due to natural forces like rain, wind, or earthquake.
There are two specific sites named Virgin Bath and Long Hollow.
These two areas have good pockets, and most gems from the Devil’s Head have come from them in the past.
Learn the Types of Stones Found at Devil’s Head Trail
Devil’s Head is a beautiful area and has a wide range of stones you can collect when you go rockhounding.
The most common stones present in this area include:
The most indicative of a possible dug spot in Devil’s Head is Quartz.
Almost immediately, you will find quartz crystals in already dug spots.
Unfortunately, the smoky quartz crystals that you will collect from dug spots are covered in milky white quartz.
The milky white quartz is unattractive and hence not suitable for collection.
The best option you can take is to dig up, and you might discover a pocket.
Digging up will get you better quality quartz crystals.
It would help if you also consider digging through the tailings of sand because other crystals may be slightly buried.
It is important to note that quartz crystals are mixed with other rocks like crystalline feldspar.
The presence of crystalline feldspar indicates that the area is more likely to be productive, and you can find the highest quality of quartz there.
The best way to acquire Topaz is through digging in the crystal pockets.
To identify pockets is by looking for features different from the rest of the area.
If you’re lucky enough in your rockhounding experience, you will stumble on crystal pockets.
The area of the Devil’s Head that has resisted weathering is suitable for digging because it is likely to hold good quality Topaz.
Topaz stones are known for glimmering when exposed to the sun.
You will need to wash Topaz to see its color. It might be reddish-brown, colorless, or even pale yellow.
Hematite has an opaque nature and uneven fractures.
You can use the float theory to collect hematite at the Devil’s Head.
You can identify broken and damaged pieces of hematite by looking out for their source.
Hematite is rhombohedral-shaped, and its discs measure around 2.5 cm across.
Devil’s Head is a remarkable place to collect fluorite.
Although fluorite crystals are not very common in this area, you can still collect them at the site.
Fluorite is purple with transparent crystals.
You can collect Amazonite in the batholith area of Devil’s Head Trail.
The crystals can be up to 6 inches long.
The quality of Amazonite is inferior compared to that of other rocks collected around this area.
The batholith is tough, and digging through it is hard.
With the right equipment to dig, you will successfully pull out Amazonite.
Amazonite and smoky quartz are mostly found together.
The Amazonite is more brittle, and it chips a lot.
Follow these Guidelines for a Successful Rockhounding
Here are the guidelines for a successful rockhounding at the Devil’s Head:-
- Search for rocks in approved areas of Devil’s Head Trail only. Digging on private property is prohibited.
- There are limits to which you can collect rocks. You are allowed to collect up to 25 pounds of gems per day, which equates to 250 pounds per year. This includes rocks, minerals, and fossils.
- The rocks you collect can only be for your personal use. Selling of these stones is not allowed.
- Most people carry out rockhounding as a recreational activity. If you want to carry out serious and extensive collecting, you must acquire legal rights.
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