Rockhounding Carlsbad, New Mexico: 9 Places To Hunt Rocks, Crystals, and Fossils  

New Mexico is one of the best states for digging for rock hound enthusiasts.

The vast grasslands and open deserts make it a popular rock collecting destination.

These nine rockhounding spots near Carlsbad, New Mexico, are just a few to check out for those who want to explore. So now, let’s get started!

Rockhounding Carlsbad, New Mexico


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.

1. Lake Arthur

Lake Arthur is an hour’s drive from the city of Carlsbad in New Mexico.

Despite its name, it’s not a lake, but a small town with a population of a little over 400.

There may not be much to do in Lake Arthur, New Mexico, but you can find some places near the town to dig for rocks.

For example, around Cottonwood Creek, you can find some spots to go looking for aragonite crystals.

Within the pits and gravels of the town, you may also be able to find dolomite, gypsum, and quartz crystals.

The only rule before you start digging is to make sure you are not on anyone’s private property or at least ask for permission.

2. Artesia

The city of Artesia in New Mexico is located about 40 minutes north of Carlsbad.

There is a distinct sense of small-town culture in the city that dates back to the 1800s.

The town was once a popular destination for homesteaders and was part of John Chisum’s cattle empire because of its Artesian water supply.

Within the city’s hills, you can find places to go rockhounding.

Some of the rocks and minerals you can find are malachite and fluorite.

The Pecos River also runs through the city and is a popular area to find Pecos diamonds or quartz crystals.

3. Roswell

The city of Roswell is approximately an hour and sixteen minutes from Carlsbad.

It is well known that Roswell was the location of the 1947 UFO crash.

There is even a museum to learn more about this event.

The Pecos River runs through the city, which helps make it a popular area to go rockhounding.

Along the river, you can find plenty of quartz crystals n many different colors and sizes.

Some of the most common colors you can find are clear, blue, and pink.

You can find other rocks and minerals are aragonite, augite, dolomite, gypsum, and kaolinite.

You can also find magnetite, plagioclase, and pyrite.

4. Whites City

It takes about 24 minutes to drive to Whites City from Carlsbad, New Mexico, located southeast of the city.

Whites City is a small unincorporated town with a population under 100.

Right before you reach the town is an old gypsum mine abandoned since the early 1900s.

You can find the minerals gypsum, limestones, onyx, and quartz crystals.

5. Bent

A little over a two-hour drive from Carlsbad, New Mexico, is the city of Bent.

It is another small town with a population of under 200.

Near the city is Tularosa Creek, which is a hot spot for finding the Mexican onyx mineral.

The other rocks and minerals you can find are gypsum and alabaster.

6. Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Within the city limits of Carlsbad is the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

There are over 100 caves for visitors to explore as part of the Chihuahuan Desert.

You can adventure into the Carlsbad Caverns from the entrance known for its stalactites.

Next, travel through the Walnut Canyon Desert Loop and Rattlesnake Springs to explore the desert and wetlands of the area.

This national park contains many rocks and minerals, including aragonite, calcite, and dolomite.

Below are other minerals you can find:

  • Epsomite
  • Fluorapatite
  • Jarosite
  • Magnesite
  • Quartz crystals
  • Saponite
  • Sulfur

The only thing is you can not collect any of the minerals and take them home with you.

However, it’s still a nice destination for rock hound lovers to take a family trip to experience the beauty of New Mexico.

There is an entrance fee of $15.00 for those 16 and older.

Children who are younger than 16 can get in for free.

If you would like to hike around the cavern, you can only do so between 8:30 am to 2:30 pm.

During the summer it’s hot, so be sure to bring extra water with you.

The best time to visit is during the cooler months between August and November if you do not like the heat.

To learn more about Carlsbad Caverns, visit their website here.

7. Loco Hills

Loco Hills is another small place you can explore near Carlsbad, New Mexico.

It is about 41 minutes away by car from the city, and it is a short distance of 41.6 miles.

Within the gravels of the small town, you can find places to go digging for rocks and crystals.

Some of the minerals you can find are copper, potash, molybdenum, uranium, and silver.

8. Wills-Weaver Mine

The Wills-Weaver Mine is an old mine located a short distance from Loco Hills.

It takes about the same time to drive to the mine from Carlsbad as to Loco Hills.

The mine is a part of the Carlsbad Potash mining district and is a popular area to find abundant mineral Potash.

You can also find sylvite, jasper, quartz, and opal minerals.

9. Lincoln National Park

Another nice state area for you to visit is the Lincoln National Park in New Mexico.

It is an hour and twenty-minute drive from the city of Carlsbad.

The park has three major mountain ranges running through its land.

The Sacramento, Guadalupe, and Captian ranges cover 1.1 million acres in the southeast of New Mexico.

The best part of visiting this national park is you can collect rocks and keep them for yourself.

Remember, some activities require you to have a pass, which you can learn more about here.

Some of the rocks and minerals you can find are calcite, kaolinite, turquoise, galena, and quartz.

Rockhounding Resources

If you like having a physical book in hand (especially good when you have no cell service), check out:

Rockhounding New Mexico (140 Sites To Check Out)

Rockhounding New Mexico (by Stephen Voynick)

Roadside Geology of Mexico

Gem Trails of New Mexico

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Rockhounding Carlsbad