Rockhounding Chattanooga, TN: 7 Must-Visit Ideas To Find Cool Rocks and Minerals

As Tennessee’s fourth-largest city, Chattanooga is a popular tourist attraction for a number of reasons.

Southern food, historical attractions, and exciting weekend trips are popular with visitors.

It is also known as an excellent location for finding beautiful rocks and crystals from the great state of Tennessee.

If you’re wondering where you can find the best places to find rocks in Chattanooga, TN, below are seven different options for you.

Rockhounding Chattanooga (A Guide)


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.

Raccoon Mountain

Nature lovers looking for relaxation and comfort can enjoy Raccoon Mountain’s beautiful surroundings.

Raccoon Mountain Caverns & Campground offers people the opportunity to explore the mountains in a safe way.

There is a fee for staying at the campgrounds, which can be found on their website.

While at the campground, you can go panning to search for gemstones on the mountain.

Some of the gems people have found on the mountain are listed below:

  • Ruby
  • Raspberry Quartz
  • Rose Quartz
  • Sapphire
  • Obsidian
  • Citrine
  • Emeralds

It is also possible to find fossils and arrowheads in the mountains if you’re lucky.

You can keep the gems and fossils you find in the mountains.

If you do not find the gem or rock you are looking for, you might be able to find it in their shop.

As a rock fan, exploring the Crystal Palace Walking tour is another activity you can enjoy in the mountains. 

An hour of guided walking is spent exploring the cave with the guide who will share its history.

As you explore the cave, you can observe some of the crystals that have formed naturally, as well as some of the wildlife that lives there.

If you would like to do any of these activities while in the mountains, keep in mind there are fees.

Ruby Falls

Another breath-taking adventure awaits on Lookout Mountain thanks to this tourist attraction.

Ruby Falls allows visitors to explore the caves to reach a spot to view a beautiful waterfall underground. 

You can only explore the caves during certain times of the year, so be sure to check their websites when it’s open to doing so.

There are also fees for being able to enter the park and caves. 

Although you cannot go rock collecting in the caves, you can view crystals and rocks that have formed over thousands of years in the cave’s natural environment.

In addition, there are trails along the park allowing you to explore Lookout Mountain, and you may find spots where you can go rock hounding.

Rock City

Rock City is one of the main attractions known to the city of Chattanooga in Tennesse.

It is just six miles away from downtown Chattanooga and located on top of Lookout Mountain.

The enormous ancient rock formations of Rock City provide breathtaking views of the beauty of nature.

You can discover natural beauty and wonders along the Enchanted Trail as you stroll through the woodland path if you enjoy rock collecting.

You are able to visit Rock City at any time of the year, and there are fees for entering the area.

Often during the springtime, the park holds a RockQuest for kids.

Children can go on a rock scavenger hunt on the few trails on Lookout Mountain. 

Rock City’s website has more information about the Spring Break Safari.

For adults, you should be able to find some rocks on the Enchanted Trail and throughout Lookout Mountain.

Some of the rocks and minerals you can find along the trails: Geodes, Asper, Pyrite, Agate, and Unakite.

Tennessee River

The only large river canyon along the Cumberland Plateau borders a midsize city, the Tennessee River Gorge.

The Tennessee River is just a short drive away from downtown Chattanooga.

You can spend a couple of nights in the Tennessee River Gorge Island Cabins to give you enough time to explore the area for rock collecting. 

Of course, you will have to pay to stay in one of the cabins although the cost is not expensive.

However, if you prefer not to stay in a cabin and go rock collecting for a day, there are plenty of parking spaces you can find close to the trails.

The short trails and long hikes along the river allow you to find plenty of river stones.

Some of the other stones and crystals people have seen around the creeks are Quartz Crystals, Jasper, Agate, and Geodes.

North Chickamauga Creek Gorge

One of the most beautiful deep gorges in Tennessee is located in North Chickamauga Creek Gorge, located 15 miles from downtown Chattanooga.

About 10 miles in length, it is steep, rugged, and covered in forested slopes with minimal access.

Chattanooga’s North Chickamauga Creek is one of the main tributaries to the Tennessee River. 

This gorge is part of the upper part of the 32-mile creek.

The trail is a part of the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail that you can walk all year long.

However, it is advised to check the creek’s water levels before your hike.

If you go the trail through Rock City, there is a fee of three dollars, although all other activities such as rock collecting are free.

Some of the rocks and crystals you can find along the creek are Jasper, Agate, Greasy Cove, and Fluorite. 

See also: How To Clean River Rocks?

Ritchie Hollow Trail

Ritchie Hollow Trail is another hike along the Tennessee River, and it is located twenty-three minutes away from downtown Chattanooga.

The hike is a four-mile round trip and can be pretty steep in some areas.

Markings and maintenance are good on the trail.

However, some spots have rocks and tricky footing, especially in steep areas.

Suppose you prefer to go when fewer people are on the trails, then consider going during the colder months.

Then, during the rainy season, after a good storm, you can see the beauty of the waterfalls in full effect.

There is plenty of parking space around the area to reach the trail, and there are no fees.

Some of the rocks and minerals you can find along the creek are agate, calcite, fluorite, and quartz crystals.

Snooper’s Rock Trail

Snoopers Rock Trail is a part of the Prentice Cooper State Forest in Tennessee.

The 5.9-mile trail is a well-traveled out-and-back trail located 30 minutes away from Chattanooga.

The trail is popular with hikers, walkers, bird watchers, and nature lovers from March until October. 

The trail is also dog-friendly, but dogs must be on a leash.

Around the area of Indian Rockhouse is where you can find the best places to collect rocks and minerals.

Some of the stones and crystals you can see are Agate, Freshwater Pearls, Amethyst, and Unakite.

There are a number of creek crossings.

Whenever it rains, the water will run over the rocks used to cross. Other than that, the crossing is easy.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, the great city of Chattanooga takes pride in its natural beauty and habits.

Visiting the city will let you experience both the city and the outdoors at the same time.

However, while searching for rocks and minerals along the river banks, be careful as it can sometimes be dangerous. 

What did you think about our post on rock hounding in Chattanooga, Tennessee? Did we miss a few spots? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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Rockhounding Chattanooga