Ohio is a great place to go rockhounding.
Here are just a few suggestions that anyone who enjoys the hobby should check out.
Rockhounding Dayton (A Visitor’s Guide)
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Ohio has a great variety of rock specimens and no shortage of places to go hunting for them, particularly when it comes to the Dayton area.
The state is rich in flint, which is the official state gemstone, while calcite, amethyst, pyrite, quartz, fluorite and celestite are also in the state, along with the rare diamond.
There are some places where you can hunt for geodes in Ohio, too, though these are less common.
No rockhounding trip to Ohio is complete without a stop at Crystal Cave in Put-In-Bay.
This cave is known as the World’s Largest Geode.
It is totally lined in celestite crystals and it is truly a sight to behold.
This is a good distance away from Dayton but it’s well worth the trip.
The natural formations here are unforgettable.
This cave was discovered on the grounds of a winery.
Tours of both the winery and the cave are offered.
Inside, the crystal grows from about 8 to 18 inches long.
You can’t take any home with you but you can marvel at this incredible natural wonder and get a look at crystals in all their glory.
Oakes Quarry Park
Oakes Quarry Park is a 25-minute drive from Dayton, Ohio.
This site was surface-mined in the 1920s because of its natural limestone.
Today, it’s a beautiful park full of trails, birding and areas where rock is still exposed from the previous mining operations here.
The natural rocky areas are stunning and they still have some treasures to yield.
Around 440 million years ago, this was a shallow sea.
Fossils dating to this period have been discovered by researchers.
This is still a great place to look for rocks and fossils and there may still be some pretty big finds just waiting here.
There are brachiopods, crinoids and Silurian age marine fossils here.
That’s millions of years of history just sitting on the ground.
See Also: Do Metamorphic Rocks Have Fossils?
Caesar Creek State Park
About 40 minutes from downtown Dayton, Caesar Creek State Park is a beautiful area that has its own marina, campground and a wooded ravine that’s truly awe-inspiring.
You can enjoy pretty much any outdoor activity here, including rockhounding.
This is a great spot to go looking for fossils.
However, it’s wise to mind all the “no climbing” signs.
Only look for rocks and fossils where it’s safe to do so.
There’s any number of finds that could be made here, from sedimentary rocks to fossils of all kinds.
Though it’s about two hours by car away from Dayton, the Shade River near Lodi Township is a great place for rockhounds.
This is a fossil-rich area that’s so well known for rocks and fossils, there’s a street named Fossil Run Road nearby.
This is actually a great place to center your search for fossils.
If you’re passionate about finding pieces of history that are millions of years old, Shade River is definitely worth the drive.
Old Lewisburg Limestone Mine
The area around the Old Lewisburg Limestone Mine is known as a rock hotspot.
It’s in Lewisburg, not far outside of Dayton, and there are mine tours available through most of the year.
Take a look around the area to find some cool rock formations and possibly make some geode discoveries.
However, the old mine does have a local reputation for being haunted.
There’s all sorts of interesting history around this area!
The Huffman Dam is a park and historic area near Dayton that’s famous for an enormous fossil find.
There is still plenty to discover along the banks of Mad River.
Workers building the dam discovered a huge trilobite fossil in 1919.
It’s one of the largest complete trilobite fossils ever found and it is Ohio’s state fossil.
The Huffman Dam Trilobite has been on display at the Smithsonian Institution for more than a century after being donated to the museum.
There may still be fossils waiting to be found all around this area.
Just about an hour outside Dayton, you’ll find Ohio Caverns.
Here, you can get your own mining rough area that’s been pre-loaded with arrowheads, fossils, minerals and gems.
It’s a good way to get a feel for rockhounding.
And sometimes, you may even find emeralds.
All supplies and equipment are provided.
Anyone who is just starting out in rockhounding or just wants to give it a shot can come here to really get a feel for it and have a fun experience.
The Ohio Caverns are known as “America’s most colorful caverns.”
The Caverns are ideal for individuals or groups who want to get to know a little more about rockhounding.
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Just about 15 minutes outside of downtown Dayton, you’ll find Possum Creek.
This is a great place to go geocaching that’s not far from the city.
Possum Creek has lots of trails and fishing areas where you can go searching for rocks.
This is also a geocaching spot, for those who enjoy that hobby.
Use GPS to discover a geocache of some interesting item or items while you’re hunting for rocks.
The park is free to visit and has free parking.
Pets are welcome and there are lots of different amenities and features in the park.
This way, friends and loved ones can find something to do while the serious rock hunters go to work!
Old River Park
Located right in Dayton, Old River Park is an open-air history museum where you can learn a lot more about Dayton history.
The park itself is a historic site and they might not want you digging it up, but the area all around the park is ripe for rock-hunting.
The nearby water and the overall richness of the region provide plenty of opportunities for interesting finds.
You may find many rocks and fossils in the area, as Dayton is a potentially rich source of many different types of local geological finds.
Canal Lock Park
You’ll find Canal Lock Park right on the outskirts of Dayton.
It’s a small park but a potentially great source for finding rocks.
The natural terrain is rocky watery in places, not to mention beautiful all through the year.
Even if you don’t find any rocks here, you will find a lot of natural loveliness and some great hiking trails that are somewhat off the beaten path.
Keep your eyes sharp and you never know what you might find here.
Located in the heart of several historic sites in Dayton, including the Wright Brothers National Museum, Carillon Historical Park is a good place to go searching for cool rocks.
The historical park is a great place to visit any time to learn more about Dayton history but it’s also an area that’s potentially rich in great finds.
The Great 1913 Flood heavily damaged the area, potentially leaving behind all sorts of rocks, gems and fossils from long-ago days that reach far back through time.
Rockhounding is a fun way to learn more about the minerals and rocks that make up the composition of the Earth.
This is one of the only hobbies where you can experience the thrill of holding millions of years of history in your hands and Dayton is a great place to start looking for these amazing little relics from the past.
Carry With You
If you are planning a hike where there will be rocks to pick through, consider packing one of the following:
- National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals (small book with pretty colored pictures to help identification)
- National Audubon Society Field Guide To North American Fossils (small book with pictures)
- Gemstone & Crystals Properties (durable fold-up guide)
- Small UV Flashlight
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