Did you know that the State of Kansas is part of one of the most famous rockhounding districts in the United States? We know the State of Kansas for its vast agricultural and natural resources, including minerals, rocks, and gemstones.
Read on to learn more about 5 of the best rockhounding spots in Kansas and the array of natural treasures hiding just beneath the surface for rockhounds to find.
Rockhounding Kansas: 5 Places To Hunt Rocks, Crystals, and Fossils
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.
The dictionary defines rockhounding as ” the activity of searching for and collecting rocks, fossils, or minerals. Rockhounding is a hobby and a favorite pastime of amateur mineral and rock collectors worldwide. “We call people who take part in these searches for fossils, rocks, and minerals “rockhounds.”
It is an affordable and satisfying hobby that is easy to start — no tools required. Rockhounds searching for buried treasures in Kansas are more likely to find rocks, crystals, and fossils like petrified wood near lakes and streams.
Some of the state’s resources include large oil and gas reserves and topography carved out by the raging Missouri River. In Kansas, you can find a range of minerals and crystals, including galena, lead, zinc, quartz crystal clusters, and fossils in mineral-rich areas along its waterways and the Southeastern part of the state.
The Tri-State Mining District – Kansas
Some of the best rockhounding hotspots in Southeast Kansas are in the Tri-State Mining District. We know the Tri-State mining district for its rich mineral, crystal, and fossil resources. The Tri-State Mining District is a geologically active area that spans parts of Kansas, Missouri, and parts of northeast Oklahoma in the Midwest.
Miners, geologists, and rockhounds have been looking for crystals, rocks, and fossils in the southeast corner of Kansas near the town of Joplin, Missouri since the mid-1800s. According to the mineral experts at mindat.org, we currently find at least 59 valid minerals naturally occurring in this area.
Below is a list of 5 popular rockhounding hotspots in southeast Kansas and what you can find in each location.
The locations listed below may or not be currently open for mining. Check local resources and get the required permissions from local authorities and landowners before collecting.
#1. – Lawyers Mine, Treece, Pitcher Field, Cherokee County, Kansas, USA
The mining of gemstones in Lawyers Mine started in 1873. We know the Lawyers mine area for producing amethysts, topaz, lepidolites, and other minerals.
They named this area “Pitcher Field” because they found mineral deposits in areas where they used pitchers to collect water when this area was more active.
Location: South of the intersection of US 166 and US 59 near the border of Kansas and Oklahoma.
#2. – Lucky Jew Mine, Treece, Pitcher Field, Cherokee County, Kansas, USA crystals
The Lucky Jew mining area encompasses a small mine in Treece, Pitcher Field, Cherokee County, Kansas, and the surrounding areas. The mine has been closed since the 1960s and is no longer operational.
Miners discovered the Jew Mine in 1899 and produced crystals of galena from 1905 until it closed down in the 1960s. Rockhounds still find valuable gemstones in and around the nearby area.
Location: Northeast of Lawyers Mine in Kansas off US 166.
#3. – The City of Galena, Kansas
The city of Galena is home to several types of gemstones, including amethyst, sapphire, turquoise, and topaz. All these stones have various benefits that those who own them can enjoy.
We know this area for producing a variety of the state’s most valuable resources and being close to other mineral-rich rockhounding locales.
Location: East of the Kansas and Missouri state line, near the intersection of US 166 and US 400.
#4. – Big Coon Mine, Galena, Picher Field, Cherokee Co., Kansas, USA
The Coon Mine, also known as the Galena Mine, is a historic placer mine in Cherokee County, Kansas.
A party led by General Samuel C. Crawford discovered the mine in 1859 and it operated intermittently until 1896.
It produced galena and other minerals from silver ore mined from local hillsides.
The Big Coon Mine is a large copper ore deposit in the Picher Field of Cherokee County, Kansas.
They discovered the mine in 1877 and we knew it to produce significant amounts of copper until it officially closed in 1957.
Today, meticulous rockhounds searching near the Big Coon Mine can find galena, cuprite, chrysocolla, and more!
Location: East of the Kansas and Missouri state line, near the intersection of US 166 and US 400
#5. – Baxter Springs, Galena, Pitcher Field, Cherokee Co
Baxter Springs in southeast Kansas is a mining area that features a mining museum previously known for its active lead, galena, and zinc mines.
Rockhounds exploring nearby areas have discovered galena crystals that range between 18-25mm. Other nearby mining areas in this district include the Short Creek and Shoal Creek mines.
Location: South of Galena off US Route 66 near the intersection of 5-mile road and the Oklahoma state border.
Rocks, Minerals, Crystals, and Fossils in Kansas
With a bit of preparation and research, you can find plenty of hidden treasures, like crystals, minerals, and rocks, across the state.
Below are a few tips on how to locate crystals, rocks, and fossils for rockhounds in Kansas:
1 – Start by researching the local geology – This will help you identify potential mining districts and mineral-rich areas that you may not have thought of before. Google maps can be a great tool for locating specific sites or looking up diagrams of specific geographical features.
2 – Be observant. Many mineral-rich areas go unnoticed because people rarely explore small rocks for minerals. Look carefully at anything that interests you!
Kansas – Rocks, Crystals, and Minerals
Rockhounds in Kansas regularly report finding the following natural resources.
- Petrified Wood
Learn more about rocks, crystals, and fossils in Kansas using the resources below.
Mindat.org – National resource for mining crystals, gemstones, and fossils in the United States.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – Rules, regulations, and records of mining and mineral resources in the US.
State of Kansas – Learn more about the rules and regulations required for legal rockhounding in Kansas.