Rockhounding Near Des Moines, Iowa: 8 Places To Hunt Rocks, Crystals, and Fossils  

There are many great places for rockhounding near Des Moines, Iowa.

Listed below are some of the best places to find rocks, minerals, and crystals in the Des Moines, IA area.

The best time for rockhounding around the Des Moines area is in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler.

Rockhounding Near Des Moines, Iowa

Disclaimer

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.

1. Ledges State Park

Ledges State Park is located in central Iowa, about an hour’s drive from Des Moines.

The park is best known for its 500-foot tall limestone cliffs, which are a popular spot for rock climbers.

However, the park also has rich geology, with many different types of rocks and minerals to be found.

Common finds at Ledges State Park include fossils, quartz crystals, and a variety of sedimentary rocks.

Visitors can also find rarer minerals such as calcite, dolomite, and gypsum.

Ledges State Park is located in central Iowa, just north of the city of Des Moines.

The park is easily accessed from I-35 and is about a 30-minute drive from downtown Des Moines.

2. Pikes Peak State Park

Pikes Peak State Park is located in eastern Iowa, about two hours from Des Moines.

The park is situated atop a 500-foot bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.

Visitors to Pikes Peak State Park can enjoy hiking, camping, and picnicking, as well as stunning views of the river.

The park is also a great place for rockhounding, with many different types of rocks and minerals to be found.

Common finds include fossils, agates, and jaspers.

To get to Pikes Peak State Park, take I-80 west from Des Moines.

Take the exit for IA-141 north and follow the signs for Pikes Peak State Park.

The park is about 30 miles northwest of Des Moines.

3. Maquoketa Caves State Park

Maquoketa Caves State Park is located in eastern Iowa, about two hours from Des Moines.

The park is home to a network of caves, formed by the erosion of soft limestone rock.

Visitors to Maquoketa Caves State Park can explore the caves, hike the trails, and picnic.

The park is also a great place for rockhounding, with many different types of rocks and minerals to be found.

Common finds include fossils, limestone, and dolomite.

To get to Maquoketa Caves State Park in Des Moines, Iowa, take I-80 W to exit 141.

Then, turn left onto County Road G56 and continue for about 2 miles.

Finally, turn right to access the park entrance.

4. Mines of Spain State Recreation Area

Mines of Spain State Recreation Area is located in eastern Iowa, about two hours from Des Moines.

The park is home to a network of caves, formed by the erosion of soft limestone rock.

Visitors to the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area can explore the caves, hike the trails, and picnic.

The park is also a great place for rockhounding, with many different types of rocks and minerals to be found.

Common finds include fossils, limestone, and dolomite.

To find the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, take Highway 20 east out of Des Moines.

After about 10 miles, take the exit for Highway 63 north.

Follow Highway 63 for about 3 miles until you see the sign for the recreation area on the left.

Take the left turn and follow the road into the park.

5. Wapsipinicon State Park

Wapsipinicon State Park is located in eastern Iowa, about two hours from Des Moines.

The park is situated along the Wapsipinicon River and is a popular spot for fishing, camping, and hiking.

Visitors to Wapsipinicon State Park can also enjoy stunning views of the river.

The park is also a great place for rockhounding, with many different types of rocks and minerals to be found.

Common finds include fossils, agates, and jaspers.

From Des Moines, take I-35 south to Exit 147 (Wapsipinicon State Park/Anamosa exit).

Take a right off the exit and follow the signs to the park.

The entrance road is about 3 miles long. Once you enter the park, follow the signs to the campground.

6. Yellow Banks Park

Yellow Banks Park is located in central Iowa, about an hour’s drive from Des Moines.

The park is situated along the Des Moines River and is a popular spot for fishing, camping, and hiking.

Visitors to Yellow Banks Park can also enjoy stunning views of the river.

The park is also a great place for rockhounding, with many different types of rocks and minerals to be found.

Common finds include fossils, agates, and jaspers.

To get to Yellow Banks Park in Des Moines, Iowa, take I-35 south from Ames for about 25 miles.

Take exit 92 for Iowa Highway 163/Grand Avenue.

Turn left on Grand Avenue and continue for about two miles.

Then turn right onto Indianola Avenue and continue for another mile. The park will be on your left.

7. Big Creek State Park

Big Creek State Park is located in central Iowa, about an hour’s drive from Des Moines.

The park is situated along the Des Moines River and is a popular spot for fishing, camping, and hiking.

Visitors to Big Creek State Park can also enjoy stunning views of the river.

The park is also a great place for rockhounding, with many different types of rocks and minerals to be found.

Common finds include fossils, agates, and jaspers.

There are a few different ways to get to Big Creek State Park in Des Moines, Iowa.

Depending on where you’re coming from, you can take I-35, Highway 65, or Highway 5.

If you’re coming from the north, take I-35 south to Highway 65.

Then take Highway 65 south until you reach the park. If you’re coming from the south, take I-35 north to Highway 5.

Then take Highway 5 north until you reach the park.

8. Bondurant City Park

Bondurant City Park is located in central Iowa, about a half-hour’s drive from Des Moines.

The park is situated along the Des Moines River and is a popular spot for fishing, camping, and hiking.

Visitors to Bondurant City Park can also enjoy stunning views of the river.

The park is also a great place for rockhounding, with many different types of rocks and minerals to be found.

Common finds include fossils, agates, and jaspers.

From I-235, take the 63rd Street exit and turn onto 63rd Street. Drive north on 63rd Street for 1.5 miles and then turn left (west) onto University Avenue.

Continue on University Avenue for 0.7 miles and then turn right (north) into the Bondurant City Park entrance.

Once you are in the park, follow the main road as it curves to the left and then takes the first right turn. This will take you to the Bondurant City Park playground.

The parks listed above are just a few of the great rockhounding spots near Des Moines, Iowa.

With so many different types of rocks and minerals to be found, there’s something for everyone.

So get out there and start exploring!

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Rockhounding Near Des Moines