This article will share some get started ideas for places to find cool rocks within a two-hour drive of Duluth, Minnesota.
Rockhounding Near Duluth, Minnesota (Let’s Go)
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.
Here is a list of where to go and what to keep an eye open for when scouring the Northland for these gems in the rough.
Moose Lake is just 38 Mins south of Duluth.
It is a popular area for rockhounding and some of the biggest Lake Superior Agates have been picked from the numerous gravel pits in the area.
Streams and lakebeds abound and even a leisurely walk along nearby dirt roads have been shown to produce some good-sized agates.
What else can be found in Moose Lake area: geodes, fossils, gold, yooper lites, and amethyst.
Cloquet is North of Moose Lake and West of Duluth and offers some good opportunities.
Be sure to get permission from landowners.
A popular place with rockhounds is Get Pickin, Address is 3749 Hwy 33 N.
It offers the chance to find not only Lake Superior agates but quartz and other rocks from the area. Bring a shovel and have some family fun!
You might find graywacke, olivine, gypsum, hematite, calcite, pyroxene, limonite, amphibole, muscovite in the Cloquet area.
Jay Cooke State Park
Jay Cooke State Park is 20 minutes east of Cloquet heading toward Duluth.
You may get lucky and find garnet, greenalite, magnetite, marcasite, and pyrite.
A permit is required at all 75 State parks in Minnesota.
One permit is all that is needed to access every park (cost is $35/yr.) and is displayed inside of your windshield.
A $5 day pass can be purchased.
The best time to visit Minnesota for rock hunting is late spring (May, June) when the snow is melted through late Autumn when the fall foliage is at its peak.
Jay Cooke terrain is rocky and requires sturdy shoes.
There are picnic tables available and rest rooms.
It is important to note that in any State Park you will need permission to remove any material found there.
Head Across the Bridge
Just across the bridge from Duluth is Superior, Wisconsin and more opportunities for rockhounding.
There you can find Lake Superior agate and most of the other rock and minerals that are highlighted in this article.
The most obvious places to search are riverbeds, streams and lakeshores.
Of course, separate permits will be required, as Superior is in the State of Wisconsin.
Stretching 8 miles from Bayfront to Brighton Beach, the lake walk is a favorite tourist destination for rockhounds.
Stepping off the beaten path (when it is clearly safe to do so) is the best way to explore and find the Minnesota State Gem.
Stoney Point Road
Scenic drive off the highway to a public access. No permit is required.
Flood Bay State Wayside
If you are looking for a nice long pebble beach to amble along and search for agates or other rocks, this is a good stop. Have you picnic basket ready. No permit is required.
Iona’s Beach Scientific & Natural Area
An expansive beach nestled between bedrock, cliffs and rhyolite.
Shards of pink rhyolite can be found here as well as a host of natural resources and education for the family.
This is an easy hike for the whole family.
Scenic Highway 61 is host to many opportunities.
Cut Face Creek Wayside
One hour North of Duluth, agate hunting is coupled with spectacular panoramic views of Lake Superior.
Thomsonite crystals may be spotted as well as prehnite and calcite.
One hour and forty-two minutes north of Duluth is Lutsen resort, which is home to a pebble cove that people travel from miles around to visit.
There is a split beach and plenty of opportunities for rock hunting.
Bits of quartz have been found, along with greenstone and black basalt. Of course, there is a good chance of finding some agate as well.
The Iron Range
There are a variety of agate found which are different than Lake Superior Agate and require a keen eye to spot after seeking the State’s Gem.
You can discover these types of rock and mineral on the Iron Range: agate, jasper, marcasite, pyrite, and goethite.
This region is slightly North and West of Duluth, under a two-hour drive and is home to many pit lakes, back roads and gravel pits.
This area is known for its mining and to explore within this beautiful area it would be best to own an ATV and a GPS in order to access the vast trails between these pits.
Be advised that some trails are difficult to travel. Never ATV alone!
There are many areas that can be accessed by car and bike trails abound as well, so there are plenty of opportunities to rock hunt on the Iron Range.
People come from all over to explore the mining pits and many dumpsites.
There are plenty of backroads that offer opportunities for rock hounding, all of which are easily accessible by car in the summer months.
A full tank of gas and GPS is recommended when exploring the iron range.
Many roads will lead to a lake or run along a river or stream. Lots of rocks to pick through. Be sure to get the permission of a landowner if it is posted.
There is plenty of State-owned land as well that is free to travel through, unless it is a Park.
Summer visitors will want to carry a supply of bug repellent.
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