Rockhounding Near El Paso, TX: 5 Places To Hunt Rocks, Crystals, and Fossils

Texas is an amazing place to hunt for rocks.

In the article that follows, you’ll learn about where a visitor to El Paso could sneak away to do a little rock hunting.

Rockhounding Near El Paso (A Visitor’s 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.

Rockhounding on your next day off can be a great way to explore the geology surrounding El Paso, TX, and get some quality time out in nature while you’re at it!

There’s no shortage of popular spots to go gem, mineral, and crystal hunting, but the real trick is finding those hidden gems (pun intended) that the majority don’t know about.

Texas has very diverse geography where you’ll be able to find: Banded Agate, Purple Amethyst, Celestite, Red Cinnabar, Pink Granite, Llanite, Petrified Wood, Tektites, Topaz, Quartz, and more!

In this guide, we’re going to walk through the best rockhounding location near El Paso, sticking to a commuting radius of approximately 1-2 hrs at most.

Ready to go rock hunting? Let’s get to it! 

Rockhound State Park in Deming, NM

About 100 miles west of El Paso is a small town in New Mexico called Deming.

Within Deming, you can find Rockhound State Park, which contains paved roads leading to the park, and a variety of minerals and geodes that can be picked up off the ground.

Rockhound State Park has a number of trails, contains a swimming beach, and has no shortage of camping in the vicinity.

Don’t forget to bring your rock searching tools (wire brushes, rock picks, and a good hammer are an absolute must).

You can also visit Mr. Blackwells Rock Store while you’re in Rockhound State Park.

If you’ve managed to miss a quartz crystal or want a unique Agate souvenir to take home, you’ll be able to pick one up in this small friendly shop.

Distance from El Paso: 

~102 miles, ~1hr 36 min commute

Rocks, Minerals, or Crystals Present: 

Agates, Quartz Crystal, Geodes can be found on the ground

Cost, Terrain, and Special Considerations: 

Rockhound State Park is a State Park in New Mexico, and state park entry rules apply.

Paved roads are available for getting into the park, so 4-wheel drive vehicles aren’t strictly required unless you plan to go off-road.

For camping rates, the typical Electric Site cost is ~$14, and there’s an additional $4 per day fee for any online reservations.

Sierra Blanca, TX

About 90 miles southeast of El Paso is a quaint little town called Sierra Blanca.

For rock and mineral hunters, Sierra Blanca is well-known for its multitude of Agates and Amethyst Geodes that can be found in the surrounding area.

Rockhounds can also find a variety of petrified wood and jasper.

Distance from El Paso: 

~90 miles, ~1hr 24 min commute

Rocks, Minerals, or Crystals Present: 

Agates, Amethyst in Geodes, Jasper, and Petrified Wood

Cost, Terrain, and Special Considerations: 

Compared to state parks and well-known destinations like Rockhound State Park, Sierra Blanca is more of a “create your own adventure” type of rockhounding experience.

Be prepared to go off-road, explore the surrounding terrain, and dig in hills/mountainsides around the area.

We’d recommend a 4-wheel drive vehicle that can handle off-road driving with ease (you don’t want to get stuck out in the desert!)

Additionally, we’d highly recommend you bring extra food, rations, plenty of water, and let an emergency contact know your location – these are always great safety precautions to take when rockhounding out in the desert independently. 

Plata Verde Mines, TX

The Plata Verde Mines southeast of El Paso is an incredible place for rockhounds to search, dig, and uncover thousands of rocks, minerals, and crystals.

Residing near Lobo, Texas, this site has historically been a part of the Van Horn Mountains Mining District.

The mine has been closed for quite some time, with the last active years of production being in 1934 – 1943.

Either way, the rich terrain and geology surrounding these mines can yield a very productive day of rockhounding, so if you’re willing to travel to the very edge of our commute radius (clocking in at around ~2.5 hrs from El Paso), then the Plata Verde Mines may be a great location to explore.

Distance from El Paso: 

~133 miles, ~2hr 23 min commute

Rocks, Minerals, or Crystals Present: 

Chrysocolla, Quartz, Azurite, Malachite, Microcline, Barite, Bromargyrite, Anglesite, and more!

Cost, Terrain, and Special Considerations: 

Similar to Sierra Blanca, traveling to the Plata Verde Mines would be done on your own accord, and you should plan for some off-road travel and hiking as required.

We recommend traveling in a capable off-road vehicle, bringing extra food and water, as well as wearing solid walking/hiking shoes when exploring the area.

Note that it is very dangerous and not recommended to enter abandoned mine shafts, and exploring the geology surrounding the mines may be enough to get you the rocks, minerals, or crystals you desire. 

Van Horn, TX

Have you been on the hunt for some Turquoise recently?

If you have, the area prospects surrounding Van Horn, TX are a great location for adding some beautiful turquoise into your collection.

If you travel a slight way west of Van Horn, you’ll stumble upon a geologically rich area where turquoise abounds.

In fact, if you go to the coordinates we linked to above, you can even see the darker mineral-rich terrain from a satellite view.

Distance from El Paso: 

~123 miles, ~2hr 6 min commute

Rocks, Minerals, or Crystals Present: 


Cost, Terrain, and Special Considerations: 

This location is really off the beaten path, so all precautions and off-road vehicle recommendations must be taken.

You’ll likely want to park in a flat bit of terrain at the base of the geological area we’re traveling to.

Hiking the rest of the way is recommended, allowing you to pick up some beautiful turquoise along the way. 

Bonanza Mine, TX

The Bonanza Mine, located approximately 80 miles southeast of El Paso, is a great location for rockhounding not too far from the city.

You’ll be able to find Sphalerite, Galena, and Chalcopyrite here in abundance.

The Bonanza mine was originally a site for mining gold, lead, silver, and zinc, but has been out of operation since 1979.

Ore mined from this region was composed of chalcopyrite, malachite, limonite, and had quartz, kaolinite, and siderite as waste material.

Distance from El Paso: 

~80 miles, 1hr 20 mi commute

Rocks, Minerals, or Crystals Present: 

Sphalerite, Galena, Chalcopyrite

Cost, Terrain, and Special Considerations: 

If you take a look at the coordinate directions we gave to the Bonanza mine, you’ll see a series of dirt roads leading up to the mine.

Even though it is possible to navigate up to the base of the mining site on a regular vehicle, we still recommend an off-road capable 4-wheel drive vehicle if you plan on parking off-road or exploring the surrounding hills/valleys.

Since this is an abandoned mine, it’s important for us to reiterate that you should never enter abandoned mine shafts, as a precaution. 

Concluding Thoughts

The ~150-mile radius surrounding El Paso, TX is a unique geological area, filled to the brim with rocks, minerals, and crystals.

Even though the majority of your rockhounding opportunities will come to the southeast, we mentioned the popular northwestern Rockhound State Park in New Mexico that’s more suited to the casual rockhound.

For those willing to travel further east, the Mason, TX and Llano, TX areas are very popular for locating Amethyst, Topaz, Agates, Garnets, and Geodes.

You might also try Albuquerque, San Antonio, Houston, Austin, or even near Dallas.

We wish you the best of luck on your rockhound journey around El Paso – there’s no shortage of opportunities!

rockhounding near el paso