Kansas City, Missouri is a city that has certainly grown up since Walt Disney lived there as a boy.
It’s not exactly Main Street USA with its RideKC streetcars and casinos. It’s a large metropolitan city known for steak houses and jazz clubs.
But, it’s also home to Show-Me Rockhounds, a prominent club for people who enjoy collecting minerals.
A rockhound in the city can still get out to some nearby places to look for rocks crystals and fossils to add to a collection.
Rockhounding Near Kansas City (A Visitor’s Guide)
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.
Kansas City has an annual gem and mineral show and the collections of the members of Show-Me Rockhounds are quite cosmopolitan.
But if you just want to go out for a weekend of rock hunting, here’s where you go.
Here’s an idyllic little spot barely more than an hour’s drive from KC.
You might find your best luck on the west side of the lake.
It’s a good place to look for horn corals, wing-type spirifer brachs and other Penn aged fossils.
Perry State Park has comfortable camping facilities and any non-motorized transportation is welcome on their trails.
If you’re looking for opals, here’s the place to go.
It’s located on 83rd Street, so you won’t have too far to drive at all.
You might have to sift through some sand, gravel and limestone deposits, but you may find something worth the effort.
Even if you don’t find an opal, you may find a good specimen of calcite, sphalerite or dolomite.
This is the place to go if you’re looking for calcite crystals.
It’s just a little more than an hour’s drive away from Kansas City.
As the name suggests, this is where the sandstone used for old-fashioned grindstones was quarried a century or so ago.
You might find some sandstone as well as calcite crystals.
Harry Truman Lake
If you’re looking for Missouri’s state stone, mozarkite, you’ll practically trip over it here!
Harry Truman Lake is just west of Lincoln, just under a two-hour drive from KC.
You’ll mostly find mozarkite by barely even trying, but with some luck and some effort, you just might find some jasper and chalcedony.
The farms of Stockton, Missouri, are a good two-hour drive from KC, but a perfectly formed geode might be worth the trip.
You will, of course, need to get the farmer’s permission to go rockhounding on their property.
You just might get it, as geodes are a tripping hazard for cows.
You may be lucky enough to come across some pyrite and sphalerite as well.
If you’re in the market for agates, go about a couple of hours northeast towards Brunswick until you come to the shores of Grand River.
If you don’t mind getting a little wet, you can wade into the river where agates would be easier to notice.
The river is just deep enough to be navigable by canoe or kayak if you like to do that on your trek.
This tributary of the Missouri River goes right through Kansas City.
It’s a good place to look for petrified wood and other fossils.
You might have your best luck after a rainstorm, when the river has flooded and washed up a few forgotten treasures.
You may find a few shells among the sedimentary rocks.
Just hop over the Kansas border into Kansas City, Kansas about twenty-six miles are so, and you’ll come to Kaw Point, where the Kansas River meets the Missouri River.
The bones of large extinct mammals have been found in the muddy waters here.
The hollow bones of the Carolina parakeet are smaller and thus harder to find but here is where they once flew.
It’s a couple of hours west and a state line away, but Tuttle Creek is a good place to find fossils.
A series of floods back in ’93 exposed a plethora of fossil specimens.
There are scheduled hikes often organized in this area for the purpose of fossil hunting.
Should you care to spend a few days here, there are campgrounds and cabin rentals available.
Still haven’t had your fill of agates and mozarkite?
Come to a little place called Lincoln, just a two hours drive to the southeast.
You’ll find mozarkite just laying in ditches.
Incidentally, mozarkite gets its name from a blend of Missouri (often abbreviated as “MO”) and the Ozark Mountains, the two places where this mineral is commonly found.
Riverside is practically Kansas City’s next door neighbor and is a good place to look for fossils.
They will be chiefly mollusks and gastropods from the Pennsylvania period, dating back 295 million years.
Look for them near the riverside the town was named after among the Chanute shale.
The Worthinia Bed is the best place to look.
Harrisonville is not at all far from Kansas City and is a good place to look for fossils that date back to the Carboniferous Upper period.
You may have to search through some Sniabar Limestone to really find anything.
The fossils in this area are chiefly pelecypods but if you look real hard you might find Missouri’s State Fossil, the crinoid.
About an hour’s drive north of Kansas City you will find a town called St. Joseph.
This is a place to find a wide variety of stones and fossils.
Along with the usual agates and petrified wood, you may even find gold!
If you’re lucky and observant, you might find some shark’s teeth. (Missouri was once under the sea.)
Take some time to visit The Remington Nature Center while you’re there.
If you don’t mind crossing a state line and paying a toll, you can get to the Republican River from Kansas City, Missouri in just a couple of hours.
Here you can find not only agate and petrified wood but even some jasper.
This river is known to flood fairly frequently.
You may find some unusual fossils.
Things to Remember While Rockhounding in Missouri
Please remember to have respect for the environment when you are rockhounding in Missouri.
Do not damage any of the flora or fauna.
Anything you bring with you, you must either take back or dispose of responsibly.
If you find a turtle shell or animal skull, you may have to check with the game warden to see if it is alright for you to keep it.
If it was the remains of an endangered species (such as Blanding’s turtle or a spotted skunk) you may get a seal of approval to keep it, provided you did not kill the animal yourself.
Only rockhound on public property or where you were given permission.
Disturbing buried Native artifacts is both illegal and disrespectful.
Remember that on State Park property in Missouri you are not allowed even to move rocks.
You may have to satisfy yourself with photography or rubbings in these areas.
Kansas City is a bustling metropolis, but it isn’t very far from places to go and look for some interesting minerals and fossils.
Keep an eye open and you may get a few surprises.
Also consider hunting for rocks the next time you visit St Louis, we’ve got more than a few ideas for you.