If you are someone who loves the hunt for a beautiful rock, then heading to different cities around the country and exploring the physical earth looking for unique memories is the opportunity of a lifetime.
Memphis has long been a destination for its rock—and roll, but there are plenty who will travel to Memphis in search for a bit of geological history as well as a bit of the musical variety.
Rockhounding Near Memphis (A Visitor’s Guide)
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When you are traveling to Memphis there are plenty of local parks and trails where you can begin to explore and spend an enjoyable afternoon out in the Tennessee sunshine taking in all that the landscape has to offer.
From the surrounding mountain ranges to the many riverbeds that travel through the state of Tennessee, there are so many natural splendors that have brought interesting geodes into the woods of Memphis.
Where To Get Started Rockhounding Memphis?
When you are looking to get started with exploring rocks in the Memphis area, the best place to start is within the city limit itself.
There are many areas within the actually city limits of Memphis that are nature preserves or designated parks and many of these areas are great for looking for unique rocks.
Here is a quick list of some of the places to look for rocks around the urban area of Memphis:
Shelby Farms Park
This park is located within the boundaries of Memphis and is home to expansive trails, areas for riding bikes, picnicking, kayaking and more.
There is also places to rent equipment, which is great for those who are out of town and looking to experience a bit of nature from a different perspective.
The Memphis Botanical Gardens
As a rule botanical gardens are a place where you visit to look and not touch.
This isn’t the location where you want to go if you are trying to build a big collection of rocks, as many of the items within a botanical garden are heavily curated.
However, the Memphis botanical garden in particular has a massive amount of forested land that is great for exploring.
This area is affectionately known as “the big back yard” and is what makes the Memphis Botanical Gardens a great place for those who are searching for rocks of all types.
Mud Island River Park
This is another great stop for those who are looking for rocks—with a side of history!
The Mud Island River Park is one of those parks that you will only find in Memphis.
Located downtown, this park features bike trails, pedal boats and rafts on what is a hydraulic scale model of the Mississippi river.
There are even steam boats to match.
The river itself is engineered in a way to make it look authentic and you won’t have to wander the river bed for long before find some actual authentic rocks.
Tom Lee Park
This park is located just outside of downtown and is historical in nature, located just along the river.
The park has a massive grassy area that tends to collect a great deal of rather interesting stones.
The park itself is centered around a monument and there is a stone area where you can walk around.
With the park being in the downtown area this makes it a nice park to visit on a quick lunchbreak during a business meeting or in the middle of other adventures during a trip to Memphis, rather than for a full days outing on the outskirts of town.
The Overton Park trails are highly recognized as some of the best trails in all of Tennessee and are located just a short drive outside of Memphis.
Heading out to the Overton Trails you are likely to find much more than just rocks.
Solace, clarity of mind, fresh air and wildlife are just a few of the things that you are likely to come across while exploring this absolutely breathtaking park.
The park has extensive trails that are great for walking, biking and horseback riding, as well as a series of streams and bridges that are good for fishing.
There are also opportunities for camping nearby, which means that you can really lean into the experience that nature is providing and spend your time searching for rocks in the area.
Lichterman Nature Center
The Lichterman Nature Center is a park that is on the water, featuring an extensive series of bridges right along the edge of the forest.
The best rocks at this park are going to be along the riverbed.
If you don’t want to get your feet soaking wet your best bet is going to be to wear a pair of fishing boots so that you can walk along the riverbed as you search for walks.
Searching in the water along the edge of the river can give you a chance to find minerals in the same way that many miners did in the old days.
See also: How To Clean River Rocks?
Outside The City
If you leave the direct Memphis area there are a number of additional nature preserves that are just a short drive outside of the city.
While visiting Memphis you may be tempted to stay within the boundaries of the city itself, but there are plenty of reasons to explore the parks that are just a short 20-30 minute drive outside of the city limits.
The nature preserves are going to be a lot less crowded, have less light pollution, have more active wildlife, and have more natural elements that will be less likely to have been disturbed.
Also, due to the nature of population density the parks that are outside of the city are less likely to be visited so often, which means that if you are looking for a really great find you are more likely to find it at a large state park or nature preserve outside of the city.
Here is a quick list of places that you should check out when you head to Memphis:
- Fort Pillow State Park
- Meeman-Shelby State Park
- Big Cypress State Park
- Pickwick Landing State Park
- Reelfoot Lake State Park
- T.O. Fuller State Park
- Big Hill Pond State Park
Finally, you can’t leave Memphis without making a stop in these best three places to see the outdoors in Memphis.
These spots are for sure going to give you the best chance to go and find some rocks while you are in the area.
These places include Cameron Brown Park, which is a gorgeous space with lots of greenery and plenty of area to walk around and expore nature at its finest.
In addition to this there is the Mississippi Greenbelt Park, which is a peaceful riverside park that is popular for both walking and biking.
This park is especially popular at sunset.
Finally Riverdale park is a great place to stop in Memphis if you are in town with the kids.
The park has a beautiful playground that is quite expansive, but more than that there is a lot of greenspace that is surrounded by a lot of trees, so there is plenty of space where you can wander and look for rocks to add to your collection.
The Riverdale Park is the perfect spot to add to your itinerary if Memphis is a stop on your roadtrip with the family, or if you are looking for a way to add a bit of physical activity into your vacation that can build some family time into your time with your kids.
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