The Pittsburgh area is rich in naturally occurring gemstones, and there are many rockhounding locations you can explore.
If you want to know about the rockhounding sites near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this article will reveal seven popular options within two hours of the city that you can try out.
Rockhounding Near Pittsburgh (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.
The specimens found in western Pennsylvania are usually from local fields, gravels of streams, and pockets of igneous and metamorphic rocks.
This part of Pennsylvania also has many old mines and quarries that produced millions of rocks and minerals for hundreds of years, like Calcite, Barite, and Quartz.
So there is lots of potential in this area.
1) South Bethlehem at Redbank Creek – 1 hour – 40°59’55.8″N 79°20’39.8″ W
Jasper and Petrified Wood are the stones you can find here.
If you are coming from Pittsburgh, get on I-579 N/Veterans Bridge.
After that, get onto PA-28 N/PA-66 N in Manor Township for 41 min, and then follow PA-28 N/PA-66 N to Kohlersburg Rd for 18.3 mi.
This area is nestled in South Bethlehem, PA.
Along Redbank Creek, in addition to rockhounding, there is an extensive network of fishing spots and scenic spots for taking in the sights and having memories with your loved ones.
In Bethlehem, there are many things to experience, such as Martin’s Guitar Factory, two amusement parks, Peeps Factory Museum, and scuba diving nearby.
2) Morrison Cove – 2 hours – 40°14’37.3″N 78°23’06.9″ W
The crystals you can find here are Quartz (‘Herkimer diamonds’), Amethyst, and Calcite crystals.
When coming from Pittsburgh, you should get on I-579 S and then onto I-376 E from Boulevard of the Allies.
Take US-22 E to PA-164 E in Freedom Township and exit 23 from I-99 S/US-220 S.
After that continue on PA-164 E to your destination for about 19 min.
This valley is in Woodbury, Pennsylvania.
Other than rockhounding, there are other activities nearby, like Morrisons Cove Memorial Park.
This is a local favorite because it has a skate park, a small museum, bowling, and large picnic areas.
Overall, this area is a stunning agricultural valley about 15 miles wide full of scenic and beautiful vegetation and phenomenal local food and culture.
You can’t go wrong.
3) Waterside – 1 hour 56 minutes – 40°10’16.4″N 78°23’36.9″W
The stones you can find here are Calcite, Chalcedony, and Chert.
From Pittsburgh, you will need to get on I-579 S and then I-376 E from Boulevard of the Allies. After that, take US-22 E to PA-164 E in Freedom Township and take exit 23 from I-99 S/US-220 S for 1 hr 41 min.
Following that, take PA-36 S to Old Mill Rd into New Enterprise, PA for 23 minutes.
This place is fun throughout the year for singles, couples, as well as large groups.
In the city, there are many activities like kayaking, hiking trails, archery, and even hunting.
Although you probably won’t be rockhounding in the winter, this area also has skiing and snowboarding slopes and cross-country skiing during wintertime.
4) Claysburg- 1 hour 46 minutes – 40°20’28.1″N 78°25’09.3″W
Chert, Quartz crystals are the stones you can find here.
When leaving Pittsburgh, start on I-579, get on I-376 E from Boulevard of the Allies and then take US-22 E to PA-164 E in Freedom Township.
Finally, take exit 23 from I-99 S/US-220 S for 1 hour 41 minutes and continue on PA-164 E.
Then drive onto Mountain Rd. This area is at the edge of Freedom Township, PA in Adams County.
Here you will find the stones in the gravels and quarries of the rivers.
There isn’t much directly beside the rockhounding areas, but the rest of Adam county has a lot to offer!
Adams County has over five museums and over seven stunning historic sites such as the Culp’s Hill and Sachs Covered Bridge.
5) Union Furnace- 2 hours – 40°37’27.3″N 78°09’56.5″W
Here you can find Calcite and Fluorite.
When driving out of Pittsburgh, get on I-579 S, and then I-376 E from Boulevard of the Allies like all the others.
Then you drive from US-22 E and turn onto I-99 N/US-220 N to Blair County.
Finally, take exit 48 from I-99 N/US-220 N, continue on PA-453 S, and then drive to Limestone Rd/T601 in Huntingdon County.
This area is within Spruce Creek Township in Huntingdon County, PA.
If you love history, Huntingdon County, PA will be a treasure trove for you.
And if you enjoy a hiking trip with your rockhounding, there are some beautiful and enticing trails to experience such as the Standing Stone Trail, the most famous hiking trail in that part of Pennsylvania.
6) Derry – 59 minutes – 40°20’55.7″N 79°16’05.1″W
In this area, you can find Quartz crystals, Chalcedony, and Jasper. From Pittsburgh, start on I-579 S, then I-376 E from Boulevard of the Allies. After that, follow I-376 E and US-22 E to PA-981 S in Derry Township for 38 min and take Keystone Park Rd and Pittsburgh St to Mill St/T847. This area is in Derry Township, which is in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
When you go out a little farther from the city, you will find the stones in the area washes, exposures, and gravel areas. And yes, this is the town known for being the birthplace of world-famous Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. There are too many activities to count, and there will be sure to be something for everyone.
7) Greensburg – 47 minutes – 40°19’29.1″N 79°28’34.0″W
The main stone you can find here is Petrified Wood. When driving out of Pittsburgh, get on I-579 S and then I-376 E from Boulevard of the Allies. Follow I-376 E and US-22 E to PA-819 S in Salem Township for 32 minutes. Continue on PA-819 S to Hempfield Township and then to Cameo Ln. Drive, and turn on White Church Rd. This Township is in Westmoreland County, PA.
Westmoreland County has many opportunities for relaxing, experiencing the arts, learning history, and even giving back to others. Also, this area has a lot of hiking trails and large parks. This is good because you will be able to rockhound without worrying about accidentally heading into private property.
These are just seven of the many rockhounding sites to explore in the Pittsburgh Area, but there are lots of places around the state to do so. Here are some general guidelines for where to get certain stones from around the state.
- Pyrite can be found in Lancaster County, at the Blue Ball Stone Company Quarry, Chester County, Lebanon County, and the Bossardsville Quarry.
- Calcite can be found in York County, Near Emigsville, and the Supply Company Quarry.
- Gold can be found in York County and panned for in Dillsburg, Rossville, Wellsville, or Grantham.
- Garnets in PA are abundant in places like Deshong’s Quarry near Constitution, Merion Station, Montgomery County, and Deleware County.
- Eastonite is a rare mineral in Pennsylvania only found in Sherrer Quarry or C.K Williams Quarry on College Hill.
- Kyanite is in Ridley Township and Morton Homestead, Darby Creek, and Gross Road in Constitution.
Pittsburgh, PA has lots of good rockhounding sites within a two-hour radius that are free to access.
All these sites are also good tourist areas with beautiful scenery and unique experiences, so you and your loved ones can make the most of the your time together.