Arizona is an amazing place to hunt for rocks.
In the article that follows, you’ll learn about where a visitor to Yuma could sneak away to do a little rock hunting.
Rockhounding Near Yuma (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.
Due to its location in the picturesque Sonoran desert, Yuma, Arizona and the surrounding area is a prime location for rockhounding.
A rich mining history and an abundance of natural copper and other gemstones makes this area a rockhounding destination.
If you live in Yuma or are planning to visit, check out these rockhounding locations and see what you can find.
The Town of Quartzsite is about an hour and a half northeast of Yuma.
This former mining town is well known to gem and mineral enthusiasts with regular rock shows and events.
Gem and mineral enthusiasts and jewelry makers also sell their goods at the flea market for those who want to find treasures of a different type.
It’s also a great place to walk around and hunt on your own.
There are plenty of trails to hike including Bradshaw Trail and the Hauser Geode Beds.
Common finds in this area include onyx, fire agate, and Apache tears.
While you’re there, make sure you look up and take in the views.
If you don’t find anything on your hike, check out one of the many rock shops in Quartzsite.
Located a mere 30 minutes northwest of Yuma, Obregon, California is home to the Cargo Muchacho mountains.
These mountains offer plenty of hiking trails rife with interesting finds.
On rare occasions, rockhounds in this area have found Kyanite.
But you can also find quartz, calcite, and other rocks and minerals.
When rockhounding in the Cargo Muchacho mountains, pay close attention to signage.
Some of the area, including the historic Tumco mine, is operated by the Bureau of Land Management.
In these areas, prospecting isn’t allowed.
In others, you may have to get a permit before you can prospect on the land.
Call the BLM if you have any questions about rockhounding in this area.
Another abandoned mining town, Bouse is a small town in La Paz County, about 2 hours northeast of Yuma.
Bouse is known among rockhounds as a good spot for finding agate.
You can also find hematite and jasper in areas near this town.
Much of the hematite is red in color due to its high iron content.
If you’re looking for rocks to polish and turn into something pretty, this spot is for you.
The prime rockhounding areas in Bouse are easy for rockhounds of all levels.
You probably don’t need to being any tools other than a rock hammer.
Hauser Geode Beds, California
Although this spot is slightly out of the way, located two hours northwest of Yuma, it is worthy of a stop if you’re interested in hunting for geodes.
The geodes located in this area are stunning when split, containing black calcite, amethyst, and other crystals.
Some rockhounds have reported finding jasper here, both green and pink.
You might have to venture out from the geode beds, but it is worth it for the range of gems and minerals you can find.
There is an area nearby known as the Potato Patch in which you can find green geodes.
Bring your shovel, a rock hammer, and gloves so you can sift through the land to find your geodes.
Red Cloud Mine
Located an hour northeast of Yuma in La Paz County near the border of California, Red Cloud Mine is a small area where silver and lead were once mined.
To get there, you will need to cross some rough terrain, so bring a good vehicle.
This area is known for wulfenite, which is a vibrant red crystal.
Red Cloud Mine is a privately owned claim, but it is open to the public.
You have to pay $35 per person/per day to dig and make an appointment.
If you want to make a day of it, you can pay $55 per person to go up to the North Geronimo mine.
Dome Rock Mountains
The Dome Rock Mountains are located in La Paz County, about an hour and 45 minutes from Yuma.
This mountain range is 30-miles long and contains plenty of trails with quality rockhounding.
There are plenty of deposits around featuring quartz, wulfenite, amethyst, calcite, bornite, and much more.
Some of the land in this area is owned by the Copperstone Mine, and part of it is on the Colorado River Indian Reservation.
Pay close attention to signage to make sure you’re not on private property before you start digging.
On the edge of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, about an hour and a half from Yuma sits Crystal Hill.
This area is operated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and is the only section of the refuge in which you can rockhound.
The area is a popular location for finding quartz crystals, tourmaline, and pyrite.
There are no fees to enter the wildlife refuge and when you’re done rockhounding you can hike the area looking at the various flora and fauna that call this area home.
Since Crystal Hill is on Federally owned land, you can’t dig on the property, but you can look for surface crystals.
If you’re looking for jasper of varying colors, head an hour and a half from Yuma to Bear Hills which is near Brenda.
This area features a lot of jasper with more color varieties than you might find in other areas.
Bear Hills is a small range of volcanic mountains, which produce interesting gems and minerals.
If you’re interested in finding stones you can polish, this is the area for you.
Its terrain is pretty rough, so make sure you take a vehicle that can handle going off-road.
On your way back to Yuma from Bear Hills, stop in Plomosa.
If you don’t want to hit two spots in one day, Plomosa is about 90 miles from Yuma, just west of Brenda.
This area is also a prime location for jasper, and you might find interesting varieties of agate including fire agate and floral agate.
You can camp in the area, and there is a 13-mile hiking trail on which you can look for specimens.
The area is home to some abandoned mines, making it a good location for finding wide varieties of jasper.
You probably won’t need a shovel, but bring a rock hammer and a bucket for collecting your finds.
Like other rockhounding locations in Arizona, parts of Plomosa are privately owned.
Watch for signage to make sure you’re on public property before collecting your specimens.
Hull Mine and Castle Dome Mountains
Although it is privately owned, Hull Mine is about 42 miles from Yuma.
For a fee, you can walk around this old mine hunting for calcite, fluorite, galena, wulfenite, and quartz.
You can tour the mine which features beautiful fluorescent deposits, but you can’t take anything from the mine itself.
Hull mine is on the same site as the Castle Dome mine, which has been restored and converted into a tourist destination.
Hiking around this area, you can find fluorescent rocks that add a little color and vibrancy to your collection.
If you’re interested in learning about the mine itself, take the mine and ghost town tour.
Now that you know where to go near Yuma, look through Arizona’s laws, particularly on Federally owned lands.
Once you know where you want to go and what you can find there, pack up your sunscreen, water, and rock hammer and get out there to see what you can find.