Ohio may not be the most famous of the states for finding diverse rocks and minerals.
However, there are plenty of sites where you can visit and have a good time looking for quality rocks and minerals if you know where to start your search.
This guide provides sites for rockhounding Ohio where you can begin your search.
Where To Go Rockhounding In Ohio
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.
Located in Muskingum and Licking counties, Ohio, Flint ridge is less than 55 miles from Columbus.
The ridge has an 8-mile-long vein that contains gem-quality flints that makes it a rockhound’s paradise.
Flint ridge provides 533 acres of some of the best and well-preserved ancient flint pits that were left by the American Indians who came to the area to quarry flint.
The pits have an abundance of the unique rainbow-colored flint that was used by the American Indians for making tools and weapons that they used and traded.
The pits at flint ridge contain a mixture of flints including chalcedony, jasper, opal, and chert.
A museum made around one of the prehistoric pits was opened in 1968.
The museum contains information that will help you get an understanding of Ohio’s official gemstone and knapping, the process by which the flint was shaped into tools.
It also has an impressive display of the geology and use of flint from the nearby pits.
The museum on weekends is host to artisans and craftsmen who demonstrate knapping, making tools, arrowheads, and other items for visitors from flint.
The museum is closed through the winter but can be accessed upon special request.
The cost to access the park is $3.00 for regular admission, $2.00 for students, and seniors over the age of 60 years pay $2.00.
Entry is free for children under the age of 6 and those actively serving in the military, for which ID proof is required.
The road leading up to Flint ridge is in good condition, therefore you can visit it using any car. The ridge is located 4 miles from State Route 70 and 3 miles from Old Route 40.
Flint ridge also provides overnight shelters for those looking to spend the night.
The shelters come with electrical installations that can power roasters, crock pots, and electric equipment such as phones.
The shelter comes with picnic tables and water is available from drinking fountains around the ridge.
The shelters are rented out for $50.00 per day.
Oakes Quarry Park, Fairborn, Ohio
The Oakes quarry park is located on the site of a limestone surface mine.
The quarry was acquired by the Oakes family in the early 90’s and handed over to Fairborn City in 2003.
The quarry was then converted to a park by the city to include foot trails and horseback trails that crisscross the limestone fossils that were exposed by the mining activities of the quarry.
The Park includes a 1-mile horse trail and a 2-mile trail hugging the perimeter wall.
The Park includes 190 acres of horseback and hiking trails park.
All the trails are handicapped accessible.
Portable restrooms are available across the park, and they have ample and secure parking within the park.
The terrain is mostly rocky but dry and well maintained.
Please pack a good pair of hiking boots to be able to access all the areas of the park.
The area is rich in several crinoid limestones that were exposed to the surface by mining carried out in the past.
You are allowed to keep any rocks and fossils that you collect from piles that have signs allowing collection.
The Park can be accessed via either I-70W or I-71S when coming from Columbus.
Both the routes get you there in less than an hour.
Both routes are well-paved, meaning you can access the area using any car.
Park trails can only be accessed by either foot or on a horse ride.
The Park is open at 8 am and closes 1 hour after sunset all year round.
A vehicle parking permit is required to enter the park and can be bought at the gatehouse for $5.00 a day.
Hocking Hills Gem Mine
Located 1 hour from Columbus, Hocking Hill Gem Mine is one of the best places to go rockhounding in Ohio.
The mine provides a unique experience where, for a fee, you are issued with a bucket containing sand, rocks, and minerals.
You are then helped to clean out the contents of your bucket through panning to find what lay in the sand of your bucket.
The activities are aimed at helping you experience the processes used to mine gold and other gemstones in the past.
This makes it a good activity for rockhounds of all ages and experience levels.
The mine is open from 10 am to 6 pm between April 1st and October 31st.
The cost of a bucket ranges from $12.00 for the smallest size to $189.99 for the biggest bucket, also marked as a special bucket.
The Prospect of finding a valuable gemstone tends to increase with the price you are paying for the bucket.
Rockhounds can find a wide variety of rocks and minerals in this mine.
The main rough gems include amethyst, peridot, emerald, sapphire, and obsidian.
You can also find polished gemstones at the mine shop that are ready to use as ornaments.
The Hocking Hill mine is part of a venue that includes cabins, a campground, shops, and an area for outdoor activities.
The venue includes a heated pool, a game room, a dog park, and a basketball court.
The campground is a great place to spend a few days in your RV or a tent.
Log cabins and chalets are also available for those that prefer this to the outdoors.
Day visitors are required to register at the camp store at $3.00 per child and $10.00 per adult upon arrival.
Arrival for day visitors is between 9 am and 7 pm and you can only stay up to 10 pm.
Pets are not allowed for those coming in for a day’s visit.
Pets are only allowed on RVs or in pet-friendly cabins.
The first two pets in the RV are free and $3.00 per pet for any after two, and you will be required to pay $10 per pet in the pet-friendly cabins.
The Nether Farms are in the middle of a flint deposit.
The farms are open for rockhounds looking to collect the different types of flints found in the area.
For a $7.60 collecting fee, you are allowed to carry all the rocks you can carry for 50 cents for every pound of rock collected.
Payment is made at the farmhouse, which is sometimes unmanned.
If you find the farm unmanned, you are required to leave your collection fee on the side porch where you will also leave payment for the rocks collected.
A measuring scale is provided to weigh your rocks.
The farm is made up of a network of trails that can be accessed by foot or in a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
It is important to make sure that you pack your provisions, including water, as these are not provided inside the trails.
Rocks found on the farm include chalcedony, chert, different colored flints, and quartz.
The area has many loose rocks that you can pick without the use of any tools.
However, those looking to look for rocks deeper are allowed to dig and for this, you will need to bring your digging tools.
The flint found on the digs is very sharp and you should make sure to also carry safety wear such as workman gloves and protective eyewear.
Make sure to cover up your dig sites after you are done for the safety of other visitors.
Blue Limestone Park, Delaware County
Located in an old limestone mine, the Blue Limestone Park is a good place to find pyrite.
The pyrite was most exposed during the limestone mining and most of it was left on the surface and is easy to find for those who know what they are looking for.
There is a good network of hiking trails that go all through the park.
Hiking is allowed along these trails, so bring your hiking shoes.
The best place to look for pyrite is near the old mines which are located inside the park.
The Park is also great for a picnic and has a shelter and bathroom for visitors.
Pets are allowed but should always be on a leash. Entry to the Park is free and it is open from 7 am to 7 pm all year round.
The area around the Serpent Mound has been an archeological site for many years.
On the western edge of the mound structure is a site where you can find deformed quartz and shattered cones.
The Serpent Mound area is also home to an impact crater where a wide variety of rocks and minerals can be found.
The Park is located in Peebles, Ohio on State road 73 and is less than 2 hours on the tarmacked road from Columbus.
Serpent Mound Park is open at 10 am and closes at 5 pm all weekdays except Monday when it remains closed.
There is a good picnic area with well-maintained amenities for visitors.
Visitors are only required to pay an $8.00 parking fee to access the mound.
Pets are allowed but must always remain on a leash.
The mound park also has a small museum and gift shop where you can buy gifts.
The Serpent Mound is also close to the House of Phacops rock shop, where you can purchase crystals and rocks collected from the surrounding area.
Rockhounding in Ohio may be subject to several rules and regulations.
The rules vary from site to site and it is important to make sure that you research them before visiting the site.
Some of the sites shared above are on private property and the owners are the only ones that can permit you to access their land.
It is important to note that when visiting any of the areas mentioned above, it is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain permission from the landowner to both search and collect on their property.
You might also enjoy learning about the rockhounding available not too far away at Lake Superior.