Sault Ste Marie is a great place to visit.
There is no shortage of places for a rock hunter to explore.
Rockhounding Sault Ste Marie (Let’s Go)
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.
Sault Ste Marie is a unique place as it is split down the middle by the Canada and US border.
Nestled on St. Marys River, the city spans out to butt up against three of the Great Lakes.
As always, be mindful of the provincial rules and laws around collecting samples on Crown Land (public) etc.
You can read up on what fossils and gemstones are and are not allowed to be collected in Ontario here.
Whether you are from the area or planning a visit, there is no shortage of things to do both in and around the city (on both sides of the border).
Some of the things of interest to the discerning historian are the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, Sault Ste.
Marie Canal (world’s first electrically operated lock) and Fort St. Joseph (site where the War of 1812 started).
With that said, the focus of this list is on the Ontario side of things.
Here are five sites worth checking out in New Brunswick:
Twilight Resort on the Montreal River is a bit longer of a journey outside of the Sault Ste Marie area, but definitely a great destination for relaxing and doing some rock hounding, hiking, fishing, boating, swimming etc.
The variety of Lake Stones here may not be as varied as other locations, but there are a number of other accessible hiking locations nearby along the lake and Montreal River.
Some of the stones you may find include Agate, Quartz, Shale, Granite pebbles, Sea Glass and various multi-colored stones.
Accommodations include camping, hotel and various B&B locations nearby.
The beach areas for rock hounding are accessible by foot.
Located about 64 kilometres north of Sault Ste Marie along the Trans-Canada Hwy, Mamainse Point is a unique rock hounding destination as it is known to yield what is called Shoreline Copper.
Other things you may find in the area include Druzy Quartz, Dendritic Copper and Calcite.
ou’ll often spot crude copper in situ deposits both on the banks and under the surface of the water as you look around the beaches in the area.
There is camping or lodging not far south of the location at Sawpit Bay.
Parking could be a little tricky but Ferroclad Fishery is located at the point and may have some parking available.
It would be best to inquire with them in that regard. The beach area itself is accessible by foot.
For some fossil hunting, let’s take a gander at Manitoulin Island South East of Sault Ste Marie on Lake Huron, which is known for having Silurian (395 to 430 million years) and Ordovician (430 to 500 million years) outcrops.
These formations are some of the oldest in the world.
Aside from fossils, you may also find obsidian or volcanic glass, granite, basalt, and andesite porphyry, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.
Manitoulin Island is an absolute must-visit location for the outdoors-loving rock hounders.
he island is one of the premier four-season destinations in Northern Ontario and is considered to be the best kept secret of the province.
Manitoulin is also the largest freshwater island in the world.
For anything you may want or need to find during your visit, including food and lodging, check out the Manitoulin Island website.
Thunder Bay has become known as the heart of amethyst country in Ontario.
In fact, the province adopted Amethyst as its official gemstone in 1975.
These semi-precious gems can be found all along the shores of Lake Superior in quality and quantity.
There are plenty of open-pit mines that you can visit in the Thunder Bay area that provide a fun pick-your-own adventure gem hunt, or you can grab a polished amethyst or jewelry from one of the many gift shops throughout the city and region.
Check out the Amethyst Mines Directory website to find an adventure that suits you.
Other types of stones you may find around Thunder Bay include Agate, Red Hematite, Quartz, Granite, and plenty of others.
BONUS: Also near Thunder Bay is the township of Nipigon, which is another great place for Agate and Amethyst hunting.
It’s a little closer to Sault Ste Marie and is a bit quieter of a getaway destination if you want to mix vacation with rock hounding.
They also have a website dedicated to the activity with location suggestions, books, and a slew of info about activities to do in the area.
Accessibility will vary from site to site.
Stone Beach is located just west of Sawpit Bay and while not known for precious gemstones or fossils, it does have a huge variety of Lake Superior stones.
The magnificent power of Lake Superior beats upon the rocks, smoothing their shape better than any rock tumbler ever could and revealing their extraordinary colors.
The sunsets here are breathtaking, the water is shallow and Moose occasionally wanders through the area.
From the warm stones to lay on, to hiking around on the big rock bluffs along the shore line to snorkeling in the crystal clear waters, all of this makes Sawpit Bay and the surrounding area an ideal camping destination.
Stone Beach is accessible by foot.
The shorelines all along Lake Superior have been shaped by the waves, creating a stunning array of sites almost anywhere you go on a wander along its shores.
Be on the lookout for smoothed out driftwood, beach glass and many luminous, textured, patterned, uniquely shaped, and intensely colored rocks of all kinds, no matter where you choose to spend some time hunting.
There are plenty of other great locations to go sightseeing and rock hounding, but these are some of the more notable areas that have come up over the years with solid information as to what can be found in and around each location.
In closing, be mindful and respectful of private property and provincial laws while out rock hounding and before taking any samples with you from any of these areas. Happy hunting.
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