Rockhounding Silver City, New Mexico: 10 Places To Hunt Rocks, Crystals, and Fossils  

If you’re looking for a place to hunt for rocks, crystals, and fossils, look no further than Silver City.

With these ten locations to explore, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.

Let’s take a look at some of the best places to rockhound in the Silver City, New Mexico area.

Rockhounding Silver City, New Mexico


The information provided in this article by 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.

Gila National Forest

Located just an hour’s drive from Silver City, Gila National Forest is a great place to start your rockhounding journey.

You can expect to find various items here like candyrock rhyolite, luna blue agate, and quartz crystals.

Hiking along the Gila River provides ample opportunity to spot different rocks and minerals.

However, visitors should expect a 2-hour hike each way if they plan to search at the cliff dwellings.

The best time to visit the Gila National Forest is during May, September, or October.

WS Mountain Trail #43

The WS Mountain Trail #43 is located within the Gila National Forest and is known as one of the top spots for rockhounding in the area.

Visitors can find the trail entrance at the Pueblo Park Campground and should follow the path through the Pueblo Creek canyon.

Be sure to focus on the east side of the trail, where many people find bytownite crystals.

You should also take time to search at the canyon bottom, where different minerals are often found.

The City of Rocks

The City of Rocks State Park is an excellent spot for rockhounds that want to explore historical areas and view ancient volcanic rock formations.

Though the park is only one square mile, there is ample opportunity to see or find variations of volcanic rocks that are over 30 million years old.

A nearly 6-mile trail starts at the park, which is great for hiking and searching for other minerals.

There are restrooms and picnic areas for guests to use, though it’s recommended to bring extra water if you plan to hike during your visit.

The Mimbres Valley

Rockhounds looking for a unique spot in Southwest New Mexico near Silver City should consider visiting Mimbres Valley.

The land was once inhabited by native Mimbreno Indians and has a vast history with other fossils and minerals.

This area is a hotspot for different geodes and rock finds, especially those along the Mimbres River.

The best time to visit the Mimbres River area is during the spring or fall seasons, when the temperature is most comfortable.

Purgatory Chasm Trail

The Purgatory Chasm Trail is a great rockhounding spot for those with children or who want to have a leisurely exploration.

The hiking trail is 1.5 miles long and leads visitors into the canyon, providing a great opportunity to find rocks or minerals.

Rockhounds typically search for jasper, agates, and volcanic rock at this location.

There is no fee to enter the trail, and it is open all year, though visitors should take caution searching during the winter months.

One section of the course is poorly maintained and can be dangerous when there is ice or snow buildup.

Black Range Crest Trail

The Black Range Crest Trail, also known as Trail #79, is a great rockhounding location to find quartz crystals.

In addition to quartz, you can find other crystals here, such as calcite and fluorite.

A 5-mile portion of the trail near Hillsboro Peak is a popular spot for rockhounding, though this trail is considered a moderate difficulty level.

The total trail length is 27 miles and takes rockhounds on an exploration for gems through the dense forest.

Lake Roberts

Lake Roberts is an excellent spot for rockhounds searching in the Gila National Forest.

The lake is a serene location with hiking trails and water access where visitors can search for rocks.

The most common items found here are white and pink chalcedony.

It’s in a remote location in the forest, and some guests may have trouble finding the lake.

Be sure to keep right at the fork in the road to access the lake.

It’s important to note that trucks with trailers and recreation vehicles may have trouble accessing the lake through the narrow roads.

Trail of Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway

If you are looking for a rockhound location you can enjoy the whole day, the Trail of Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway is a great choice.

The byway spans over 93 miles of landscape and begins right in Silver City.

It spans through one of the country’s first known wilderness areas, and visitors typically spend time searching for fire agate, golden luna agate, and calcite.

Visitors can take the inner loop to search for rocks and follow the Tour of Gila annual race route.

One major perk of this location is the ability to drive significant portions of the scenic byway before choosing specific spots to stop and search for gems.

Dragonfly Trail

The Dragonfly Trail is located under five miles away from Silver City and features a trail over three miles long for visitors to explore.

This area is extremely popular among local rockhounds for the incredible petroglyphs located on the route.

There are multiple loops available for those who want to explore the area more deeply and two free parking lots for visitors.

It’s important to remember that the petroglyphs are ancient artifacts, and guests should not touch the rock faces.

This is to preserve pigments on the rock.

Emory Pass

Emory Pass is located in the Gila National Forest and is an excellent location for rockhounding or looking at rock formations.

You can find the trail entrance near the Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway, and there are several different trails to explore and search for rocks.

This location is a popular spot to find drusy quartz, banded agate, and psilomelane, among many others.

Some of the most popular formations include Kneeling Nun Rock and Percha Canyon, which attract visitors from across the country.

Wrap Up

Rockhounding is a popular hobby that people can enjoy in many different places around the world.

If you are looking for a great place to go rockhounding, look no further than Silver City, New Mexico! Happy hunting!

Rockhounding Resources

If you like having a physical book in hand (especially good when you have no cell service), check out:

Rockhounding New Mexico (140 Sites To Check Out)

Rockhounding New Mexico (by Stephen Voynick)

Roadside Geology of Mexico

Gem Trails of New Mexico

Disclosure: These are links to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

You might also like:

You might also like:

Rockhounding Silver City