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

Are you visiting Taos, New Mexico, anytime soon?

In the following sections, you’ll discover ten places to go rockhounding near Taos, New Mexico.

Rockhounding Taos, 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.

1. Rio Pueblo de Taos

The Rio Pueblo de Taos is a stream in Taos County that flows right through the city of Taos.

It is also known as Rio Pueblo.

The stream’s source comes from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and flows 33 miles southwest, joining the Rio Grande in the gorge.

Within the city limits, you can hike on The Slide Trail that flows along the river.

The route l is easy to follow and is 2.70 miles.

It usually takes one to complete about one hour and twenty-eight minutes.

Along the way, you may be able to find fluorite, fossils, peridot, and petrified wood.

2. Devisadero Loop Trail

The Divisadero Loop Trail is about five minutes away from the city of Taos.

From the El Nogal parking area, it is about three miles east of the Taos welcome sign-off of Highway 64.

If you enter the east of this trail, know this area is rocky and steeper than the west.

So, be cautious if you take this route.

The hike is a bit tough for those who are not used to hiking.

The trail is open year-round, but it is best to go around April through November.

During certain months, it is closed due to wildfire season.

Some of the rocks and minerals you can find along the trail are sedimentary rocks with fossils and fluorite.

3. Williams Lake Trail

Near the Taos Ski Valley is the Williams Lake Trail.

In total, it is about 4.20 miles in length, and it takes two hours, twenty-three minutes to complete.

The trail is popular with those who enjoy exploring and is considered a bit challenging.

Some of the rocks and minerals you can find along the route are agate, jasper, petrified wood, quartz, and fossils.

Hiking this trail is best done during the months of May through September.

4. Tojo Mine

The Tojo mine is about thirty minutes away from the city of Taos.

It closed its operation in the 1970s and is now owned by the Bureau of Land Management.

You have to double-check if you can go rock collecting on the land since it might be on private property.

But if you do go rock collecting within the Tojo Mine area, you may be able to find magnetite, muscovite, or quartz.

5. Bunker Hill Mine

About an hour and thirty minutes away from the city of Taos, is Bunker Hill Mine.

There you might have your best chance of finding gold in New Mexico.

Before the mine closed down, its leading production was gold.

However, you may also be able to find other minerals such as agate, turquoise, and petrified wood.

6. Picuris District

In Picuris District, you have the option of going rock collecting to find some gems.

So, listed below are six places you can go rockhounding in the area:

  • Copper Hill: Copper and Gold
  • Champion Mine: Antimony, Copper, Gold, Silver
  • Tungsten Mine: Chrysocolla,Copper, Dravite, Foitite, Tungsten, and Quartz
  • Pilar Wall Mine: Piemontite
  • Theodore Glass Property: Beryllium and Mica
  • Harding Mine: Beryllium, Lithium, Tantalum, and Tin

Since most of these places are mines, remember to check if you can collect rocks and other minerals in these areas.

You can google to learn more information about the land or contact the Taos county tax assessor’s office.

7. Sangre de Christo Mountain Range

While researching for this post, I found a neat story involving the Sangre de Christo range running through Taos, New Mexico.

In 2009, the Taos News wrote an article on a man who would go rock collecting within the field to find staurolite.

And you know what else?

He kept it a secret for 55 years before telling anyone about his secret spot high within the mountains!

Then, when he was a child, the man discovered the area while hunting with his father and grandfather.

The staurolite gems would sit on top of other rocks and boulders, ready for someone to come pick them up.

Still, he never really explained where the secret staurolite grove is located in the mountain range, so you’re more than welcome to try to find it yourself.

8. Pueblo Peak

Within the mountain range of Sangre de Christo is the Pueblo Peak.

It ranks #34 highest peak in the United States and #19 in Taos County.

The peak evaluation is 12,290 ft, with a prominence of 1,237 ft.

It’s a popular spot to visit in the county and is 23 minutes away from the city of Taos.

Some of the rocks and minerals you can find are baryte, chalcopyrite, gold, pyrite, rhyolite, and quartz.

9. The Taos Mountain Trail

The Taos-Colorado trade and business exchanges along these pathways from the prehistoric era to the Spanish colonial period.

In the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Taos Mountain Trail connects the northern and southern peaks.

Its history is woven throughout the route.

The trail’s location is between northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

You can find numerous different rocks and other minerals along the route.

Some include acanthite, chalcopyrite, fluorite, galena, gold, malachite, and quartz.

10. Anchor Mine

Another great place to go looking for gold in New Mexico is at Anchor Mine.

Unfortunately, the mining operations are now closed, and some people have had their luck in finding small pieces of gold buried a bit in the ground.

You can find the extract location of Anchor Mine on Google Maps here.

Wrapping Up

These ten places are not the only places you can go rockhounding in Taos, New Mexico.

Instead, you’ll find these places to be the lucky spots to start digging for rocks, crystals, and fossils.

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

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Rockhounding Taos