Rockhounding Virginia: 10 Gorgeous Locations to Find Unique Treasures

Rockhounding is the activity of collecting minerals, rocks, crystals, and gemstones from various places.

Virginia is known for its mineral richness and is often considered by people taking part in rockhounding, as does nearby Tennessee.

This article discusses top sites you can visit for rockhounding Virginia, ranging from popular commercial sites to the hidden sites. 

Where To Go For Rockhounding Virginia

Disclaimer

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.

Albemarle County

There are plenty of sites you can explore when you visit this county.

Briar Fork should be on top of your list.

A common mineral there is Goethite pseudomorphs after pyrite, which some refer to as devil’s rice.

You can collect this at the side of the banks after it rains and the rain washes them up on the banks.

Unfortunately, it is on route six near the route 800 intersection, and you will need a 4-wheel drive car to access it.

Some of the other areas that could interest you are the Alberene soapstone quarry.

This quarry is rich in rocks and minerals, including Alberene actinolite-tremolite, apatite, ferroan dolomite, galena, magnetite, and many more.

Another site you could visit is the Esmont slate quarry. The quarry possesses minerals such as Esmont dolomite, limonite, siderite, and pseudomorphs after pyrite.

Accessing these quarries may present a challenge, especially when it rains, so this is another place where you’ll need a 4-wheel drive car. 

The Faber lead mine is rich in fiber galena (lead), and Albemarle County should be on your list as you can find these and many more minerals and rocks you may look for in Virginia.

There is also the Martin Marietta quarry that is near Charlottesville.

Some minerals present in this site include epidote and pyrite.

You may find muscovite crystals and quartz at the quarry.

Amelia County

Amelia County is second on our list, and we also know it for being rich in minerals.

The first site you want to visit is the Morefield Gem mine.

We know the Morefield Gem mine for its pebble pups and is your number one go to if you are looking for them.

Other mines you could visit include the Beryl pegmatite mines and the Champion and Jefferson pegmatite mine.

We know the Beryl pegmatite mine for various minerals, including muscovite, rum-colored, and quartz.

The mine is near Amelia Beryl and should be easily accessible.

Where can I find gemstones in Virginia?

Well, you are asking the right questions as you can get it from Morefield as it also has the mineral amazonite.

You could also get topaz from the mine, and it is a magnificent site to visit. 

The Champion and Jefferson pegmatite mine also have an array of minerals and rocks present.

These include cleavelandite, orthoclase, columbite-tantalite, perthite, pyrochlore, tourmaline, and many more.

It is near Amelia, and access to the site is free.

However, the road gets muddy when it rains, so you will need a car that can easily move through rough terrain. 

Another mine you can visit while in Amelia County is the Ligon No.1 pegmatite mine.

It is near Chula albite Beryl and is rich in minerals and crystals.

The crystals present are the muscovite crystals, and the minerals include quartz, also referred to as rose and tourmaline.

There is also the Rutherford pegmatite mine which is rich in minerals such as apatite and bavenite.

It is also near Amelia.

All these sites will create a wonderful experience for your rock-hounding journey. 

Buckingham County

Buckingham County, in Virginia, is also an excellent choice when looking for a place to go rockhounding.

A common site to consider is the Willis Mountain Kyanite Mine.

The mine is near Sprouse’s Corner, 60 miles west of Richmond, and is easily accessible when the weather is right.

Some minerals found in the mine include crandallite-florencite, hematite, apatite, kyanite, lazulite, muscovite, and pyrite.

Another mine near Sprouse’s Corner is the morrow gold mine. We know this mine for its richness in gold. 

Buckingham County also hosts the largest kyanite mine.

The mine is in rural Buckingham and is a commercial site that generates profit for the county.

Other mines in Buckingham County are the New Canton mines and the Slate River site.

The New Canton mines are a combination of the Hudgins, Johnson, Margret, and Mckenna mines.

They are near Canton and are known for minerals such as chalcopyrite, gahnite, galena, gold, pyrite, and silver.

The Slate River site is rich in chalcopyrite, covellite, and pyrite.

It is at road cuts near Buckingham courthouse.

There is also the Tourmaline site which is near Andersonville.

We know the site for its black tourmaline that floats in white and iron stain quartz.

There is also quartz which occurs in crystals; hence this site is also appealing to tourists.

All these mines possess minerals you may be looking for, and they are easy to access, so consider Buckingham County as your next stop for rockhounding. 

Appomattox County

Appomattox County is in the state of Virginia and is also known to be mineral-laden.

The Appomattox Lime County Quarry is famous in the state that is near Bent Creek.

The Appomattox Lime Company manages the Appomattox Lime Quarry, ensuring that the roads towards the quarry are smooth to use.

There is also no fee for Youne is charged to access the quarry, and you can visit the quarry any time of the year.

Some minerals present in the quarry are calcite, chalcopyrite, dolomite, pyrite, dravite, and sphalerite.

Another site to consider in Appomattox County is the Enterprise mines.

We also call them the manganese mines and are near Beckham.

It is easily accessible though you may experience tough terrain when it is rainy.

The mine possesses crystals such as quartz crystals. It also has gems such as the cryptomelane gem.

The minerals present are magnetite and pyrite.

The mine is secure, but entry is free into the mines.

Appomattox County should be on your list when considering places to visit in Virginia for rockhounding. 

Allen Harris Bauxite Mine

This mine is on private property in Augusta, Virginia.

It’s near Middlebrook and Spottswood, and a fence surrounds it.

The mine was first opened in 1942, and entry to the park is free.

The farm owners may collect quartz, but the minerals present in the mine are boehmite, diaspore, gibbsite, and kaolinite.

Gaining access to the site is relatively easy, and you can put this mine on your list of places to go rockhounding in Virginia. 

The roads leading to the mine are also accessible by any car; hence you won’t need a 4-wheel drive car unless it is raining.

There is no entrance fee to the mine, though you will still need to inform the landowners of your visit.

The scenery on the mine site is also superb, which adds to its aesthetic.

Madison County

There are plenty of sites you could explore for minerals, rocks, or crystals in Madison County, Virginia.

One of the most common sites is the Rose River Unakite area.

This area is located west of Syria and is accessible by using route 670.

The road is accessible to many types of cars, but as you dive deeper towards the mine, the roads get inaccessible, especially during poor weather.

Some minerals present in the mine include Unakite granite.

This is composed of epidote, orthoclase, and quartz.

Other minerals include Jasper, metabasalt, quartz, and quartz pseudomorphs after the metamorphosis of actinolite. 

Another site you can consider when visiting the area is the Dark Hollow mine.

The Blue Ridge copper company ensures the mine is well maintained.

The mine is also easily accessible via road.

This mine is near Fishers Gap and is mainly known for its copper.

Other minerals you can find here include azurite, malachite, serpentine, cuprite, epidote, and chalcopyrite.

These two sites make Madison County a hub for all the people looking to fill in their love for adventure and their passion for rockhounding Virginia. 

Nelson County

Nelson County in Virginia also is a hub for some good rockhounding sites.

The first site that we will expound on is the American Rutile Quarry.

The American Rutile Quarry is on private property, and you will need to gain access through the gates surrounding it, though the entrance is free.

The quarry is near Roseland and is known for its variety of minerals.

These include anatase, ilmenite, chalcopyrite, augite, garnet, orthopyroxene, blue quartz, which is rare and rutile.

There is also sphene and zoisite in small amounts.

All these minerals are sure to capture the attention of any rockhounding enthusiast or anyone looking to start it as a hobby.

There is also the soapstone quarry in Nelson County.

You can access the soapstone quarry via route 800 and is just east of Schuyler.

The mine is on the south side of the road, and the dumpsite of the mine is on the north side of the road.

Trash collection is done at and around the quarry to ensure its proper maintenance.

The quarry has an array of minerals, including ilmenite, actinolite, magnetite, pyrite, apatite, calcite, chalcopyrite, chlorite, dolomite, and galena millerite, serpentine, and talc.

All these minerals and rocks make this site very appealing to anyone visiting Nelson county to do rockhounding. 

Rockbridge County

Rockbridge County, Virginia, is also host to sites that can be excellent for rockhounding.

The Bargers Limestone Quarry is a perfect example of such a site.

The quarry is in Lexington and has an array of minerals.

These minerals include barite, fluorite, pyrite, and calcite.

There are also crystals present in the quarry, and these are the quartz crystals.

The quarry is properly maintained and accessible by road, but you will need a 4-wheel drive car. 

Another site worth a look is the Route 56 Unakite Site.

It is near Vesuvius and has had a few adjustments made to it.

In 2006, they placed large boulders in the parking area to protect people present in the quarry.

It has a variety of minerals that include epidote, quartz, and orthoclase.

The mine also has apatite, magnetite, pumpellyite, and chlorite, but we rarely find these in the quarry and occur in small quantities. 

The Irish creek tin mines, better known as the cash mines, are also a good site visit for rockhounding.

It is near Montebello and should be accessible to you when you go for a visit.

Some minerals present in the mines are aikenite, gold, phenakite, pyrite, sericite, chalcopyrite, arsenopyrite, and wolframite.

The options from this mine are worth the visit.

In addition, the Long Jack Quarry near Glasgow contains minerals such as barite, chalcopyrite, fluorite, calcite, pyrite, and malachite.

Finally, be sure to put down Rockbridge County as a likely destination for your rockhounding adventures. 

Pittsylvania County

Pittsylvania County also falls on the long list of mineral-laden counties in Virginia.

One site in Pittsylvania County suitable for rockhounding is the Pittsylvania Wayside.

It’s in the south of Altavista, and you could take bus 29 to get there.

Some minerals it possesses are Berly, columbite-tantalite, garnet, muscovite, zircon, and orthoclase.

Such sites make rockhounding in Virginia better, which also have a stream running on their edge and a picnic shelter.

Thus, one can rest after a long day at the site. 

The Axton pegmatite district is also another site you might consider when visiting Virginia for rockhounding.

The district comprises several mines, including Dalton, Tyler, Vicama, and Will Rogers mines.

The district is near Axton and is known for its wide variety of rocks.

These include beryl, feldspar, kyanite, tourmaline, and garnet. There is also quartz in this district, but they are smoky.

The Emery prospect is also a site one should keep their eyes on.

It is near Whittles, and some of the common minerals found there are corundum, spine L, and magnetite.

All these sites could come in handy during your next visit to Virginia. 

Augusta County

There are plenty of minerals, rocks, crystals, and gems one can find in Augusta County, Virginia.

The Mine Branch is a popular site that one might consider visiting when in Augusta.

This is a creek that is near Crimora. You can take the road east of route 340 and parallel to 612 to access the creek.

Some minerals found in the creek are cryptomeline, manganese ore: which is the main mineral found in the creek, psilomelane, and pyrolusite.

There is also quartz present in the creek, and it occurs in various forms such as crystals.

Before entering, you need to confirm with the landowners who have authority over the creek.

They will walk you around the creek and show you places to avoid.  

Other places of interest in Augusta County are the Belmont limestone quarry and the Frank Mill quarry.

Calcite crystals are in both these quarries.

They are near Staunton, and the access roads to these quarries are good to expect when the rains fall too heavy.

There is also the Crimora mine which is near Waynesboro.

Some minerals found in this mine are pyrolusite, psilomelane, and cryptomelane.

Access to these mines is easy, but you will require a guide who will show you around the mine.

Finally, there is also the Simons limestone quarry which is also essentially a valley stone quarry.

It is near Staunton, and some minerals present in this mine are barite, onyx, and calcite crystals.

As you can see, the options to choose from in Augusta County are plenty.

To add to the list, there is also the Spottswood bauxite district.

It comprises Allen, Harris, and Lightner mines.

There is also the Lott prospect and Yago farm prospect. They are all near Spottswood and are rich in minerals.

These include diaspore, boehmite, gibbsite, and kaolinite.

Hence, it would be best if you considered Augusta County when planning your rock-hounding trip to Virginia. 

Wrap Up

Virginia is a great destination for rockhounds.

Getting to know locations in Virginia where you can visit for your rockhounding trip beforehand is beneficial as this will ensure you get to enjoy your trip.

Rockhounding is a hobby and fun activity that many people from different parts of the world enjoy today.

If you need help figuring out where to go next to hunt for collects to collect, check out our rockhounding near me page for our latest articles.