Arizona is one of the most popular areas in the world for rock hounding.
With a plethora of minerals and gemstones scattered across the state, it’s no wonder that the state receives rock-hounding visitors from all across the nation.
Where To Find Flint In Arizona: A Guide To Getting Started
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.
To find flint, which is a type of quartz known as chert, you’ll need to look for a dark grey to black stone with very sharp edges.
You can locate flint in the following locations across the state:
1. The Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
Located between Highway 180 and the I40, east of Holbrook, the Petrified Wood National Park is a well-known location for finding interesting geological formations.
The park is set up for hiking and various gravel paths and trails are easily accessible.
As the collection of specimens is strictly prohibited, it is the perfect place to see a selection of rocks and minerals that remain undisturbed.
You can find specimens by observing the trails, especially the graveled areas and along the dry river courses.
A vehicle is required to access the park, but once inside, there are numerous hiking trails to choose from.
Backpacking in designated areas is allowed and you can obtain this information from the Painted Desert Visitor Center or the Rainbow Forest Museum.
Bear in mind that the elevation of the park is 5800 feet with extreme temperature changes as well as minimal water.
While there are no formal campsites, you can backpack and spend the night in groups of up to 8 people. As the area is ecologically sensitive, limited numbers are allowed at any one time.
You will need a vehicle permit to enter the park, but accessibility to the trails is primarily on foot.
2. Near Phoenix, AZ
The area surrounding Phoenix is a well-known rock-hounding location.
If you travel north along the Black Canyon Highway, you can find an area that is filled with interesting minerals and rocks, including flint or chert.
The river banks are the preferred location to search for specimens.
However, you are going to have a pretty extensive hike to find specimens as the area is well-visited.
Some well-known areas that you can investigate include Skunk Creek, which you will find to the west of the Black Canyon Freeway.
Southeast of Rock Springs is another interesting location close to Rock Springs.
You will find Tip |Top mine to the west of the highway, up in the mountains.
The Agua River is also nearby with its gravel shores providing plenty of interesting specimens.
The area is high up at 6500 feet, so appropriate clothing and equipment are recommended if you plan on spending the nights out in the hills.
There is no need to dig for flint as the specimens are found in the loose dirt and gravel.
A 4X4 is not needed but some areas will require a bit of a hike to reach.
Consider booking a tour or ATV from a local tour company that can point you to some of the more remote areas of the Sonora Desert.
3. Near Tucson, AZ
Tuscon is particularly well-known for its variety and quality of rocks and mineral deposits.
The Twin Buttes area southwest of Tucson should be your first destination as it is not only a beautiful location but also particularly rich in interesting rock formations.
The old mine dumps dotted around Twin Buttes are a popular destination and you can locate it southwest of Tuscon on the I19.
Also located in the same region and part of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge are the old mine dumps in the Sierrita Mountains.
If you are traveling from the East on I-19, you can gain access from the east of McGee Ranch Road.
A locked ranch gate at a water tower about 4.5 miles west of Mission Road marks the end of the road and you can then park around the water tower.
Don’t attempt to head west on the Pima Mine Road as you will be trespassing if you then try to access the Sierrita Mountain from there.
Avoid the southeast access via the Canoa Road exit as it is private property owned by the Caterpillar Equipment Tucson Proving Ground and the Duval Mine dump.
Don’t forget to take water, as the area is extremely dry in the summer months.
4. Near Clifton, AZ
To the northeast of Tucson, near the New Mexico border, you’ll find Clifton.
It’s a small town with a ton of rock-hounding opportunities.
Limestone Gulch on the San Francisco River Road, north of Clifton, is well known for its interesting finds.
You can find flint along the banks of the dry river beds in the area.
Further west of limestone Gulch you’ll find Mulligan Peak.
You can reach it on foot, just don’t forget to carry plenty of water as the area is extremely dry all year round.
South of town, you’ll come across the Ward Canyon road along which you’ll find plenty of opportunities to hop out of your car and poke around.
The Mine dumps along Coronado Trail, which is just south of Clifton along highway 191, are another rich hunting ground for specimens.
5. Near Morristown, AZ
Northwest of Phoenix, you’ll find the town of Morristown.
Other than rocks, you’ll need to keep an eye out for the cholla cactus that dot the landscape here.
Most roadside areas have a large number of specimens that can be reached a short walk from your vehicle, without the need to go offroad.
Of particular interest is the road between Morristown and Castle Hot Springs.
The area around the RV stop and hotel, and in the surrounding stream-beds will give you hours of access to some interesting finds.
6. Near Kingman, AZ
In western Arizona along Route 66, you’ll find the city of Kingman, around which many old mines and prospects can be found.
The only problem here is that most of the mines are located on private property which requires the landowner’s permission to access them.
However, as flint isn’t a stone that you need to dig for, most of the river beds will yield an assortment of flintstones in a variety of sizes.
The Monolith Garden Trail will take you through some stunning rock formations and is found to the west of town along Metwell Drive.
The White Cliffs Wagon Trail is another interesting hiking trail that will yield some interesting specimens.
The trail starts just off the White Cliffs Road, which can be accessed from the I40 after taking the Beale Street offramp.
7. Near Cave Creek, AZ
To the northeast of Phoenix, you’ll find the Cave Creek area.
There is a large variety of specimens hiding in this area and it is considered a rock-hounding paradise by locals.
Apart from flint, you’ll find a variety of minerals here, including agate and jasper, as well as the possibility of finding thundereggs.
Check out the Red Rover mine, the area surrounding the Go John Mine and Seven Springs, Bloody Basin Road.
There’s plenty of parking available at the Cave Creek Regional Park visitor center.
There is an entrance fee of $7 per car, but then you’re on your own.
Take the Go John trail, which is clearly marked.
8. Near Congress, AZ
Northwest of Phoenix, on highway 93, you’ll find Congress.
This is a well-known area for collecting rocks and minerals and, along with the flint that you’re sure to find, is the possibility that you’ll stumble upon some gold nuggets for which the location is famous.
It’s a long shot for sure, but there’s always a chance if you know where to look.
Steer clear of the mines as they are privately owned and you require the landowner’s permission to hunt for specimens.
Take highway 89 towards Yarnell and you’ll find plenty of places to stop and stretch your legs.
There are some interesting walks just off the Stanton road towards Rich hill, east of Yarnell that are well worth investigating.
You won’t need a 4×4 as the trails are easy to walk and you can park your vehicle off the road.
Just be certain that you are not trespassing, as the old mining areas are all privately owned.
It is always a good idea to remember that collecting rocks and minerals is subject to the laws governing the land on which they are found.
In general, you cannot collect specimens in National Parks and unless you have the permission of a landowner, all specimens you may find on private property belong to the person who is legally entitled to them.
However, by joining a club or local association, you will be able to visit sites that are open to specific groups and be able to keep what you find according to the rules of each club.
I trust that you have found some useful information on Arizona’s rock hounding scene and that it will encourage you to visit this amazing part of the country.