Rockhounding Site Guides

A Cautionary Word About Rockhounding Site Guides

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I took this photo in Montana

Rockhounding 'site guide' books are a mixed bag.  Although there are lots of these books, most are useless.  A few (very few actually) are useful to rockhounders and their families and include pictures, maps, and accurate directions to rockhounding sites as well as tips and practical information.  Most rockhounding site guides, however, are dated (or worse yet, are recent publications but use dated information), describe sites that no longer exist, don't include useful directions or maps, or simply don't include many (if any) rockhounding sites for children and their families.  In addition, many newly published site guides simply repeat information about sites that have been known for generations and some of which no longer have lawful access or available specimens.  In short, many of these books are a tremendous waste of money.


The famed 'Lucas Creek' site in Western Washington that was available to recreational rock hounders for over 50 years … until internet message boards and magazine articles brought destructive rockhounders to the site and the property owner closed access.  A few bad actors ruined a world-reknown site for everyone.

There is no universal explanation for the quality of rockhounding site guides.  We have a couple of theories.  First, many rockhounders as well as professional or commercial collectors seem to be notoriously tight-lipped about rockhounding sites.  There are good reasons for this (for example, if you take time to visit a site that has been popularized by a book or, worse yet, a television show or internet message board, you very likely will find that the property owner has closed access to the site or that the site is riddled with rockhounding pits and garbage ... seriously, we've seen this far too often), but, it does limit considerably the ability to cultivate new rockhounders.

Second, rockhounding seems to be a recreational activity that may have peaked a generation or two ago.  Sure, there are new rockhounders and, when children have an opportunity to go rockhounding, most seem to enjoy it very much.  But, many rockhounders now are seasoned citizens.  Again, there are probably a couple of explanations for this.  First, today, there are many other "activities" that compete for family time - e.g., computer games, television, shopping malls, and, of course, commuting.  Second, many public lands that were available for rockhounding (as well as other recreational activities) a generation or two ago, no longer are available.  This is due, in substantial part, to the astonishing mountain of 'environmental' laws, regulations, and policies that have been put in place over the last forty years.

Probably the best thing you could do to become familiar with good rockhounding sites (besides supporting Gator Girl Rocks) would be to join a local rockhounding club.  You will find that these organizations typically have wonderful people who enjoy rockhounding and who are willing to provide some helpful support.  My local rockhounding club (see Washington section), for example, is wonderful.  Truly awesome people.

Now get out there.  Make some memories and have some fun.

And, with the above caveat, I have listed hundreds of rockhounding site guides - on a state-by-state basis - on this website.  If you plan to buy one, kindly access Amazon through my website.  You'll get your book, Gator Girl Rocks will get a very small commission (at no cost to you) and, like all profits, I contribute every penny to charity.  Thank you for your support.

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