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Rockhounding Is the Latest Outdoor Trend in the Hudson Valley

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The Hudson Valley is famous for its beautiful scenery and stunning views. When you try rockhounding, you’ll find that some of its greatest treasures are hidden just below your feet.

Rockhounding has been a niche hobby for nature lovers for decades, but in a setting as bountiful as the Hudson Valley, it’s an activity that everyone should take a crack at. Not familiar with the pastime? For the first-timers out there, rockhounding is an activity in which individuals hunt for crystals, minerals, gemstones, fossils, and other treasures.

There’s a long list of reasons one might be interested in rockhounding, such as collecting rare specimens, using finds to craft one-of-a-kind jewelry, or appreciating the natural landscape around you. Whether you believe the crystals and gems you find hold healing energies or you’re just on the hunt for a souvenir from your latest outdoor adventure, rockhounding—forgive the pun—rocks.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you head out on your first expedition:

First Research, Then Rocks

According to the website How to Find Rocks, you can rockhound on public lands, private lands, or paid dig sites. Before you start collecting, make sure you have permission to take rocks from the site and stay out of restricted areas. The Bureau of Land Management is a good resource for determining whether or not an area is ideal for rockhounding.

Be Safe!

Rockhounding takes adventurers to some remote locations, so you’ll want to pack some essentials to make sure your trip goes safely and smoothly. The Capital District Mineral Club recommends gloves, sturdy shoes, eye protection, a backpack, and a first aid kit. Don’t forget plenty of water and snacks in case all the hiking and digging leaves you a bit peckish.

 

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Grab Your Gear

Though anyone can start out by picking up eye-catching rocks, there are a few tools you’ll want in your belt to help you collect and identify your finds. Rock hammers and chisels come in handy when chipping away to get to the riches inside a bigger stone. Small shovels are useful for moving surface dirt out of the way. A small brush, a water bottle, and a magnifying glass can assist in identifying the gems you find.

View the Capital District Mineral Club’s full list of recommended tools here, but keep in mind they aren’t all necessary for every trip.

Now that you’re stocked up and ready to set out, here are some of the best places to go rockhounding in and around the Hudson Valley.

Related: 18 Hudson Valley Trails That Are Perfect for Summer Hikes

Cornwall

The Hudson River Valley is full of naturally-occurring crystals, including bloodstone and jasper. Rockhounders have found an abundance of these multi-colored stones by the Hudson River in the area near Cornwall

 

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There are no guided tours here, so keep your eyes peeled and don’t be afraid to get some dirt on your shoes. Try searching in shallow parts of the river near the shore or nearby creek beds.

Ellenville

The old quarry in Berme Road Park is home to deposits of quartz crystals and pyrite (also known as fool’s gold). There may be some loose crystals on the ground, but you’ll want to bring a rock pick or hammer to get to the good stuff. 

Find the quarry along the trail from the park for rockhounding that is free and open to the public.

Want even more rockhounding spots? Here are a few locations near (just not within) the Hudson Valley.

The Herkimer Diamond Mines

New York is famous for its Herkimer Diamonds, which aren’t diamonds but rather double-terminated quartz crystals with 18 facets that create a beautiful, diamond-like shape.

The Herkimer mines are perfect for the whole family, welcoming all ages and full of helpful resources and staff. Admission includes access to the prospecting site, a rock hammer, and bags to store your newfound treasures. The best part? Rockhounders get to keep all the crystals they find. Take the crystals home with you or make them into jewelry at the onsite Artisan Center.

Hooper Garnet Mine

Located in the Adirondack Mountains, the Hooper Mine is both a stunning hike and a great place for amateur rockhounds to explore. Enjoy the one-mile hike through the trees until you reach the abandoned open pit garnet mine. 

 

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After you collect your fill of gems, head back down the trail for a bite to eat at the Garnet Hill Lodge or continue your trek on one of the many other hiking trails in the area.

Town of Jay

The Covered Bridge Swimming Hole off of Glen Road has a cache of crystals just under the surface of the water. Here you’ll find labradorite, moonstone, quartz, and even some garnets if you’re lucky. Walk along the shore to spot stones shimmering in the water or sift through the gravel under the bridge.

Once you’ve collected more than you can carry, cool off with a swim or hang out on the rocks and enjoy the sunshine.

Related: Find Vintage Treasures at These Hudson Valley Antique Shops

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