Chrissy and I spent an afternoon at Topaz Mountain a few years ago and had a great time too! Thanks for your report.
I don't know about the trilobites, but I can tell you that it isn't really possible to remove rhylolite from the crystals or at least not without damaging them. Rhylolite is essentially a fine-grained granite made up of quartz, feldspar and other minerals that are very resistant to chemical and physical removal processes.
Maybe one of our fossil guys can tell you how best to handle your trilobite specimens.
I have also been to Topaz Mountain and Udig trilobites. I left my trilobites in matrix just as they split out of the shale. My topazes are still in a jar and I am ashamed to say I have done nothing with them.
Sorry I am not much help.
If you are trying to clean the white mineral from the Topaz, it's usually only possible by manually scraping it off with dental picks and such. It is pretty tough to take the Rhyolite off them and sometimes this mineral is what holds them together. It's usually wiser to leave them as is.
I have collected in this area of Utah a few times over the years and I like the Topaz from the back of the Thomas Range, by Dugway Pass, the best. They are the same Sherry color but when exposed to light they turn pink instead of clear. There is better Bixbyite back there also. Most of this area is covered by claim though and permission must be granted to legally collect there. The Delta area is one of the best places to still collect great pieces, for your collection, as anywhere in the World. Just the Drum and Thomas Ranges alone could keep you busy for years. Then there is the Obsidian and other great minerals South of there and still great Petrified Wood back in the Easteren section of Utah.
I'm looking forward to my next visit out West and have stated to plant the seeds of travel in my wife's mind already. Utah is one of my favorite stops all time with me.
Thanks guys. In my search of local fossil sites I actually found a couple in Wyoming. Now the weekend is getting closer and I still dont know where to go.
Hey Kevin you found some nice lookin topaz there!!
Good luck on the next hunt!!
Dean D. Welter
Thanks for the great trip report Kevin. As a facetter Topaz Mt. is high on my list of "want to visit"! It looks like you did very well on both topaz and trilobites.
HIYA! I "dug"
up this old thread because my brain has been hot on Utah this winter!
Could anyone tell me the method they used to get their topaz? Were you wash hunting hiking for broken out ones or did you dig and sift or find cracks and open them with pry bars or ???
Also ANY camping tips would be most beneficial to me. IS there a "central" camping site that gives one access to the triloites,topaz and geodes or does one have to do the trilobites and then move UP to get the other two.
I see Jay did the trilobites and topaz but no mention of geodes. The geode trips I've read of were not camping there.... I have maps and see how far apart they all are but wonder about those dirt roads that go between them. Is the Pony Express route worth driving the whole thing or should one not bother and tackle Dugway from Topaz Mt? We like scenic wild camps and Topaz Mt didn't look very pretty BUT maybe setting up there is best?
Well, lotsa wondering from one who hasn't been out there at all!
Thanks everyone for ANY tips! We figure to do a motel before and after to clean up and catch our breath Should we stay in Delta 'cause of the two rock shops or do other towns have some good ones too?
Wishin and a Dreamin and watching a glacier around our house melt! KOR! Rhonda
Rhonda, when I went to Utah with my club we tent camped at the KOA in Delta and near the Knolls at Topaz Mountain. The people in Delta are very friendly and nice to rockhounds. There are a couple top notch rock shops there and you can ask permission about collecting Dugway Geodes at their pit. I bought some top quality geodes there. The roads between Topaz Mountain and the Dugway Geode pit were passable then (Sand Pass). The KOA in Delta had a nice grassy area for tent campers and a shower, but noisy trains went by during the night. We also camped near the Knolls. The Knolls are is a good area to hard rock mine for topaz using hammer and chisels and pry bars working the cracks. You can also walk and scramble up to a couple sites on the mountain to work for red beryl and bixbyite. I have always been intrigued by the Fish Springs Area and Gold Hill, but I have not been there. I plan to go there the next time I go to Utah. Many minerals can be collected at Gold Hill.
There are several ghost towns in the area worth checking out.
If you go during the dry season the roads should be passable albeit hot and dusty. Also stop and get some of the Drum Mountain Agate and listen for the ghost drums while you are there.
There are some funky hot springs in Utah also.
Good Luck and I think you will have a ball!
The nice thing about the fossils found at U-Dig is that they are quite hard as compared to the matrix. Bevan usually cleans em up a bit using a wire wheel. That method works pretty well but it makes an awful dusty mess. For smaller fossils I use a Dremel engraver with a point ground from a small carbide drill bit. It will pulverize and flake away the matrix leaving the fossil exposed.
As far as the Topaz Mtn area goes, the best way to find the sherry colored crystals is to find a spot on the ryolite that is soft and powdery and easily scraped out with a small chisel or screwdriver. The crystals form in these pockets. You will find quite a few of the clear crystals and clusters heavily included with ryolite sand but occasionally you will see a nice sherry one sitting there waiting to be coaxed out. The easiest way to find the clear crystals is to screen the sands of the washes. Find a spot where the water has flowed down thru a bunch of ryolite and search for a spot where the water flowed into a pool and slowed down. This is usually where the most crystals will drop out and get buried in the sands.
Thank You Jay,especially for the camping tips!
I HOPE we do go this year before gas prices get any higher! It looks like our health is with us both(last Spring we got thwarted) so getting a new(ish) truck is the major hang up now.
I'm compiling Utah notes and maps like crazy!
We'll drop down from Idaho I think,not the Wendover way,so I doubt we'll get back over as far as Gold Hill on our first trip out there. I want to start with the famed trio(topaz,Dugway geodes & trilobites...oh and any stray agates or mine dump minerals near our route!)
GEE, I was Told about that drumming a few years ago! A couple from Seattle were camping along the Pony Express road and HEARD IT! I didn't even know there was a Drum Mountain! Cool! They told me they saw wild horses out there too and just had a fabulous time and never even found the geodes they originally went out there for. Of course with us the geodes MUST be found!hahah, but Rick and I will certainly enjoy any other added attractions as well.
Hey Jeffrey! Thanks for mentioning about digging out soft pockets at Topaz Mt in the rhyolite. I saw some quartz crystals found exactly that way many years ago so I understand the scenario and it'll be fun to hunt that way. And it figures about the wash seeking, since garnets and gold "sink" like that too! Sounds like my kind of place.
Well cool, surprised to see my name popping up. you can actually camp at the Geode beds as well but you will have to bring everything and I do mean everything with you. Also, on the way to the Geode beds there is a small area where you can search for topaz as well, mostly pink and clear ones. When I say "search" I mean pick up, as it is very rich in Topaz. If interested give me a buzz off post.
First time on website. I have twin 7 year-old rockhounds and I am a beginner at rock hunting. We live in the Rogue Valley in Oregon and read some postings from others who found a good spot or two in the area. Is it permitted to divulge approximate locations to others for rock hunting and if so, could someone assist us with directions. As I mentioned we are complete novices and have collected fossils, agates and petrified wood in Bandon. We would like to expand our horizon for an honest to goodness field trip.
Hi Patric and welcome to our group!
You will do a lot better if you post your message as a "NEW" post.You will get a lot more "traffic" that way.
If you go to the bottom of the page you will see a link to Field Trip Reports.There may be something listed under OR that will also help you.
WOW,,,,,Two 7 year old girls!!!! Wait till they're 13!!!!
Thanks for the response. I will send my next inquery that direction. I almost forgot about my question until this morning. We joined the Crater Rock Museum and have some leads from them.
We are a family of 7, 5 kids under age of 12. We are looking for simple place to rockhound around
but hopefully spend less on entry fee than charged at Delta's U-dig. We are in Tooele and can travel up to about 2 hours. Any thoughts....?
Topaz Mountain and Drum Mountain sites are free. You could and I assume still can, collect geodes for free at Dugway geode beds. There is a wonderstone site near you at Vernon Hills. See the Vernon Hills site and other Utah sites at the following site: