Hi-I've been trying to research agate collecting sites in Montana, Wyoming and even North Dakota but keep running into a near blank wall. I am going to be travelling to Seattle via I-90 in several weeks and have planned time to spend in these areas to look for agates or other lapidary material. I realize this board is focused mostly on the Southwest US but perhaps someone has some experience with potential sites out west. Thanks
you can collect MT Mose Agate along the Yellowstone River along the I-90, but the best area is along I-94 to east of there. There are areas near Lodge Grass where they are mining coal where you can find fossils at.
South of Butte is Crystal Park where you can find Quartz crystals. East of Butte there are allot of old mines where you can find some neat stuff. Now if you want to find MT Sapphires there is a way you can go to Phillipsburg on hwy 1 off of I-90 and stop at The Sapphire Studio (Gem Mountain) then after you are done just keep going North on hwy 10A back to I-90. Or if you have lots of time you can go north of Butte on I-15 to Helena MT for Sapphires at the Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine (tell Deb Carl from WI says Hi) LOL. then take hwy 12 west to I-90.
For ID if your in to Garnets drop down to Emerald Creek ID for Star Garnets. To get there go south on hwy 3 to Emerald Creek RD to the collecting area. You can here to check it out and to see what it is all about and how to get there at: Emerald Creek Star Garnet Mine
that's all I have for you on your trip. Good luck and I hope you find allot of goodies. KOR Carl in WI
In Montana I would stop for sapphires and Montana agates in the Yellowstone River. Get a copy of "Rockhounding Montana" by Robert Feldman.
it's been years since i was over that way but anywhere you can find public access to the yellowstone river from glendive, mt to billings, mt should get you some agates i'm sorry i can't be more accurate but it's been way too long since i was there. i would say that almost every town would have someone to ask where to go. except for billings the towns are fairly small and the natives are usually pretty friendly.
Mark from Faribault
I just got back from there the second week of May.
The river is coming up and is much higher than it was then.
I had the blizzard to deal with but still did well.
Go to Glendive and talk to the ladies at the Chamber. They are wonderfull. Fallon is ok, but only on the cliff side. If you go to Glendive, go out of town on Marsh road. If you hit the gravel, you went too far. There will be a motocross place with a parkinglot and a crapper. Go back a few hundred yards from that towards town where the hill starts going up on the right side of the road. (opposite from the park) look there for fossils of oysters and you can't miss it. You will see where I and a few others were digging.
I hunt agates in the Billings area,great spots most places you stop at to look,also Forsyth area too!
Also,I lived in ND for over 30 years,not much agate in that state!More petwood than anything...
I worked in North Dakota for almost a year and found plenty of what look to be miss agate along the knife river between Hazen and Beulah. We were hunting knife river flint for napping purposes but found plenty of agate along the way. I'm no scholar when it comes to rock hounding, but we were also finding what one person was calling agatized petrified wood. It had a transition from knife river flint to a pearlescent color to clear agate. More rare but fun to look at. I took some of the moss agate(or what I think to be moss agate) and slabbed it. Blacks, Browns, reds and orange inclusions throughout. Going back up for more work at the end of April, plan to make the drive to Glendive, MT then.
If you want a good spot to hunt pet wood and agate, go to Sidney, MT and head south to the Seven Sisters Island. There's plenty of gravel and river rocks there on the banks of the Yellowstone river. I've found beautiful agates, pet wood and jasper in the area. You do have to know that you're looking for as some of the prettiest to look at are black or very dark brown on the outside. Pick what you can and slab it. You'd be surprised at what you'll find on the inside of some!
Happy picking! Jason