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Thanks James! That was very helpful. We would also like to go gold paning, even if it's just flakes. Any help there??
Brew Lamb
Me and my family are new to the rock hunting world. My wife says she is filling out a life long dream when we are on the hunt. My Daughter (6) loves it as well and looks forward to our adventures. We are taking a trip to Keokuk, Ia. next weekend. At this point we are aware of all of the fee based mines in the area. We are planning to take a crack at one of these locations. However I have seen from all the previous post experts reside one these forums. I would like to find some locations that are not fee base and on non private property. If anyone can give us information on good hunting locations it would be appreciated.
I am looking to go looking tomorrow and was wondering where the free areas are as well?
the only free hunting location is at Wildcat Springs Park in Hamilton, Illinois just across the river from Keokuk - you can stop by the Chamber of Commerce and they can give you directions should you need them

my husband and I walked the creek there in May and found just a few - of course it has been hunted for many years and there are not many to be found but if you go you will surely find some and it is an enjoyable time to walk the creek

Thank you  Docia for the info. I am going to head out there and do the free one
today and spend the night and head to Jacob's tomorrow.

My girlfriend and I are new to rock hounding but, we have the bug..

We have already collected a few 5g buckets of 
 Quartz, fossil's, Granite and unidentified rocks. We need some rock ID's.
Thanks again for the tip on Wildcat Creek Park! 

I went Fri and Sat tent camping and had a great time.

The park manager told me that there would be slim pickings due to the lack of rain but..... That was not the case! There were 2 unopened sitting on the ground at our camp site. The first one we hunted for was the size of a 16" softball and had some fantastic large crystals. We found 100's more! Lots of small one that had rusty crystals and many that had clear, milky and yellow crystals. I even found a geode that looked like a mushroom outside and in with thin vertical sheets of dark brown clean crystals. 

The whole creek bed was dry so it mad it easy to hike up and down the creek. 

We will return there soon. I will also be posting picture soon as this was our first hunt for Geodes ever and have no idea what we found. 
We want to go geode hunting, but we've never done this before--ever.  Have no idea what to wear, what to take, what to expect.  We are beyond newbies!   We'd probably go to Hamilton, IL, as that seems to be where most posts are talking about, but can travel other places in Iowa or nearby Keokuk.  Any suggestions, no matter how small, or even if they seem obvious, are welcome. 
Linda, the best suggestion for you would be to go to the Geodefest in late September - go to this website for information as to when and registration forms etc - they will have guides who will lead groups to the various sites and be there to answer questions and assist newbies.

I went 3 years ago (I think) and had a great time there.

I second Docia's vote for Geodefest. I went two years ago and had a blast. It was amazing how the different locations yielded different types.  And there were people there to crack open even the biggest ones and otherwise offer support and plenty of oohs and aahs with the good ones.   I picked up a twin at St. Francisville. After breaking open the big part and finding it was worthwhile, a local guy even took it home overnight and cut the smaller twin flat so the whole thing could stand up. It was great being around other people who loved the wonder of it.
I remember going camping down that way when I was little and we found a ton of geodes. I want to take another trip with my bf before it gets too cold. The Geodefest looks fun but how much does that add up to over the weekend? Seems like it could be a lot if you end up with any of those really big boys. 
St. Francisville did (and it looks like still does) charge by the pound, so the big ones could get expensive - but hopefully worth it. The other locations were by the bucket. I spent way more on gas getting there than on geodes.  The biggest expense for me was the hotel for two nights.

Thanks for the Geode Fest suggestion.  However, we're Iowa farmers, and usually the only place we are in Sept. is in our fields!  So doubtful we could make it.  So...back to any other helpful hints?  I did call Jacob's for info as that name seems to be repeated, so have hours open and price. 
Linda - scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the field trip report page, go to Iowa and you will find reports from the area about geode hunting and hopefully that will help you.

no doubt whenever you get a chance to go you will find some geodes and enjoy your time there.   you don't have to go to all 3 days of the geodefest either, you could just go for one day of that weekend.   They have access to places (such as the Fox River) that are not accessible at other times.

another suggestion is that you might call Mike Clifford - the # I have for him is 660-216-4224.   he was one of the guides the year I went and I understand that he sometimes does guided trips with folks and can possibly get you into a good location.   With as dry as it has been it might be much easier to collect in the river this year.

hope you get to go and have a great time!  
Thanks so much for the suggestions!  The thought of trying for one day of the Geode Fest just might work....I'm sure hoping it will happen. 

I will definitely call the guide--what a great idea! It sounds like we're going to go on Sat. Sept. 1st, (our 34th anniversary!), along with our daughter and 5 year old granddaughter, and she loves rocks as much as I do!!  I'll check out the link, and thank you so very much for your reply!!
you are very welcome Linda - look forward to hearing all about your adventures there!  hope you find some beautiful geodes! 
Linda, if you find out how much Mike charges for a private guide let me know. My bf thinks I'm crazy for being all hyped up for a trip to go collect rocks lol.
Any recent updates on the mines in the Keokuk area? I see that people have made trips out there this year to Jacob's and some of the other locations. What are things like at Jacob's? Still plenty of the smaller hollow geodes?

What other mines are still open? I assume Stevenson's though haven't heard anyone mention them for awhile and last I heard there was conflicting information about whether Sheffler's was still open or not. 

Just looking to get some updated info. Pass it along so we know what to expect when we get out there. I'm heading out there next weekend (10/20/2012) and will for sure hit up Jacob's so I can pass along a report after I return. Thanks!
I believe Jacobs and Stevensons are still open, but you should always call in advance and see if they'll be arond while you want to collect.  THey're both very nice guys, and I think both places are worth a visit.  Personally I liked diggin at Jacobs better, Stevensons has a creek and that would be a bit cold in the fall/winter.
Hi! I want to take my 5 and 7-year olds to find geodes near Keokuk in a couple of weeks.  Has anyone been recently and had success?  It's for my (almost) 7-year olds' birthday - he is obsessed with geodes so it's really important that he is able to find some good ones.  Any tips on best places to go for kids?  I know it's been raining a lot so am wondering if it's not a good time to go (we are from CA...wish it would rain here).  I really appreciate your help!  -Amy
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