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Rob Townsend
I have a day off in Reno, Nevada soon and was wondering if anyone had a rock hound site near there with fairly easy access. I don't mind about a 1 hour drive or a hike of a mile or two.
Hi Rob,
There are quartz crystals in two locations near Reno. Quartz Mt. out of Verdi west of Reno and the base of Peterson Peak to the north. The top of Peterson Peak is all private claims. Both locations are popular collecting areas so some digging would be necessary to find anything good, unless you are very lucky and find a crystal some one else missed. There are many collecting areas in Nevada, how ever they are further than you want to travel from Reno.
Have fun on your adventures.
Out in the "Boonies" of Nevada.
John Cornish
Hi Rob and JoAnn,

Sorry to be a kill-joy here but...

And please, don't shoot the messenger...

Unfortunately, the crystal bearing ground at the base of Petersen Mountain (also popularly known as Hallelujah Junction) is also claimed. All of it. It is a popular urban legend that collecting is possible here... which it is, as long as your willing to trespass.

If a person were to collect... legally, they only need to contact the claim owners and ASK for permission to collect (staying within the boundaries of that specific claim). Chris Rose is one of the owners who graciously allows collecting from his claims... legally... if a person takes the time, responsibly, to establish prior contact.

Chris is a very decent man.

Steamboat Hot Springs is a historic locality just outside of town where sulfur is collected (other rarer minerals are also found here). This locality has been closed, but when last we visited (years ago now), we were granted permission to access the pit and were able to dig for a couple of hours (if you are fortunate to be able to collect here, REMEMBER, bring disposable clothes! The vents where the crystals are forming are spewing invisible gas that will rot the clothes right from your body!! (Ah, the romance of crystal collecting!).

Again, permission must be granted, we acquired this at the main offices. If going here, ask that they show you the old Indian dig. Here you'll find a massive pile of flaked chips, all formed from the mottled pastel-colored outcrop at your feet, which was a popular knapping material for the locals back in the day. If asked honestly though, permission is unlikely to be granted... still, ya never know if you never ask!

While not digs, you may consider visiting the University of Nevada's, W. M. Keck Geology Museum. We have enjoyed our visits here... ( )( other links can also be found on the web for this Museum ).

Or, I love visiting Virginia City and walking Boot Hill Cemetery and the old board walks. A drink at the Bucket of Blood saloon really cuts the thirst and Red's makes the ABSOLUTE best peanut brittle... yum, yum!

The U.S. Mint in Carson City is also a neat stop as is the Golden Nugget Casino (they have a $1,000,000 gold nugget collection on display there.

Any way, just some ideas. I sure hope you do well and find some treasures in your travels. All the very best,

Hi Rob,

There are many places about an hour north of Reno. I sent you some information via email.

Rob Townsend
Thanks for all the info.
Jo Ann thanks for the info on the quartz crystals but unfortunately on such short notice I don't have time to seek proper permission to hunt there.
John C. thanks on the heads up about the crystal claims it possibly saved me from making a mistake. Buy the way I'm still waiting for a book on your adventures.
John (orygone) thanks for the info I'll let you know how I do.
Gee Rob, Sorry... the Peterson Peak lower slopes claims were news to me. But the Verdi location IS a public rockhound site.
Have fun what ever you do.
Don Peck
Rob there is an active mineral club in Reno.

Federations: California and American
Mailing: POB 2004, Reno, NV 89505
Meetings: 1st Wednesday of the month, 7:30 p.m.
Location: 480 S. Rock Blvd. Sparks, Nevada
E-mail: Junius
Rob Townsend
Thanks to everyone for information. I ended up going to a couple sites John (aka orygone) suggested and had the most productive day of my extended road trip. I didn't have access to a computer the morning I left Reno to go out into the field. I knew that Virgil (DWS) had contact info for John so I called him and he relayed my request for directions. John was kind enough to call me and lead me turn by turn to the locations. I've said it a time or two and I'm saying it again "rock hounds are the greatest group of people on the planet!"
The first location was amazing! I did something that I never even in my wildest imaginings ever thought I'd do. I CLIMBED an opal! The entire hill was composed of common opal of all different colors and qualities. I believe with a little time and diligence facet grade opal can be found there. I picked up several chunks for cabbing and knapping. The dry washes are loaded with agate of all descriptions and chalcedony and jasper. You can bet my back pack was doing some groaning (or was that me?) on the way back to the truck. I had to stop several times on the way bay and dump the back pack next to piles I had left on the way down the wash and high grade my material. I left some great material behind and on the way home I remembered one pile that I had missed with a large chunk of agate that looked as if it had once been part of a large geode. The interior was blue boytroidal chalcedony with a light coating of druze. (keep your eye open for it on you next trip John)
The second site was for Apache tears and was not far off the road leading out of the first area. At first I didn't see any of the material I was searching for then I took Johns advice put the sun over one shoulder and hunkered down. Almost magically MILLIONS of Apache tears appeared before my eyes. I was like a kid in a candy store I just duck walked around picking up the shiny little treasures until my back and knees started to let me know it was time to go (I should have listened to them, man am I sore)

I have tons of pics and hope to have a trip report some time before Christmas. I may need a little help posting the pics but I will get it done as soon as I can. Till then
Mike Streeter
Hi Rob,

Thanks for your report! It is great to hear that the help and advice that you received from those who post on McRocks worked out as well as it did.

I'd be happy to put a field trip report together for you so don't worry about posting the pics. I'll send you directions by email.

John Cornish
Hi Rob,

Good to hear of your positive adventures. After my negative post, it sure is terrific to hear of your having such a great time! I'll be looking forward to your report! All the very best,

Rob Townsend
Thanks Mike it may be some time in December before I get the report written and pics sorted out but I will get it done asap.
John C. I didn't think your reply was negative at all. It was the nearest site I had any info for and I most likely would have went if not for your warning. I could have ended up having a very negative trip if not for your help.The site is even listed in one of the gem trails guides. I have used several of the gem trails guide books and find them severely lacking. I've been thinking of contacting the publisher and offering my help in updating a number of the sites they have listed but don't know how to go about doing it and how my "help" would be received. Any way it is just a thought.
Once again I thank every one for all the help and advice that has made my trip so successful.
That opal place sounds amazing. I've been to the site outside of Verdi and was able to find a few nice 1.5 inch quartz crystals. Can anyone fill me in on some more sites near Reno? Thanks!
Heading to Reno to do some Rock hounding, Never have been but have loved Rocks and collecting all my life. Any suggestions for a newbe? Directions etc.
Thanks Lynette
Same question - heading to Reno area for rock hounding ar9ound May 27-28. Any specific directions to sites, like Quartz Mt. where I can dig legally? Or, suggestions how to contact a claim owner?
I've just moved to Reno from SW Iowa, and am an avid amateur rockhound. Can I get some suggestions of where I can go? I'd love to do some collecting again. Not much to find in Iowa except corn!

Satori Adrian Ivy
In response to Lacy- there are many fine collecting opportunities in Western Nevada. Having the advantage of living in the area you can extend your range slightly farther afield. This is my personal recommendation: Make a day trip of visiting the Old Ghost Town of Ludwig in the Singatse Range West of Yerington- This can be accessed by a number of well graded Dirt Roads from Smith Valley, Wabuska, or Fort Churchill. The final stretch of road out to Ludwig is a little more rough however and may require a high clearance vehicle. My Subaru Forester Makes the trip just fine however. Ludwig is world famous for it's copper ore minerals, including Chrysacolla, Malachite, Bornite and some very fine specimens of Brochantite. Pyrite is locally abundant on the tailing's as well. Orange Calcite can also be found on the mine dumps. In the hills surrounding the mine dumps there are other deposits worth checking out. I have some very fine boulders of Deep root-beer Brown Calcite that fluoresces spectacularly from the southern end of Ludwig, Also from the same vicinity comes Drusy quartz coating Limonite (essentially lime green Drusy Quartz). In the hills above the main workings there are also exceptional specimens of Grossular Garnet Ranging from Orange- through a spectrum of browns and finally dark green in hue. Good specimens of this material are exceptionally hard to find- but there are some very special garnets at this locality- they have what can be best described as flashes of fire- not entirely unlike opal. There are occasionally very fine Epidote crystals to be found as well- I find that for both of the aforementioned minerals the finest material can be found lining pockets of calcite. It is then simply a matter of melting the calcite away to expose the material. Actinolite is also locally abundant as is Serpintinite. There are also several localities scattered around Ludwig to hunt for Vesuvianite. I have a number of exceptional Emerald Green Specimens in my collection from this locality. Other minerals at this site include Thulite (unfortunately uncrystalized- though I do know of a locality in Nevada where it can be found in crystals- more on that some other time), Muscovite, Quartz Crystals- I have a specimen of pale amethyst from Ludwig, Chalcopyrite, Magnetite and I have even found a little azurite here as well. Truly a world class locality.

Be aware that is is claimed land, owned by Anaconda I believe but so far collecting seems to be tolerated. Rock clubs frequently make trips to this locality. There has been talk amongst the local drill contractors that Ludwig will soon be developed again for the remaining copper, so be aware that this is also a possibility. All the same I truly recommend this locality for as long as it remains accessible.
Hi, has anyone been to Ludwig NV lately are they mining out there and are you still able to rock hound? Thanks,Mary
Satori Adrian Ivy
Hello RockinMary- as far as I know Ludwig is still open, though the most recent information I have on it is from this spring (of 2012) when I met a Rock Club From Fresno, Ca on their way out there. At that time it was still open to collectors. I have not been there this year myself as of yet. If you happen to belong to a rock club I would enquire with them, if not then this information might still be obtainable at your nearest rock club- attend a meeting. Also please note that the tunnels at Ludwig can be unstable so use caution and
good judgement- avoid if you can the "honeycomb" tunnels which can be found immediately off the road at the north end of Ludwig.
Mark D. Kast
I'm not sure this is a "reply," but I am in urgent need of directions/map to the quartz crystal collecting site near Verdi.  I thought it was in Dog Valley, and was in NEVADA, as opposed to California.  I want to take an older lady friend of mine, who is not a mineralogist/geologist, someplace close to Reno, easy to get to, and free where she can, without a lot of work on our part, find some quartz crystals.

Additionally, if you have any other "pretty" mineral locations where we can easily get to, etc., that are not far from Reno, please let me know.  This lady and possibly other people from my church would enjoy going with me to do some rockhounding.  I collect mineral specimens in other parts of the state and in California, but am totally unfamiliar with Washoe County, NV, and nearby counties.  

Thank you for any assistance you can give me.
Hi everyone! I'm a newbie rock hound but have always been interested. Somehow its never dawned on me i should look into this as a hobby. My girlfriend and I live in Reno and would love to visit some good spots nearby. I grew up trail riding on horseback to ghost towns all over Nevada and California, always leaving with bags of rocks I had collected at every resting point. If anyone can give us some information and maybe some specific directions it would be greatly appreciated! That opal rock spot sounds amazing!
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