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  Author   Comment  
Kim Heller
I am new to this, I friend turned me on to this site. I was told about a lake in Tennessee that has almost 300 miles of shore line and it is drained every spring down to almost empty because of flooding. It apparently contains all kinds of crystals that are similar to herkimer's in shape and color.And you are able to walk out and pick them up, as well as pick them from the shore. Does anyone know anything about this? We are going to be in Tennessee in the fall and would like to check it out for other hunting adventures.
mike k
Check out the McRocks Field Trip Reports, click on TN, pan down and look for Douglas Lake
Mike Streeter
Hi Kim,

Welcome to McRocks.

The two locations for Douglas Diamonds (quartz crystals) that I recommend when asked by rockhounds are the following:

1- Mud Creek (At Sandy Ridge). This site area is approximately 1/4-mile south of the intersection of TN-363 (Indian Creek Road) & TN-92 (Chestnut Hill Road). There is a small gravel parking area on the east side of the highway on the north side of the bridge that goes over Mud Creek
(Douglas Lake). You can collect along the north side of mud creek on both sides of the highway to find quartz crystals and arrowheads (rare).

2 - Douglas Lake Dam (At Union Grove)- The Dam is about 2 miles south of the intersection of TN-139 and TN-338 (Douglas Dam Road). Simply drive to the parking area on the south side of the Dam and collect along the lake for quartz and small geodes. You will see rock outcroppings in the area near the Lake - this is the center of the collecting area.

You can only collect when the lake level is low enough, generally from late November to Mid-March. The southeast drought has kept the water level unusually low at times during the other months. There is a website where you can keep track of the water level at: The optimum level is below 965 - any higher and you have much less lake bottom to work. It has been our experience that we find less diamonds in December than later months. Once the lake becomes exposed, it takes some rain and frost heaving to expose crystals on the surface. This may be why you didn't find much in December and may do better in February and March before the lake level rises back up. Although, both sites do get picked as the winter progresses. Going right after a series of good hard rains in late January through early March is always your best bet.

Good luck!

Mike Streeter
Don Robinson

Follow Mikes advice and you should find some "douglas Diamonds". My wife and I went to the park site (at the Douglas Dam) and searched the beach area and along the rip rap areas. The lake was low when we went due to drought conditions. We did find some small but nice specimens and other rocks and minerals as well some unusual agate type rocks (look like grey, black, and tan bulls eyes).

Good Luck

Thank you both for your help and advise. Is there any other fun places to rock hunt in TN? We are gonna be in the Gatlenburg area in the August. We were there last year and spent some time dig-gen in the mud in Franklyn NC and found some pink Sapphire's. That was fun, and probably the dirtiest I have ever been...LOL!
Don Robinson

It is virgin territory up there!

If you have time you should go south of Blount County and any of the creeks systems on both sides of the Chilhowee Mountain Range has gold in them if you want to try for that.

I would highly recommend that you check out and just do a search of the surrounding counties (Blount, Sevier, Cocke, etc)and compile a list of the minerals and such you may be interested in finding and then go into a more in depth search from there.

You will be in Sevier County if you are staying in Gatlinburg.
Hi Don,
Thank you for the info. I am afraid of snakes, but have "rock fever" so we will see how it goes!
Don Robinson

Stay away from rocky/boulder south facing slopes, wood piles, and heavy downed timber (from wind/ice storms) and you should be OK. That is where most of the Timber Rattlers and Copperheads will be.

Oh and if the creeks have lots of frog activity watch for copperheads! Guess how I know? They were present in the summer season in that locality.

You will be just fine Kim. It is still pretty cool up there in April they will only be out in the afternoon hours near there dens. Besides if the weather keeps up like it is...

We are to have another freeze here in Fl tonight! March!

Just watch your step and don't put your hands in any holes. You'll be fine. Just enjoy yourself.

Don Robinson

I just realized you'll be up there in August...Sorry...I thought I read April...I know my eyes are getting bad but sheesh!

Again just be carefull around the water areas. In the summer up there Copperheads like to hunt frogs so they will hang around the waterholes and creeks. Which is where I hunt the most...which is why I know!

Timber Rattlers will be any where but I don't think you have to worry to much about them. Most of the "bad snakes" are not where the people are. Unless you r one of those like e that goes off the beaten path!

Thanks for the info. We have rattlers up hear but only in the rock buffs. Which is NOT where we live. We are in the middle of farm country,so the closest we get is a pine or a grass snake, definitely not poisoness. Thanks again for all the info, this site is great!
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