Topaz Mountain, Juab County
Topaz Mountain is located on the southern end of the Thomas Range. This range is very popular to rock collecting enthusiasts. Topaz, Utah's state gem; is a semiprecious gemstone that occurs as very hard transparent crystals in a variety of colors. The Topaz crystals at Topaz Mountain are naturally amber colored, but become colorless after exposed to sunlight.
The crystals formed within cavities of the Topaz Mountain Rhyolit, a volcanic rock which erupted approximately six to seven million years ago (Tertiary Period) from volcanic vents along faults in the area. Clear Topaz can be seen glittering in the sunlight all over the ground. Washes are a great place to find clear Topaz. But if you're looking to find the more sought after amber colored Topaz you will have to do a little work. You want to search for bushes or any other kind of vegetation growing out of the cracks in the Rhyolite, this is a sign of weakness in the rock, and is usually a great location to find Topaz. Probe these areas with your screwdriver to find soft spots that may lead you to a pocket containing amber colored Topaz.
There are several areas within Topaz mountain that have been blasted for easy collecting of clear Topaz, you may also chance upon small amber colored Topaz that has been overlooked by the serious rock hound. We have visited Topaz Mountain several times, it always seems to be a big hit with the kids. Where else can they dig in the dirt with out getting in trouble, and come out with a bag of treasures to boot.
Topaz Mountain is fun for everyone, from the beginner to the novice. As you enter the Topaz bowl you will find plenty of camping. The lower hills are surrounded by acres of flats so the trailer is no problem. However for those that choose to tent it, you can pull right up into the heart of the bowl and throw a tent almost anywhere. There is no water for miles so be sure and come prepared, also the road back into the bowl gets pretty rutted, and rocky so if you are pulling a trailer I definitely recommend camping in the lower hills, and you can drive the short distance to the collecting sites. There are also hundreds of miles of roads and trails around Topaz mountain perfect for your ATV's. ATV's also make it easy to access some of the rougher roads and get you back into prime collecting locations.
If you plan on visiting Topaz Mountain these are some of the tools that you should bring: rock hammer, or regular hammer, screw driver, bags for your gems, hiking boots, hat, sun screen, bug repellant and once again don't forget the water! Jeans are also a good idea because you will be spending most of your time on your knees, and the rocks are very ruff and jagged.
How to get there: From Nephi, Utah, travel 33 miles southwest on State Highway 132 to Lynndyl. Turn south on U.S. Highway 6 and drive for approximately 5 miles. Turn west on the Brush Wellman road and travel 38 miles until you reach the Topaz Mountain sign. Turn north on the dirt road and drive about 2 miles, then turn west toward Topaz Mountain.
On your way home from Topaz be sure to stop a soak your bones at Baker Hot Springs.