Exploring the Dugway Geode Beds
One of the nation’s best places to find geodes is actually right here in Utah. Located in Juab County, you’ll find the Dugway Geode Beds. Geodes are roundish, hollow rocks (usually three inches or less in diameter) that are lined with small crystals inside. Once cracked open, their sparkly interior will be on full display.
So where did these little crystal treasures come from? About seven million years ago, there was extensive volcanic activity in the western part of Utah. This activity resulted in an igneous rock known as rhyolite. When trapped gasses created cavities in the rhyolite, the interiors were then lined with crystals through millions of years of mineral-laden groundwater circulating inside.
About 32,000 to 14,000 years ago, Lake Bonneville’s waves eroded the geode-bearing rhyolite and transferred the geodes into the Dugway area. That’s why they’re so consolidated in the geode beds, and why you can also find crystals scattered all over the ground.
When exploring the geode beds, look for the recent diggings. You’ll see exposed hillsides and recently excavated pits. Dig into the soft dirt and look for geodes. They’re spherical in shape and lightweight, due to their hollow interiors.
It’s recommended that you bring a full-sized shovel, safety glasses and a hammer. That way you can crack open geodes onsite. If you find a geode that you think might be a real winner, you can just take it home with you and get it cut in half at a rock shop.
The geode beds are on BLM public lands, but there are some active mining claims in the area. So you’ll need to seek permission from the owners if you want to do any geode hunting on their claims. To learn more about the specific claims, contact the House Range/Warm Springs BLM field office at 435-743-3100.
To get out to the geode beds from Salt Lake, take 1-80 westbound until you get to the Tooele turnoff. Take Highway 36 south for about 40 miles. When you get to the Pony Express Road, turn right. It’s a dirt road and easy to miss, so be on the lookout for it as soon as pass the town of Faust. After driving 50 miles on the Pony Express Road, you’ll see a sign on the right announcing the geode beds. There’s a large map located there at the turnoff, so take a moment to read over it and get the lay of the land.
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