• Caelen Burand

Rockhounding Colorado: The Pikes Peak Batholith Pt. 2: Where to Rockhound

In this second addition to our very special Rockhounding Review on the Pikes Peak batholith, we reveal the specific sites we found the most productive in our years of searching the elusive batholith!


The mountains within the Pikes Peak Batholith are very underrated in their rurality and intensity. Do not underestimate these mountains and take extra precautions when rockhounding. There is just as much, if not more danger in these mountains as the highest Colorado peaks. Furthermore, an increase of housing developments makes it difficult to be confident of the land ownership, always check ahead. Always take the proper precautions when breaking quartz feldspar, and other minerals when rockhounding. In crystalline form they shard and can cause serious harm. Lastly when digging make sure the rock and dirt above is stable. A collapse can be deadly.

Cholla Lapidary/Rockhounding reviews is not responsible for anything you do when rockhounding. Just please be cautious.


The Maps:

In this addition of Rockhounding Reviews we include one map. Below is a copy of our comprehensive map that acts as a guide to rockhounding the area. Every area marked on the map has a brief summary of our opinion on rockhounding the site. In addition to the map, we explain an overview of each area we have rockhounded within the batholith.

Note: On the map provided there is a site titled "Old Mine." We do not discuss this as it is not one of the intrusive centers but recommend rockhounding there. The site hosts intriguing metamorphic rocks with large quantities of biotite mica. Many of these rocks cut and took a beautiful polish. They oftentimes displayed beautiful banding and similar metamorphic features as well.


Lake George:

This was the first area that we rockhounded in exploration of the Pikes Peak Region. The area we highlight on the map is well picked over but we were able to find the amazonite below in plenty. When in this area be particularly cautious of the changing land ownership. We found the Lake George area deviated the most from the trends of the other intrusive centers. This made it both a challenge to dig and an exciting endeavor! Historically Lake George is known globally for its production of smokey quartz, amazonite, topaz, hematite, and more. This area is brimming with possibilities!

Devils Head:

We highlight two significant sites in the Devil's Head region. The first is the Devil's Head Mine where we were able to find many nice smokey quartz crystals. This area is known for producing some of the world's finest topaz historically so the potential for the Devil's Head area is near limitless. While we were unable to find any topaz at the mine, we were able to find dark smokeys like the one below. We liked digging this area because we found that following pockets was the easiest when digging here and was thus very satisfying. This area is also great for those that are not the most able to make some of the physical treks other sites require.

To the south of Devil's Head Mine there are several very productive quartz quarries with superb quartz crystals with a bright red coating of hematite on their surface! These were stunning to see, but we were unfortunately unable to collect any. They often rest in large quartz boulders that we could not, even with chisels and hammers, break or chip. When digging here, we were able to find a singular very odd pocket of what we believe is a form of quartz with hematite inclusions! These crystals are simply spectacular and the pride of our trips to the batholith. The largest piece we found weighs nearly 5 pounds! The rocks below are examples of this unique pocket.

When rockhounding this area, instead of searching for quartz (there is far too much quartz) search for veins of feldspar within the quartz. These veins of feldspar indicate there are alternative minerals nearby. The darker the feldspar vein the more iron rich material there is which increases the probability of hematite and quartz related specimens!

Northern Region (Rosalia):

This region is the most difficult to rockhound. Massive boulders and rocks dictate the topography. These make it a treacherous area to traverse. We highlight three areas in this region that provided us with nice large specimens of smokey quartz and zinnwaldite! Historically, this area has the most diverse minerals with finds including thorium and allanite! Because of this we look forward to future tirps to find these rare minerals.

The first area we highlight is an intimidating climb up gravel and rock to the Seerie pegmatite exposure. This quarry is a difficult hike for anyone and we do not recommend it unless very physically able. Once at the outcropping, smokey quartz is very prominent, we searched the surrounding area and dug some small prospects. We were unable to find anything of high quality at this site, unable to find any quartz points. The second area, that is much easier to rockhound, is still quite the challenge. The White Cloud pegmatite exposure involves a half mile hike on the beautiful Colorado trail. Although easier to reach, this is still difficult and is quite a trek. This area was interesting, afternoon thunderstorms kept us from being able to dig prospects but the quarry looked very promising. We were only able to find gemmy, large pieces of smokey quartz that has been great for lapidary purposes! This is a site we would gladly return to. The easiest area to rockhound in this region is the road to the south of the White Cloud Pegmatite. This winding road has many pull-offs near road cuts that supply smokey quartz and many good digging areas! Use part one of this guide to pin down a good site to start a prospect hole! Many of our nice smokey quartz came from hiking in this area and are on display below!

Lastly, there are two other areas of note. The Big Bertha outcropping and the two private quarries. We did not traverse to either of these sites. When we visited intense flooding closed the roads, halting our rockhounding pursuits. Both of these sites are known as being more diverse areas for mineralogy with large finds of allanite! We recommend you search the areas but we sadly cannot comment for our own experiences at these sites.


This area is the only disheartening area we have visited in the batholith. The Tarryal region is world renowned for the topaz specimens it has previously produced. Sadly, when we visited we were unable to find anything valuable or interesting in our searches. The area lacked even quality quartz, making our searches futile. If you search the area, the trails surrounding Tarryal peak are rumored as being productive.

Crystal Peak:

Because of the increasing housing development we were unable to find a location to rockhound in this region, but this has been an incredibly rich area for mineral discovery in the past. Vast quantities of fine topaz were found in this area previously and many believe there is far more topaz to be found in the future. The difficulty we had with Crystal Peak is the large amount of private land has removed any ability to rockhound legally. Thus we believe there is grand potential to rockhound, but we are unaware of any public land to rockhound near Crystal Peak.

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