To a casual visitor,
it would seem that there is a rock shop on just about every corner of the
Black Hills. There is a reason for that: This is one of the most
geologically diverse regions in the world.
who are into
this hobby tend to come back to the Hills year after year because there
are so many places to find interesting minerals and even semi-precious
stones. Often, interesting deposits can be found right along the
highways in areas where the rock has been cut back for the roadway.
There are at least three such places on highways 16 and 16a between
Rapid City and Keystone. One of the most popular rock-hounding
sites is the Fairburn agate fields northeast of Hot Springs.
In addtion to
finding minerals along side the road there are numerous abandoned mines
in the Black Hills, many of which are on public lands. Most however are
on private land and you need permission from the owner before
collecting rocks. For information about Black Hills minerals we suggest
this link. http://www.dakotamatrix.com/Black_Hills_pegmatites.asp
Note this site talkes about the Etta mine here in
Keystone, which is closed to the public.
If your taste runs more toward museum displays we recommend
the Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School
of Mines and Technology. http://www.sdsmt.edu/services/museum/ Even experienced collectors find a visit
useful because they can get maps of various geological formations in the
Finally, if you want to do it the easy way, you can aways buy rocks at
any of the area rock shops. Keystone has three, and most gift shops
also sell rocks. Beware, however, not everything they sell is native to
the Black Hills, Keystone rock dealers include "Earth Treasures" and
the "Rock Shed (http://www.therockshed.com/).