Rock Discoveries

Hunting for Petrified Wood Fossils: Uncovering Nevada’s Hidden Treasures

Are you a lover of fossils and rocks? Do you want to discover hidden treasures in Nevada’s deserts?

Lucky for you, Nevada is a fossil-rich state, containing various types of fossils, including petrified wood fossils. In this article, we will share with you some amazing sites you can find petrified wood fossils in Nevada and characteristics of fossils found in

Goose Creek.

Places to find petrified wood fossils in Nevada

Petrified wood fossils are some of the most well-known and striking in Nevada. These fossils are formed when wood is subjected to mineralization, a process that gradually replaces the wood’s organic material with other minerals such as silica, which makes up the structure of the wood.

Here are some locations where you can find petrified wood fossils in Nevada:

Elko County

If you are in the northeastern corner of Nevada,

Elko County is the perfect place to search for petrified wood fossils. The county has a high concentration of petrified wood fossils due to its geology.

The area was once covered by trees, and over time, volcanic activity led to the formation of petrified wood fossils. Some of the areas where petrified wood fossils can be found in

Elko County include: Warburton Canyon, Spring Creek, and Wild Horse reservoirs.

Scattered sites for opalized or agatized specimens

In Nevada, opal and agate petrified wood are rare but beautiful specimens. These fossils are formed when the wood fibers are replaced by small opalized or agatized nodules.

They are of different colors and patterns, making them a prized possession for fossil collectors. Though the occurrence of these fossils is scatted, you can find them in places like East Humboldt range, Hot Creek range, and Virgin Valley.

Parks with petrified wood fossils for sightseers

Valley of Fire State Park and Lund Petrified Forest are perfect places to explore if you are a sightseer. The parks contain petrified logs that measure more than 2 million years old.

In Valley of Fire State Park, the petrified logs are made of silica, which makes the logs appear vibrant under the sunlight. On the other hand, Lund Petrified Forest features petrified logs that are up to 210 million years old and are made of quartz.

Goose Creek

Goose Creek is a boghole that was used to dredge the surrounding area’s gold in the early 20th century. The boghole is rich in the petrified wood fossil and bogwood.

Here, the bogwood is fossilized wood that has been preserved in acidic and low oxygen environments. The characteristics of the fossils found in

Goose Creek are unique.

Characteristics of fossils found at

Goose Creek

The bogwood found in

Goose Creek has a wrinkled white exterior due to the leaching of calcium and other minerals over millions of years. The inside of the wood could be petrified or merely preserved.

The mineralization of the wood could result in various colors ranging from blue, black, brown, and red. Unlike other petrified wood fossils, bogwood is dense and heavy.

Apart from bogwood and petrified wood, you could find many other fossils from the bogholes walls, including the occasional ammonite.


If you want to discover the beauty and history locked in Nevada’s deserts, then you must visit some of the locations we mentioned above. Whether you are a sightseer, rockhounder, or collector, Nevada’s petrified wood fossils have something for everyone.

Remember to be respectful of nature and the environment while searching for fossils. Happy hunting!

3) Daisy Creek

Are you looking for a remote and adventurous spot to hunt for petrified wood fossils? Daisy Creek, located in the Battle Mountain area of north-central Nevada, fits the bill.

This site is a must-visit for rockhounders who are passionate about discovering rare petrified wood fossils. In this section, we will discuss the accessibility of Daisy Creek, the availability of specimens, and the popularity of the site.

Location and Accessibility of Daisy Creek

Daisy Creek is located deep in rural Nevada, accessible only via a long and unpaved vehicular path. The terrain leading to Daisy Creek is rugged, making it a challenging trip, even for experienced drivers.

However, the journey is worth it, as the site boasts a beautiful and tranquil environment. Daisy Creek lies south of I-80, approximately 20 miles northeast of Battle Mountain.

The area is sparsely populated, making it an excellent location for a quiet getaway.

Availability of Specimens and Popularity of Daisy Creek

Daisy Creek was once known for the abundance of petrified wood fossils it contained. However, over time, the site has been explored, and the pickings aren’t as plentiful as they used to be.

The petrified wood fossils that can be found at Daisy Creek are of exceptional quality, making the site a popular destination for rockhounders. The site is frequently visited by rockhounders, making it a hub for petrified wood fossil hunting.

Due to the popularity of the site, it’s recommended to go early in the day to avoid too much competition. Rockhounders may also need to be creative in their hunting strategies since any given spot might have been picked clean by others.

4) McDermitt

McDermitt is one of the best rockhounding destinations in Nevada, located on the Nevada-Oregon state line, along Highway 95. The area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and offers rockhounding enthusiasts an opportunity to hunt for various types of fossils, including petrified wood fossils.

In this section, we’ll describe the area surrounding McDermitt and offer tips for collecting petrified wood fossils in the region.

Description of McDermitt and Surrounding Area

McDermitt is a small community straddling the Nevada-Oregon border. This town is known for its mining activity and is accessible via several highways, including Highway 95.

The area surrounding McDermitt is under the jurisdiction of BLM, making it an ideal destination for rockhounding. The terrain in the area is diverse, with mountains, valleys, and several petrified forests, offering unique hunting experiences.

Tips for Collecting Petrified Wood in the Area

Petrified wood fossils can be found abundantly in McDermitt, but it’s essential to have the right tools and resources to make the most of your time there. Here are some tips that can help you collect petrified wood fossils in the area:

Appropriate Vehicle: As with most places in rural Nevada, access to the fossil locations in McDermitt requires an appropriate vehicle that can maneuver rough terrains.

A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended to navigate the rocky terrain successfully. Consider Contingencies: The vastness of McDermitt means it’s essential to have a contingency plan in case of unexpected mishaps.

Make sure to have a GPS device on hand or an alternative means of communication in case of an emergency. Take Plenty of Water: The desert climate can be harsh, and the high temperatures can rapidly lead to dehydration.

It’s important to carry enough water to stay adequately hydrated throughout the day. In conclusion, McDermitt offers rockhounding enthusiasts one of the best opportunities to find petrified wood fossils.

With its vastness and diverse terrain, it’s essential to be prepared with the right tools and resources to maximize your hunting experience. Whether you’re a seasoned rockhounder or a beginner, McDermitt’s rockhounding experience is guaranteed to be rewarding.

5) Hubbard Basin

Nestled in the hills of

Elko County, Hubbard Basin is a prime location for rockhounding enthusiasts in Nevada. The landscape is dotted with these ancient treasures that have been buried beneath the earth for millions of years.

In this section, we will discuss the access and location of Hubbard Basin, as well as the specific characteristics of petrified wood fossils found at this site.

Access and Location of Hubbard Basin

To access Hubbard Basin, it’s necessary to take several dirt roads east of Wells, Nevada. The roads are well-maintained but can prove difficult to navigate without proper equipment and knowledge of the area.

Hubbard Basin is located roughly thirty-two miles away from Wells, making it a remote destination. Despite the difficulty of getting there, Hubbard Basin is well worth the trip for rockhounding enthusiasts wishing to explore its petrified wood fossil deposits.

Characteristics of Petrified Wood Fossils Found at Hubbard Basin

Petrified wood fossils found at Hubbard Basin are mostly spruce and feature interesting agatized patterns. The agatized pieces at the site are incredibly colorful and pleasing to the eye.

Some of the pieces are almost entirely transformed into agate, while others feature an agatization process that only fills in the gaps between the fibers. The petrified logs found at Hubbard Basin are from ancient forests that existed millions of years ago, which can contribute to the unique fossil types in the area.

6) Texas Spring Canyon

Texas Spring Canyon is an impressive location for finding petrified wood fossils in Nevada. It’s situated on the north side of the canyon and features unique pink limb casts and opalized white and iron-influenced colors.

The area is publicly accessible; however, it’s crucial to be mindful of potentially privately owned properties and mining claims in the region.

Location and Petrified Wood Fossils Found at Texas Spring Canyon

Texas Spring Canyon is located in the heart of

Elko County, west of the community of Elko. The canyon is easily accessible via Interstate 80, and several dirt roads lead visitors to the site.

Texas Spring Canyon is home to petrified wood fossils types that haven’t been found in other locations in the state, which makes it an ideal location for novice and seasoned rockhounders alike. Some of the unique petrified wood fossils found in the area include pink limb casts and opalized white, as well as iron-influenced colors.

Cautionary Note About Privately Owned Properties or Mining Claims

Although Texas Spring Canyon is publicly accessible, it’s essential first to check that you’re not on a privately owned property or mining claim when searching for petrified wood fossils. Rockhounding enthusiasts should take care to observe any posted signs or indicators that they may be in prohibited areas and take appropriate measures to avoid such areas.

It’s important to be respectful of the land and the property rights of its owners while enjoying the beauty and thrill of rockhounding for petrified wood fossils. In conclusion, Hubbard Basin and Texas Spring Canyon offer exceptional locations for petrified wood fossil hunting in Nevada.

These locales are rich with history, beauty, and unique fossil types that are sure to captivate the imagination and stoke the passion of any rockhounding enthusiast. With due care and a spirit of respect for the land and its owners, these sites can provide a deeply satisfying and rewarding experience for all who visit them.

7) Other Sites for Petrified Wood Fossils in Nevada

Nevada’s vast and varied landscape is home to numerous petrified wood fossil sites that are a must-visit for rockhounding enthusiasts. In addition to the sites we’ve covered, several other locations present exciting possibilities for collectors.

In this section, we will highlight two additional sites for finding petrified wood fossils in Nevada, their locations, and the specific characteristics of the fossils you can expect to find.

Tonopah Mining District


Tonopah Mining District is an area of foothills nestled within the larger Monitor Range in central Nevada. It was a hub of silver mining activity in the early 1900s and remains an area of interest for rockhounding enthusiasts seeking unique petrified wood fossils.

The petrified wood fossils found in the

Tonopah Mining District offer a glimpse into the area’s geological history and are a testament to the environment’s evolution over time. The

Tonopah Mining District’s petrified wood fossils are distinctive, with striations often seen on the specimens, resulting from the wood’s original cell structures.

Additionally, the fossils may exhibit the presence of mineralized roots or small, colorful agate-filled cavities.

Little Humboldt River

Located in the northeastern region of Nevada, the

Little Humboldt River is a site renowned for producing museum-grade petrified wood fossils. The area requires a certification for rockhounding, which involves obtaining permission from the landowner before collecting specimens.

Nonetheless, the

Little Humboldt River remains a popular destination for collectors who seek to add museum-quality petrified wood fossils to their collections. The

Little Humboldt River offers a diversity of petrified wood fossil types.

Initially, the specimens are often found in a brownish color before they turn white after the extraction process is complete. The fossils found in this area may also exhibit evidence of having been agatized or opalized.


The diverse topography of Nevada has served to create rich and varied petrified wood fossil sites throughout the state. From prime locations like Daisy Creek and Texas Spring Canyon to lesser-known areas like the

Tonopah Mining District and the

Little Humboldt River, there is no shortage of possibilities for rockhounding enthusiasts.

Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting, these sites offer a fascinating glimpse into the geological history of Nevada and provide an opportunity to hunt for unique fossil specimens. It’s essential to approach these sites with respect, care, and awareness of regulations regarding privately owned properties or mining claims.

By doing so, you’ll be able to experience the thrill of rockhounding while preserving these unique natural resources for generations to come. In conclusion, Nevada offers a wealth of opportunities to explore the exciting world of petrified wood fossils.

From the remote and rugged terrain of Daisy Creek to the museum-grade specimens found in the

Little Humboldt River, rockhounding enthusiasts have a broad range of locations to choose from. The petrified wood fossils found throughout the state offer a glimpse into millions of years of geological history, making them fascinating collectibles and artifacts.

With appropriate equipment, preparation, and respect for the environment and private property concerns, rockhounding in Nevada can be a rewarding and enriching experience. FAQs:

Q: What are petrified wood fossils?

A: Petrified wood fossils are formed when wood is subjected to mineralization, where the organic material of the wood is replaced by other minerals, such as silica, which make up the structure of the wood. Q: Where can I find petrified wood fossils in Nevada?

A: Nevada has many petrified wood fossil sites, including

Elko County,

Scattered sites for opalized or agatized specimens, Parks with petrified wood specimens for sightseers, Daisy Creek, McDermitt, Hubbard Basin,

Tonopah Mining District, and

Little Humboldt River. Q: Is it legal to collect petrified wood fossils in Nevada?

A: Collecting petrified wood fossils in Nevada is permitted on public lands, but it’s essential first to ensure that the area isn’t privately owned or subject to mining claims. Q: What should I bring when hunting for petrified wood fossils?

A: When hunting for petrified wood fossils, it’s essential to bring appropriate gear such as a four-wheel-drive vehicle, appropriate clothing, proper tools like hammers and chisels, and plenty of water. Q: What should I do if I come across private property or mining claims while searching for petrified wood fossils?

A: If you come across private property or mining claims while hunting for petrified wood fossils, it’s important to respect the owners’ rights and avoid such areas.

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