Rock Discoveries

Uncovering New Hampshire’s Geological Treasures: A Guide to Rockhounding in the Granite State

Rockhounding in New Hampshire: Discovering the State’s Rich Mineral WealthRockhounding is an exciting outdoor activity for those interested in mineral collecting. It involves exploring different regions of the world in search of rare and unique rocks, minerals, gemstones, and fossils.

Among the many states in the US that have a rich geological history, New Hampshire is one of the most prized destinations for rockhounding enthusiasts. The state offers a unique blend of natural resources, including pegmatites, minerals, and gemstones that make it an ideal location for anyone looking to pursue rockhounding.

In this article, we will explore the world of rockhounding in New Hampshire, including the rocks and minerals found in the state.

Rocks and Minerals Found in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is abundant in an array of minerals and rocks, including some rare specimens that are not found in other regions. One of the most remarkable features of the state is the existence of pegmatite minerals.

These igneous rocks are significant sources of rare minerals, some of which include mica, feldspar, beryl, uranium, and more. Pegmatites are formed from magma that slowly cools, creating a course-grained material that is rich in minerals.

New Hampshire has more than 100 significant and potential pegmatite deposits making it an excellent location for rockhounding. Another distinct feature of the state is the presence of amethyst.

Amethyst, which is a semi-precious stone, is a type of quartz that has a purple hue. New Hampshire is home to some of the most abundant amethyst deposits in the country, with specimens found in different parts of the state, including the towns of Groton, Grafton, and Bristol.

The state also has a rich collection of quartz. In addition to the amethyst quartz, there are other varieties of quartz found in New Hampshire, including smoky, rose-colored, and milky-colored quartz.

The White Mountains region is home to some of the most abundant and beautiful collections of rose quartz, which is highly sought after by collectors. Other minerals that are found in New Hampshire include:

Tourmaline – the state gemstone, which is highly regarded by collectors due to its rarity and beauty.

Garnet – found in mica and schist rocks, is an inexpensive and widely used gemstone. Beryl – another semi-precious gemstone, whose most common colors are green (emerald) and blue (aquamarine).

Fluorite – one of the most colorful minerals, Hawaii is known for having brilliant fluorescent highlights when exposed to ultraviolet light. The abundance of minerals and rocks in New Hampshire is a clear indication of the state’s rich geological history.

Collectors from around the world visit the state to explore and acquire the rare and unique specimens found in the region.


The world of rockhounding is an exciting venture for those interested in mineral collecting, and New Hampshire offers a diverse range of geological resources, making it an ideal location for rockhounding enthusiasts. The presence of pegmatites, amethyst, quartz, tourmaline, garnet, and other minerals make the state an excellent site for rockhounding.

With over 100 significant pegmatite deposits in the state, it offers a unique opportunity for collectors to find rare specimens that are not found anywhere else. By exploring the state’s various regions, rockhounding enthusiasts can get an in-depth guide of the state’s rich geological history and learn about its unique collection of minerals.

3) Where to Rockhound in New Hampshire

If you’re interested in rockhounding in New Hampshire, there are many locations across the state that you can explore. Rockhounding can take place at outcrops on hillsides, in mines, quarries, rivers, and streams.

Here are some of the best places to check out when rockhounding in New Hampshire:

The White Mountains region is a great place to start for rockhounding enthusiasts. The area is renowned for its pegmatite mines that offer unique specimens of minerals such as beryl, tourmaline, and garnet.

Some of the notable mines in the region include the Palermo Mine and Mt. Mica Mine. The Palermo mine, located near North Groton, is known for its abundance of tourmaline, while the Mt. Mica mine, located near Paris, offers a diverse collection of minerals such as aquamarine, amethyst, and beryl.

Another excellent location for rockhounding in New Hampshire is the Ruggles Mine in Grafton. This mine, which is the oldest and the most celebrated mine in the state, offers a unique collection of minerals such as pyrite, mica, and gemstones such as garnet.

In southwestern New Hampshire, the towns of Alstead and Walpole are good locations for rockhounding enthusiasts. The minerals found in this region include tourmaline, beryl, and garnet.

The Bellows Walpole area near the Connecticut River offers an excellent location for rockhounding. The Merrimack River is another fertile location for rockhounding, with minerals such as beryl and aquamarine found in the region.

The area around New Ipswich near the Massachusetts border is the best location for rockhounding in this area.

4) New Hampshire Rockhounding Sites

When planning a rockhounding trip to New Hampshire, there are a few sites you should consider visiting. Here is a list of prospective locations that offer exciting rockhounding opportunities:


Gilsum Rock Swap & Mineral Show – This annual event takes place in June and offers the opportunity for rockhounding enthusiasts to connect with other collectors and acquire unique specimens. 2.

Ruggles Mine – As previously mentioned, this mine located in Grafton is the oldest and most celebrated in the state. The mine offers a unique collection of minerals, including pyrite, mica, and garnet.

3. Palermo Mine – Located near North Groton, this pegmatite mine offers one of the most abundant tourmaline deposits in the region.

4. Mt. Mica Mine – Known for its diverse collection of minerals, this mine located in Paris offers gems such as aquamarine, amethyst, and beryl.

5. Grafton County mines – The county is known for having some of the richest mineral deposits in the state.

Mines in this area include the Moat Mountain Quarry in Conway and the Littleton Feldspar Quarry in Littleton. 6.

Coos County Mines – This area in the northern part of the state is known for its abundance of pegmatite mines, including the notable Hawkins pegmatite mine in Franconia. 7.

Rattlesnake Mountain – This location, near Holderness, offers outcrops on hillsides for rockhounding enthusiasts to explore while enjoying beautiful scenery. 8.

Bicknell Mine – Located in Westmoreland, this mine is known for its high-quality amethyst specimens and is a popular location for rockhounding. 9.

Griffin Quarry – Located in Monroe, this site is known for its unique collection of minerals such as garnet and epidote. 10.

Chesterfield Gorge – This location, near Keene, offers a picturesque gorge and a stream bed that is home to various minerals such as beryl and quartz. In summary, New Hampshire is a fantastic location for rockhounding enthusiasts.

With its abundance of minerals, pegmatite mines, quarries, hillsides, rivers, and streams, there are diverse opportunities for collectors to acquire unique specimens. Exploring the many locations mentioned in this article will offer a glimpse into the state’s rich geological history.

Remember, always seek permission before entering a private property, and ensure you follow safety precautions while rockhounding to avoid accidents. 5) New Hampshire Rockhounding Laws & Regulations

Before embarking on a rockhounding trip in New Hampshire, it’s advisable to know the laws and regulations governing the activity.

There are specific rules and restrictions for rockhounding on public land and private property. Here’s what you need to know before starting your rockhounding trip in the state:

Public Land – Rockhounding is legal on public land in New Hampshire, including stater parks, forests, and wildlife management areas.

However, there are some restrictions, including the prohibition of the use of mechanical equipment and the requirement to obtain a permit for certain activities. It’s essential to obtain permission from relevant agencies before collecting on public land to avoid any legal problems.

Private Land – In New Hampshire, obtaining permission from the landowner is mandatory before engaging in rockhounding activities. It’s vital to know the location’s ownership status to avoid trespassing.

Property boundaries are clearly marked in New Hampshire, and it’s important to respect them to avoid any legal implications. Additionally, it’s essential to ensure you leave the property in the same condition they were when you arrived.

Ownership – In New Hampshire, it’s important to differentiate between mineral ownership and land ownership. The ownership of minerals in the state is separate from the land, and in most cases, private landowners own the mineral rights.

To collect minerals, it’s essential to obtain permission from the landowner, even if the land is public. In summary, understanding the laws and regulations governing rockhounding in New Hampshire is essential.

It’s important to obtain permission from the relevant authority before engaging in rockhounding activities, both on public and private land. 6) Sources & Further Reading

Learning more about rockhounding in New Hampshire requires extensive research.

Thankfully, there are a variety of sources available that provide information on the state’s geological history, mineral collections, and locations for rockhounding. Here are some recommended sources:

New Hampshire Rocks and Minerals: An Illustrated Guide to the State’s Geological History by Ronald E.

Januzzi – The guidebook is an authoritative and accessible source of information on the geology and mineralogy of New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Mineral Species website – The website provides a comprehensive guide to minerals in the state and includes information on location, appearance, and chemical composition.

The New Hampshire Geological and Mineral Survey website – The website provides an online database on the state’s geology and mineralogy. It includes a variety of academic papers and publications that serve as a great reference material for rockhounding enthusiasts.

Rockhounding New England: A Guide To 100 Of The Region’s Best Rockhounding sites by Peter Cristofono – This guidebook provides information on different locations and specimens across New England, including New Hampshire. Geology of New Hampshire: Part 1, Bedrock Geology by Richard D.

Little – This publication provides an in-depth look at the state’s bedrock geology. In summary, the recommended sources provide detailed information on the geology, mineralogy, and locations for rockhounding in New Hampshire.

They are an excellent starting point for rockhounding enthusiasts looking to learn more about New Hampshire’s rich geological history. In conclusion, rockhounding in New Hampshire offers enthusiasts a unique opportunity to explore the state’s rich geological history and acquire rare and unique specimens.

From the abundance of pegmatite mines to the beautiful riverbeds and quarries, New Hampshire is a gold mine for rockhounding enthusiasts. However, it’s essential to be mindful of the laws and regulations when engaging in rockhounding activities.

Understanding the ownership status of the land and obtaining permission from the relevant authority is crucial. Overall, with the proper research and careful planning, rockhounding in New Hampshire offers a thrilling and rewarding experience for any mineral collector.


1. Is rockhounding legal in New Hampshire on public land?

Yes, rockhounding is legal on public land in New Hampshire, but there are restrictions, including the prohibition of the use of mechanical equipment and the requirement to obtain a permit for certain activities. 2.

Is it essential to have landowner permission for rockhounding on private land in New Hampshire? Yes, obtaining permission from the landowner is mandatory before engaging in rockhounding activities on private land in New Hampshire.

3. What are the best places for rockhounding in New Hampshire?

The White Mountains region, Ruggles Mine, and Grafton County mines are great locations for rockhounding enthusiasts, among other areas mentioned in the article. 4.

What are the most notable minerals found in New Hampshire? New Hampshire is home to a diverse collection of minerals, including tourmaline, beryl, garnet, amethyst, and quartz.

The most notable is the state gemstone, tourmaline. 5.

What are the laws and regulations concerning ownership of minerals in New Hampshire? In New Hampshire, the ownership of minerals is separate from land ownership, and private landowners usually own the mineral rights.

Obtaining permission from the landowner is essential before collecting minerals on private land.

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