Rockhounding & Prospecting
Known as the "Treasure State", Montana offers a treasure trove rock collectors and gold prospectors. Gold, fossils, garnets, sapphires and quartz crystals are but a few of the many rocks, minerals and gemstones to be found throughout the state.
Virginia City's "Alder Gulch" gold rush produced the largest amount of placer gold in the Northwest; an estimated $120 million. Alder Gulch yielded an estimated $30 million in gold just in the three short years between 1863 and 1866. Gold and garnets can be found in the old tailing piles, while working the creek still yields good color. Calcite, opalite and garnets are found south of Alder in the area known as Ruby Reservoir. The public can also mine for sapphires in the Philipsburg area (Sapphire Gallery).