You may have parked your RV in Idaho’s National Parks, seen the Craters of the Moon and hiked the trails once followed by the Nez Perce. But have you ever hunted gemstones in the Gem State? RV campers looking for true adventure are invited to learn the joys of a gemstone hunting RV vacation in Idaho.
Where to Find Gemstones in Idaho
A good place to start when planning your trip is the guide to rock-hounding and gemstone hunting available at idl.idaho.gov, Idaho’s Department of Lands’ website. They point out something very important to remember as you pull over next to a promising prospecting site…to respect private property and to help keep Idaho in its pristine wilderness condition.
The site identifies dozens of minerals and gemstones likely to be found in Idaho, including fire opals, rubies and star garnets. In fact, according to Idaho’s Museum of Natural History, Idaho is second only to Africa in the variety of gemstones found there!
For example, in Adams County, you might find rubies and pink garnets in the Rock Flat area adjacent to Payette National Forest near New Meadows. This area also just happens to be the reputed source of the largest diamond (19.5 carats) ever found in the U.S.!
Follow the Salmon River in Custer County, ID (especially the East Fork) to find amethyst and citrine. If you’re traveling with rock hounds, they’ll want to stay awhile in this area, as an abundance of geodes, agates and petrified wood can also be found here.
According to the Cash and Treasure Wiki created by the Travel Channel, opals can be dug from the Spencer Opal Deposit centered near the town of Spencer in Eastern, ID. The Deer Hunt Mine in this area is world famous among gem prospectors and offers gem hunters access on a fee-per-pound basis.
Another easy place to discover wonderful gemstone finds is the Emerald Creek Garnet Area near Clarkia in St. Joe National Forest. It’s the home of record-breaking star garnets, reputed to be some of the best outside of India.
Where to Find a Gem of an RV Campground in Idaho
The next big question is where to stay once you’ve decided to make a prospecting trek to Idaho by RV. You’ll definitely strike it rich staying at one of the many state and national park and forest campgrounds in Idaho. The RVIdaho website has a helpful listing of RV campgrounds in Idaho.
If you’re hoping to snag a handful of amethyst in Blaine County, make your prospecting base camp at Riverside RV Camp in beautiful Bellevue, ID. Another memorable home away from home for RV camping prospectors is Mountain Home RV Park in the heart of Owyhee County fire opal country.
Whether you’re hungering to find the perfect amethyst or hoping for a blindingly beautiful fire opal, Idaho is the place to spend your RV camping and gem prospecting vacation. If you’re not afraid to get your jeans dirty and hike a bit up a creek bed, the fun you’ll have just may have you planning a return trip to Idaho soon.