Utah Sights
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One of the most popular rock hounding areas in Utah is the Dugway Geode Beds. The BLM encourages families and rock hunters to visit with a sign from the Pony Express Road. According to the BLM website: Approximately 6 to 8 million years ago volcanic activity occurred in western Utah and deposited an extrusive igneous rock called rhyolite. Trapped gasses formed cavities within the rhyolite, and millions of years of ground-water circulation allowed minerals to precipitate into the cavities. The result is geodes with spherical shapes and crystal-lined cavities. Roughly 32,000 to 14,000 thousand years ago, a large body of water known as Lake Bonneville covered most of western Utah. The lake's wave activity eroded the geode-bearing rhyolite and redeposited the geodes several miles away in the Dugway geode bed area as lake sediments. The most common mineral found within the geodes is quartz in various colors: clear (rock crystal), purple (amethyst), and pink (rose).

How to get there: From Salt Lake City take I-80 westbound until you reach the Tooele turnoff (exit 99). Travel south on Highway 36 for about 40.5 miles to the Pony Express Road (which is the dirt road just past Faust). Turn west (right) and proceed 50.1 miles on the Pony Express Road to the Dugway geode bed turnoff (sign may be missing). Turn north (right), proceed up the dirt road and look for recent diggings. The geodes are fairly easy to recognize due to their spherical shape and light weight. Most geodes are 2 to 3 inches in diameter and are typically lined with small quartz crystals that give the cavity a sugary appearance. In my opinion, most geodes found there are not that interesting.

Tools recommended: A shovel, pick, safety glasses and hammer. Whole geodes can be cut at rock shops. Also bring water, there isn't any out there and a spare tire for the long gravel road on the Pony Express. I've had to rescue a few rock hunters who thought they had a spare but did not.

Dugway Geode Beds

Dugway geode beds Dugway geode beds Camping in the Western Desert Campfire Utah Camping
Digging in the pit
The Dugway Geode Pit
Camping in the Western Desert near the geode beds
The moon over our camp
Dugway Geode Beds Map