Field Trips

LGMC sponsors field trips for members to various localities during the summer months. Weather permitting, some trips may be offered in the spring and fall. In the field we hope you find mineral or fossil treasures and, in addition, enjoy the company of your fellow Rockhounds. Please review the “Field Trip Rules and Decorum” at the link below.

Field Trip Rules and Decorum

Jim Hooten, Field Trip Chairman
This is the list of the 2017 field trips planned for the collecting season up through September 9, the weekend before the Denver Gem & Mineral Show.
Additional trips may be planned for later in the fall. If so, at the Club Picnic, or the September Regular Meeting, more information and sign-up sheets will be available for these trips. Please remember to check with the field trip leader 24-48 hours before the scheduled trip…..especially if you do not sign up in May; there is no way for the leader to know to notify you of any changes. When in doubt, call Jim. Otherwise, if the weather is good, and you can make it, just show up at the designated time and place.

June

Sat., June 04, Devils Head, near Deckers, CO
Trip leader Jim Hooten (303-770-7177 or cell 303-548-7412). Smoky quartz, topaz, fluorite, etc. Meet at large parking lot at entrance to Rampart Range Road, at the intersection of Rampart Range Road and CO 67, at 9:00 AM. Map at May meeting. (Weather day on Sunday, 5/31/15)

Dist = 35 mi. 4WD = No Kids = OK Tools = D,H
Click here for “Field Trip Legend”

Sat., June 17, Teller County Tourmaline, near Cripple Creek, CO
(Schorl tourmaline). Trip leader Jim Hooten (303-770-7177). Will visit previous location for tourmaline crystals, plus possibly try newly located nearby digging site as well. Meet at 10:00 AM at Evergreen Station (groc/gas stop next to llama ranch) located on Teller County Road 1, 10 miles south of Florissant, CO. Florissant is on Hwy. 24, west of Colorado Springs. Maps at May meeting.

Dist = 110 mi. 4WD = Rec Kids = OK Tools = D,H
Click here for “Field Trip Legend”

Sat., June 24, LGMC Honey Bee/Queen Bee Claim
Trip leader Jim Hooten (303-770-7177 / jahooten@msn.com). Amazonite, smoky quartz, fluorite, etc. Meet at 9:00 AM at Community Center in “downtown” Harris Park. Cars will then caravan from there to the collection site. Easy walk from parking area. Map at May meeting. Directions: To get to Harris Park, take U.S. Hwy 285 southwest from Denver approximately 30 miles. Go thru Conifer, then Pine Jct., then about another 4 miles until you come to a stop light at the junction of State Road 43 (can only turn right—north). Turn north onto State Road 43 (may also be called 43A), and drive about 10 miles to Harris Park. The only potentially confusing point is where Road 43 turns to Road 47, maybe 6-7 miles up the highway. Just stay on the primary paved road (keep to right) and it will take you to Harris Park. The Community Center is the only “large” building around. Everything else is individual homes/cabins.

Dist = 50 mi. 4WD = Opt Kids = OK Tools = D
Click here for “Field Trip Legend”

Sat., June 24 to Fri., June 30, Montana Collecting Areas (Crystal Peak, etc.)
Trip leaders Bill & Mary Davis (303-680-5112). They invite anyone interested to join them to take a trip to Montana to collect at some classic localities for smoky quartz, amethyst scepters, sapphires, and who knows what else. Go for part of the trip, or stay the whole week. Call Bill and Mary to coordinate and to get detailed information. This is the first of 2 Club trips planned to Montana, so, if you can’t make this one, there is another opportunity later in the summer.

July

Sat., July 8, Smoky Hawk Mine, Joe Dorris Claim (near Lake George, CO)
Trip leader Jim Hooten. Joe Dorris has again graciously invited our Club to try our luck at collecting some of the beautiful amazonite and smoky quartz specimens that are famous from this area. Of course, no guarantees, but always loads of fun! Meet at 9:00 AM, on the east side of Lake George, CO (US Hwy 24), where Park County Road 94 turns off to the north, by the Ranger Station. Give yourself plenty of time to get there, as it is a good 2 hour drive from Denver. We will then caravan to the claim. Bring water, a lunch, and plenty of sunscreen.

A Waiver Form will be available at the May Meeting. Please take, complete, and bring with you on the field trip. There will also be some available at the collecting site on the day of the trip.

Dist = 100 mi. 4WD = Opt Kids = Sup Tools = D, H
Click here for “Field Trip Legend”

Sat., July 15, Topaz MTN Mine, Joe Dorris Claim (north of Lake George)
Joe Dorris and daughter, Krystle, have again invited us to their Topaz Mountain topaz claim. This is an operational mine, so some different rules apply. It is required that each individual, or family, purchase a bag of gravel for $50 to help pay for operations and facilities. Each bag will contain several nice topaz specimens. In addition, everyone can work the gravel dumps for topaz. While working these dumps, you are working for Glacier Peak Mining. Joe or Krystle will assess ALL topaz found, and decide whether to release to the finder, or retain as a “company stone”. Some stones may be offered to the finder with an option to purchase at wholesale rate (bring check book). If any stones are exceptional, they may be retained by the company.

Although some rakes are available at the location, I suggest bringing a garden rake with heavy tines, and a mattock or shovel. Optional items include a screen, rock pick, collecting bags, and a 5-gal bucket. Also bring plenty of water, your lunch, and sunscreen.

A Waiver Form will be available at the May Meeting. Please take, complete, and bring with you on the field trip. There will also be some available at the collecting site on the day of the trip.

Most everyone is familiar with the location of the mine. If not, please follow the directions below.

Meet at 9:00 AM directly at the mine. Follow these directions: From Colorado Springs, take U.S. Highway 24 west to Lake George. Drive through Lake George, cross the South Platte River and turn north on Park County Road 77 (Tarryall Road). Go approximately 7 miles. Turn right onto road and cross Tarryall Creek. You should see the brown Forest Service sign marking the road (F. S. Road 211) also known as the Matakat Road. Proceed about 2.5 miles and pass through cattle guard. You are now on Topaz Mountain Gem Mine. Operating sign is posted on fence on your left. Park in pullout on the right, next to Forest Service information sign, or anywhere along the road. Walk up to where operations are going on. You will see plenty of vehicles and people.

Dist = 120 mi. 4WD = Opt Kids = Sup Tools = D, H
Click here for “Field Trip Legend”

Sat., July 22, Georgetown Loop Train Ride, Everett Mine Tour, Gold Panning & Lunch
REPEAT TRIP BY POPULAR DEMAND! Great trip for the Club. Initial trip last year was thoroughly enjoyed by 30+ members and many on the trip, as well as those who couldn’t make it, requested a repeat trip. $22 per person.

Historic train ride starts in Silver Plume, CO and travels down the valley to the Everett Mine, where the mine tour is conducted. The Everett Mine has recently reopened, and includes a walk of approximately 225 feet into the mountain.. It gives visitors a sense of a mine in operation in the late 1880’s. The lighting is set to a level similar to the candle lights the miners would have been using. The exhibits in the mine include: the transition from hand drilling to mechanical drilling; the difference between black powder and dynamite blasting; ore removal; timbering and tunnel construction.

After the tour, guests then are given instructions and shown how to PAN FOR GOLD, and can take home everything they find! (more than you would imagine). After that, everyone is served lunch at the Mine (hot dogs, chips, drinks).

After re-boarding the train, the trip continues down to Georgetown (to pick up more passengers), then back up the valley to Silver Plume, where you leave the train, return to your car, and drive home.

The total round trip lasts approximately 3 hours (10:30 AM to 1:30 PM).

Participation is limited to the first 45 people to sign up. Check your calendar if you think you want to participate, and BE SURE YOU CAN GO BEFORE SIGNING UP. This year, the $22/person fee will be collected at the train station, on the day of the trip. We are asked to submit a head count of people attending by the middle of June, so, AGAIN, PLEASE SIGN UP ONLY IF YOU ARE SURE YOU CAN GO. If you sign up, and a conflict arises that keeps you from attending, PLEASE contact Jim Hooten, ASAP, so he can notify the train.

A sign-up sheet will be available at the May Meeting, so you can sign up at that time, or you can call or email Jim Hooten before June 16 if you want to attend.

Meet at the parking lot of the Train Station in Silver Plume (a short distance west of Georgetown on I-70) at 10:00 AM. The train leaves at 10:30 AM, so be sure and give yourself plenty of time to get there. Come early for breakfast in historic Georgetown, and walk the streets and visit the shops. Just make sure you’re at the train station to meet the other Club members at 10:00 AM.

It is truly a FUN and EDUCATIONAL adventure, so hope you can make it.

Sat.-Sun., July 29-30, Coffee Pot Springs, near Dotsero, CO.
Trip leader Jim Hooten (303-770-7177). Pseudomorphs of goethite after pyrite, plus fossil collecting in the area, plus hydrothermal(?) quartz crystals. Brachiopods, clams, and other Pennsylvanian-aged fossils in local limestone quarries. Campsites for overnight campers (fee), or “open” camping (no fee). Allow at least 3 – 3 ½ hours drive time from Denver. Go west on I-70. About 10 miles west of Gypsum, turn off I-70 at exit 133 (Dotsero). Go north on CR 301 for 1+ miles and turn left on CR 140 ( Deep Creek Road ). This road becomes fairly steep with hairpin turns, but it is maintained, and most cars in good condition should have no problems with the road, when dry. (Not the case if there are, or have been, heavy rains). Follow Deep Creek Road about 12 +/- miles until you see a sign saying that you are entering White River National Forest. Meet at the National Forest sign at 10:00 AM on Saturday. For those wishing a Forest Service campsite, the Coffee Pot Springs Campground (fee required) is another 4-5 miles on down this road. Other campgrounds are also in the area (fee and “open”). Typically, trip participants camp at an “open” campground a short distance from the meeting place (continue on main road and take first left turn onto side road, then go 200 yards to camping site). Some people usually go up on Friday, so a sign will be located on the main road indicating where the LGMC campsite will be. For those who have not been on this trip, it is a breathtakingly beautiful area, with meadows of wildflowers, high mountains, and deep canyons (great overlook). A really enjoyable weekend in the mountains, with guaranteed mineral collecting, camping around a campfire and good companionship. Singing optional, but story-telling encouraged. Map at May meeting.

Dist = 150 mi. 4WD = Opt – Rec Kids = OK Tools = L, D Camping = OK
Click here for “Field Trip Legend”

August

Thurs.-Sun., Aug. 10-13, 32nd Annual Contin’ Tail Mineral Show (Buena Vista)
No details available for this event.
Sat., Aug. 12, Sedalia Copper Mine (near Salida, CO)
Trip leader Jim Hooten (303-770-7177). Trip to old mine ruins near Salida, CO to collect garnet crystals and other interesting minerals. Park at the base of the mine road and walk up to the collecting area. The walk is comprised of 10-12 switchbacks over approximately 1/3 to 1/2 mile, up a very steep grade. It’s a rigorous hike up, and back down (especially with a backpack full of specimens). Not recommended for those not used to strenuous exercise. Meet at 10:00 AM, northwest of Salida, at intersection of US Hwy 285 and CO Hwy 291. Will caravan from there to old mine area. Bring lunch and plenty of water and sunscreen. Map at May meeting.

Dist = 150 mi 4WD = Rec Kids = OK (supervised) Tools = L,D,H
Click here for “Field Trip Legend”

Sun., Aug. 20, LGMC ANNUAL SUMMER PICNIC & GRAB BAG STUFFING PARTY
(see write up in Newsletter).
Sat., Aug. 26, Hartsel Barite Area, near Hartsel, CO
Trip leader Jim Hooten (303-770-7177 or cell 303-548-7412). Clear to blue to opaque barite crystals. Fun trip and everyone guaranteed to leave with a bag full of barite. Meet at 10:00 AM at Bayou Salado Trading Post in Hartsel. Will check in with owners, Dave & Lark Harvey, and then caravan to collection location. Bring lunch, plenty of water, sun screen and insect spray. Map and instructions at May meeting.

Dist = 140 mi. 4WD = Opt Kids = Sup Tools = D, L
Click here for “Field Trip Legend”

September

Sat., Sept. 9, Red Feather Lakes (Rainbow Lode Mine) (north of Ft.Collins)
Trip leader Jim Hooten (303-770-7177). Amythest quartz, iron-stained quartz, clear quartz. Thanks to new owner, Casey Lehman, for again allowing us to schedule this trip to his claim. The Club has had a great time with past visits to this historic collecting locale, with some good success as well. Meet at 9:00 AM at Livermore, CO, approx 24 miles north of Ft. Collins, at intersection of Hwy 287 and County Road 74E (Red Feather Lakes Road). Cars will then caravan from there to the collection site, approximately another 28 miles west. Map at the May Meeting.

Dist = 125 mi. 4WD = Opt Kids = Sup Tools = D, H
Click here for “Field Trip Legend”

Field Trip Legend

Dist = approximate one way driving distance to meeting place from Littleton.

4WD =

  • No => not needed
  • Opt => optional (useful if you have one, you may need to ride a short distance with someone if you don’t)
  • Rec => recommended

Kids =

  • OK => a good place for kids
  • Sup => potentially hazardous areas (steep cliffs, mine tunnels, etc.). Small children will require some supervision.
  • NR => not recommended to bring small children

Tools =

  • L => light collecting tools (rock pick, sack, scoop)
  • D => typical pegmatite digging tools (rock pick, pick and shovel, pry bar, chisels, trowel, brush, screwdriver probe, etc.)
  • H => tools for heavy rock breaking (rock pick, sledge, chisels, pry bar, eye protection, etc)

Camping = if noted, camping (optional for an overnight stay) is possible at the site.

Fee = Noted, if any.