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.  Note: Trips may be cancelled if conditions near the field trip area unsafe or dangerous. (i.e. wildfires, flooding, or other unfavorable conditions)

Field Trip Rules and Decorum

Jim Hooten, Field Trip Chairman
This is the list of the 2018 field trips planned for the collecting season up through September 8, 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 2, Devils Head, near Deckers, CO
Trip leader TBD or 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 9, LGMC Honey Bee/Queen Bee Claim
Trip leader Travis Leach (303-887-9787). 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 16, Cripple Creek/Victor Gold Mine Tour, Victor, CO.
Trip leader Jim Hooten (303-770-7177 or cell 303-548-7412). This trip was announced earlier this year both at the monthly meetings and via a batch email to all Club Members. The maximum number of participants allowed by the Mine Tour Company was achieved, so the trip is currently full. Information regarding the Tour was previously sent to all participants. It is requested again that all those attending please send their $8.50/person (no discount for children or seniors) to Jim Hooten, or please bring to the May 18th Founder’s Day Meeting. Also bring completed Waiver Form.

Mon., June 18 to Sun., June 24, Montana Collecting Areas (Crystal Peak, etc.)
Trip leaders Bob and Ruth Zartman (303-973-0405). 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 Bob and Ruth 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 one later in the summer.

Sat., June 30, 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. Also bring some cash, or your checkbook, as Joe usually has some very nice, representative specimens for sale, at discounted prices.
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”

July

Members have requested more overnight campout experiences on some field trips, so this would qualify. With the Topaz Mtn Mine trip scheduled on a Sunday this year (July 15), there are two 1/2-day trips that are being offered on the day before, both within a 45-minute drive to Topaz Mtn. on the following Sunday morning. The two trips are as follows, in no particular order. Those interested in camping can decide which to do in the morning, and which in the afternoon of Sat., July 14.

Camping localities are available adjacent to both the Tourmaline and Magnetite localities. The Tourmaline area has “open” BLM camping. The Magnetite area is only a couple of miles from the Spruce Grove Campground (Forest Service, with fee). I imagine there’s also “open” camping in the vicinity. Depending on who, and how many, are interested in “roughing it” with a 1-night campout, a discussion can be forthcoming on where to camp.

Meet at the Subway/Gas Station on the east side of Florissant, CO, (Hwy 24), at 9:30 AM, on Saturday the 14th.

Sat., July 14, Teller County Tourmaline, near Cripple Creek, CO
(Schorl tourmaline). Trip leader Jim Hooten (303-770-7177). Collect black schorl tourmaline crystals.

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

Sat., July 14, Magnetite Ridge, near Tarryall, CO (Park County).
(Schorl tourmaline). This is a new collecting locality for the Club. It is a few miles north of the Topaz Mtn Claim, just off of Hwy 77 near Tarryall. Material is black magnetite. A preliminary inspection of the locality produced abundant specimens of magnetite, some with occasional, and minor, crystal faces. A total time of only 30 minutes was spent inspecting the area, with plenty of additional areas of prospective collecting along the ridge. Easy access on BLM land. Good potential for finding faceted magnetite crystals.

Dist = 125 mi. 4WD = Opt Kids = OK Tools = L
Click here for “Field Trip Legend”

Sun., 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.-Sun., July 21-22, RAMS Club (Mile High Rock and
Mineral Society), Picnic, Dig and Campout Invitation.
The RAMS Club has an Annual Weekend at their Claim near Lake George, and invites another area Club to join them for a fun weekend. This year, they are inviting the LGMC. The official “party” begins at 12-Noon on Saturday the 21st, with the Picnic. They are providing burgers, hot dogs, and brats, plus buns and condiments. Also, they will have pop and iced tea for drinking. All participants are asked to bring a side dish to share (enough for 6-8 people). Also bring any meat you prefer, if it’s other than what they are providing. Same goes for liquid refreshments.
You don’t have to arrive at 12 noon on Saturday. You can arrive earlier Saturday morning (to start digging earlier), or even Friday evening. There should be members of the RAMS Club present. Coming early will also allow you to claim a good camping spot, although there should be plenty of good spots in the area.
Word of warning: No Bathroom Facilities, so plan accordingly. Also, bring plenty of water, as there’s no water supply. Feel free to bring chairs. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Material to collect includes amazonite, quartz, fluorite, goethite, and possibly topaz. Hard pegmatite digging, so bring appropriate tools. If you’re out digging Saturday morning, they will honk car horns just prior to Noon to let everyone know that it’s time to eat.
The RAMS Claim is on the same road that leads to Joe Dorris’s Smoky Hawk Mine. You go right by their Claim on the way to Smoky Hawk. Again, feel free to arrive at whatever time fits
your schedule. Campout overnight and dig some more on Sunday.
There are already nearly 35-40 people who responded earlier this year to this trip. The names of these people will be on the sign-up sheet at the May 18th Meeting. Others are welcomed to sign up as well. All that is asked is that you be certain that you can attend. A final total number of participants will be given to the RAMS people by mid-late June, so they can plan accordingly for the amount of food to provide. Your cooperation with this is greatly appreciated. If you sign up, and later have to cancel, just notify Jim Hooten ASAP (303-548-7412). Hope you can make it. Should be a really fun weekend!

Sat.-Mon., July 28-30, Montana collecting areas (Crystal Peak, etc.)--PART II.
Trip leaders Lynette Warren (28th-29th), Ed & Susan Wakefield (29-30th). Two more, short, Montana trips…..both only a couple of days. If interested, find trip leaders in Club Directory and contact them for additional information.

August

Sat.-Sun., August 4-5, 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 1⁄2 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 at10:00 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”

Thurs.-Sun., Aug. 9-12, 33rd Annual Contin’ Tail Mineral Show (Buena Vista)
No details available for this event.
Sat., Aug. 11, 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. 19, LGMC ANNUAL SUMMER PICNIC & GRAB BAG STUFFING PARTY
(see write up in Newsletter).

Sat., Aug. 25, 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”

Fri.-Sun. , August 24-26, Del Norte Geodes/Agates, near Del Norte, CO.
Trip leader Dale Gann (720-981-5526, GatorGann@msn.com). Dale is leading a trip to collect Agate Thunder Eggs near House Log Creek (Twin Mountains), northwest of Del Norte. He may be heading down as early as Thursday the 23rd. For those interested, contact Dale, or listen to his description of the trip at the May 18th Founder’s Day Meeting. Map will be provided.

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

September

Sat., Sept. 8, Red Feather Lakes (Purple Dragon Claim) (north of Ft.
Collins).
Trip leader Jim Hooten (303-770-7177). Amethyst quartz, iron-stained quartz, clear quartz. Thanks to new owners, Mandi and William Hutchinson, for again allowing us to schedule this trip to their 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”

Next years events to be uploaded soon! Stay tuned for another upcoming and exciting year!!!!!!!!!

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.