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DELTA — Rockhounding has long been popular in Utah’s Thomas Range. While experienced searchers find gorgeous specimens, novices can sometimes struggle to find the proverbial diamond in the rough.
The Topaz Mountain Adventures quarry helps remedy this situation by offering better access to museum-quality gemstones such as topaz. Located in a scenic area known as Topaz Cove, the quarry is part of a claim that has been under continuous lease since 1905.
“Previous owners would mine it and just leave the tailings,” said current owner David Stemmons. “Then people would come and rummage through to find some leftover stuff. Our philosophy was to make the premium stuff available to the public. So we do blasting tours and take you right up to the rock. We don’t keep any of it. Whatever you find is yours to keep.”
The quarry staff is happy to assist visitors in identifying and collecting gemstones, and provide tools for rent if you don’t have your own. To ensure everyone has a great experience, they’ll even make special arrangements for those who would struggle to navigate the uneven terrain of the quarry. If someone in a group has physical disabilities or other limitations, they can notify the owners in advance and they’ll prepare some topaz to be “discovered” on flat ground adjacent to the parking lot.
You can book a visit to the quarry just about any time of year, excluding Sundays and major holidays. The hours of operation usually go from dawn to dusk. Prices start at $30 for a half-day prospecting pass. For a more intensive experience, it costs $99 to attend a blast with a guide and spend the day searching for topaz in the freshly exposed rock. There are also private group options available.
Due to the rugged location, it’s recommended you wear boots and durable clothing. You’ll also want to bring a hat and plenty of water, as the temperatures can be brutal in the summer. There are bathroom facilities on site. Children are always welcome as long as they are carefully supervised.
Topaz Mountain Adventures is located about an hour northwest of Delta. It’s in the same general area as the U-DIG quarry, which is one of the best places in the state to find trilobites. You can view a map of the area here.