Montana is Full of Treasures! Check Out My Latest Discovery
Montana is full of rare gems, minerals, fossils, and other treasures. On a recent trip down the Yellowstone River, some friends and I found some really excellent examples.
Regardless of where you're located in Montana, there are a lot of great places to explore. Eastern Montana is a hotbed for dinosaur fossils. If you're near the Yellowstone River in that part of the state, you can find some really nice agates as well.
If you're in Southwestern or Western Montana, you can still find agates, but you can also find petrified wood, sapphires, crystals, garnets and more. Many people walk the banks of the Yellowstone River in hopes of finding something to add to their collection. In Montana, prospecting, rockhounding, and collecting petrified wood, invertebrate, or plant fossils usually do not require a permit when there is little or no disturbance to the ground, other resources, and environment.
It's extremely important to check with the local ranger district if you have questions about whether a permit may be needed. Any sale or commercial use of petrified wood found on lands administered by the Forest Service requires a permit. A free use permit is required for amateur collectors and scientists to take limited quantities for personal use.
Certain lands within the National Forest System are not open to collecting due to wilderness or sensitive area designation. The following items may not be collected or removed by casual collectors:
- Any part of a vertebrate fossil (dinosaurs bones, fish, - anything with a backbone), and shark teeth.
- Archaeological resources include any material remains of prehistoric or historic human life or activities, which are at least 50 years old, and include the physical site, location, or context in which they are found.
- The collection of projectile points, pottery, or any other archaeological resource or artifact is not allowed without a permit. Projectile points include ‘arrowheads’ and any prehistoric human-modified stone.
I collect rocks and petrified wood for my personal collection and am always mindful and respectful of the area I'm searching. I have found a lot of different treasures in Montana over the years, but I always make sure that what I'm doing is legal. If you plan on searching for treasures in Montana, please don't do anything illegal. Many Montanans enjoy hunting for the various treasures here, so we need to make sure that we're going about it correctly, so the privilege isn't taken away.
On a recent trip down the Yellowstone River, I found one of the coolest pieces of petrified wood that I've ever seen. It was partially buried, so it required a little digging. I made sure to fill the hole back in after I removed it.
Click here to learn more about the rules for legally harvesting items from public land in Montana.