Crystal Park – Dig For Crystals

Pioneer Mountains, Montana

Crystal Park is the perfect place to discover rockhounding as crystals are fairly easy to find and fun to dig for in an alpine setting.

The Park is located near the upper elevations of the Pioneer Scenic Byway, a road that follows the Wise River to its tiny headwaters before descending south and following Grasshopper Creek; a tributary of the Beaverhead River.

Part of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, the Park is open to the public May 15 to September 30 depending on road conditions.

There is a nominal fee, $5 per car. Bring your own tools and rediscover your inner child as you dig in the dirt for treasures.

Crystal Park Finding Crystals

A Quartz Crystal

Crystal Park path to area to dig

Trail to the Digging Area

How to Find Crystals

Finding the quartz crystals is fairly easy. Stake out a spot and start digging. Sometimes you’ll even find crystals just laying on the ground.

One regular at the park suggests digging in dirt that is more clay-like that is a darker tan in color.

There are rules for digging – no tunneling, no digging with 5 feet of trees. Complete rules can be found on the park’s interpretive signage.

Tools For Success

You easily can tell the serious crystal diggers from the casual. The serious diggers come prepared. They have shovels, picks, large screens, and are set up for the day with coolers filled with food and beverage.

For newbies and those not wanting to haul a bunch of tools uphill, here are some ideas of what to bring.

  • A garden trowel
  • Small folding shovel
  • Colander for sifting
  • Cooler for lunch and beverages
  • A pail for your bounty
  • Gloves
Digging and Finding Crystals

Digging and Finding Crystals

Surrounded by the Pioneer Mountains

Surrounded by the Pioneer Mountains

Fun Family Outing

At Crystal Park, families dig in the dirt together. But that’s not to say couples and individuals don’t enjoy it too. Serious rockhounds visit the park expertly digging and cataloging their finds while couples seek out the crystals for mementos or gift-giving from their Montana vacation.

Digging in the dirt for treasure is a great way to spend the day. And the scenery is spectacular! Bring a picnic lunch as there are nearby picnic areas and more places to explore along the byway.

Crystal Park Families Dig For Crystals

Finding Treasure with Dad

Families Dig For Crystals in Park

Families Dig For Crystals in Park

What To Do With Crystals

Most of the quartz crystals you’ll find at Crystal Park will have little to no value. While most crystals will be clear, some will be smoky or be purple-amethyst in color. Some pieces can be suitable for jewelry, while larger pieces can be interesting mementos.

At home, wash your clear crystals in a cool-water, soapy bleach solution to brighten. Give extra care to amethyst crystals.

Crystal Park Interpretive Signs

Interpretive Sign

Park Interpretive Signage

Interpretive Sign

When To Go – How To Get There

Located at an elevation of 7780′, the Park is open mid-May through the end of September, depending on road conditions. From the ranch, head back to the frontage road and take a left toward Divide. At Highway 43, turn left toward Wise River.

In Wise River, take a left onto the Pioneer Scenic Byway. The road will follow the Wise River and it won’t be long before you’ll start gaining elevation. Follow this road for 22 miles, the Park will be on the right.

From the ranch, the park is 45 miles away. Due to the slower speeds on the Byway, plan on 1.5 hours to get there. Our chef can prepare a picnic lunch with advance notice.