Lake Mountains-Banded Calcite Onyx

IMAG0615The past few weekends Big J and I have had to keep the trips close to home since we had other stuff going on, but this should never be an excuse to not come back with awesome stuff 🙂 Our destination this time was in the Lake Mountains just west of Utah Lake and South of the town of Saratoga Springs. I had to be more specific in the title of this post since there are actually several different types of minerals and fossils at or near this location and we hope to return many times in the future and share with you all whatever we might find.

 

IMAG0612Despite what we read about the location, you actually do not necessarily need a four wheel drive or high clearance vehicle. We ended up driving right up a super sketchy side road only to find that we had passed the dig entirely. If you look on the map on the locations page I placed the pin right on the dig we ended up going past and coming back to. The vein itself appeared to run vertically right up the mountain. Large parts of it had been exposed and, after a few sprays with the spray bottle, we immediately recognized the banding.

You can find pieces and chips of the material all over the ground, but I would HIGHLY recommend a shovel, a sledge, chisels, pry bars, a brush, a spray bottle, etc. for a little bit of heavy/dirty work to get the bigger pieces. We broke two chisels trying to get one of the larger pieces out. You would think this stuff would be pretty soft (and honestly some of the chucks did actually just break apart in our hands), but the stuff you really want to go after are those chunks that are super solid, heavy, and thick.

IMAG0608The colors ranged from a honey yellow all the way to the rootbeer dark brown. My favorite was the greenish semi-transparent stuff we found on the other side of the mountain. From what I understand, just about any cut or dig you come across in this area should have some type of calcite coming out of it and this proved to be true in our wanderings. At any rate, I hope that when you do go that you run into the same success we ended up having.

 

 

IMAG0616Directions to Lake Mountains-Banded Calcite Onyx:

From the intersection of 800 North and I-15 in Orem, Utah

1. Drive North on I-15 toward Salt Lake City for 6.5 miles

2. Take exit 278 in American Fork and keep left (West) onto Pioneer Crossing (.4 miles)

3. Continue driving on Pioneer Crossing for another 5.3 miles

4. Turn left (South) onto Redwood Road and drive another 8.3 miles to the Dyno Nobel plant turnoff

5. Turn right (West) on the dirt road there (NOT the one into the Geneva gravel pit)

IMAG06136. Drive 2.76 miles on this main dirt road

(Not quite a half mile in the road splits in three and you’ll take the middle one that wraps around and to the left)

(Note: at about 1.4 miles the road runs right through a large quarry)

7. Turn left (Southwest) after the 2.76 miles for about 640 feet to a meeting of the roads

I’d recommend walking the last bit for step 8…

8. Turn left (East) on the road that goes up the hill (back toward Mt. Timp) for about another 500 feet and you’ll see the cut right there from the road

I should mention that this whole mountain was full of material (especially up and over the other side). When we were coming back down the main road, we parked at a little pullout where there was a for sale sign and saw digs and cuts all over the place. This is one of those areas where it definitely pays to explore.

10 thoughts on “Lake Mountains-Banded Calcite Onyx”

  1. Went today. Found some small pieces but area has been picked. If we dug down we might have found a few larger pieces. It was 90+ degrees so it was too hot to stay for a while.

    1. Hi Julio! I’m sorry to hear that it wasn’t as successful this time around. The heat is killer right now. I hope you all have better luck next time. I remember we walked around quite a bit and found material almost everywhere we went. The big veins were only partially exposed in some areas, but there were some sizeable chunks scattered about the hills.

      1. It was a better find this time around. Found one piece really nice honey color, the ready where pretty white calcite or Quartz mixes. Found a few huge spiders as well. You have to be very careful when walking around, some of the gravel is very loose.

  2. I would be very interested to know where there are geodes in the Enterprise area. I grew up in Enterprise and have never heard of any geodes in that area.

  3. Hey The Dude. I don ‘t live far from here and I appreciate this information to check out this cool little place. Is there any distinction between public and private land besides the fences and cameras, and for sale signs? There’s a lot of open land. Also are they friendly to rockhounds?

  4. We’ve been out to this site a couple of times now. There is also good material to be had just before you round the corner to go up the hill. There is a little nondescript pit there. In reality, I’m sure you can find the stuff all over the place out there. My father-in-law has cut some of the pieces we found and they turned out beautiful – nice and creamy!

    1. That is awesome Jeremy! I wanted to add that I have heard there is a Tiger’s Eye pit out there as well. The place where we were told it was was just a little bit farther down the road from this location, but when we went there it was totally off limits with signs and cameras everywhere. Did you see anything like that out there when you went?

      1. Yeah, that’s exactly what we saw as well, though we didn’t get anywhere near it. We just saw signs indicating what you said. Tiger’s Eye looks amazing! It would be great to find another location in the Lake Mountains that has some.

  5. Hi,

    My son and I live in the St. George, UT area. Is there anywhere to go look for geodes and such that are close to us without driving up to Salt Lake? We have never gone digging but would love to get my son out of the house and off his electronics and he loves rocks and fossils.

    1. Hi Robbie! Thanks for your comment. Rockhounding is a perfect way to get away from the electronics ha ha ha. As far as geodes go at this point I’m not aware of any locations down in the St. George area. However, I did recently sign up for a field trip through the Rockpick Legends group to go down to a site near Enterprise next month where you can find geodes. I believe it is on July 18th so maybe I could update you after that. Or, you may want to reach out to them and see if they have any spots left though. The only other locations I know of that have actual geodes are at the Dugway location and then also over by the San Rafael Swell in the Buckhorn Wash/Draw area. Southern Utah is always good for things like petrified wood, fossils, agate, and dino bone, but sometimes it is hard to come by any of the other stuff. Also, I’m not sure how far you are wanting to travel, but the area around Milford is chock full of good locations and then also if you head East out around Orderville you could always try for Septarian nodules. Those are pretty much as good as geodes if not better!

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