Red Horn Coral

IMAG0560I am a little reluctant to post this since I haven’t exactly become an expert on this particular area just yet. This is a chance for anyone reading this to help me out though ha ha ha! We visited this location the last two Saturdays and finally found the specific site spoken of in several of the resources I’ve come across (we think). Sometimes it is hard putting together all of the information out there or even just validating its accuracy in the first place. But here goes nothing…

I am aware of previous and/or existing claims in this area. We came across one of these claims on one of the ridges (there was a little red shack next to it). On Google Earth or Google satellite view you can see this from above as a large white area on the map where the dirt road drops down a bit. It is just Northwest of the marker I placed on the map. We searched the hillsides around this claim and found chips and small pieces of the red horn coral, agate, jasper, and various fossils.

IMAG05851On the way back we met a couple of hikers who informed us that we had taken a wrong turn and ended up the wrong canyon. We spent the rest of the day searching the area they suggested we try, but were, for the most part, unsuccessful (not to mention extremely tired).

The next week, after searching online and staring at Google satellite images for hours on end, we determined to take the Cedar Hollow road just past the town of Woodland that seems to wrap up and around the location (mainly so we didn’t have to hike as much–we are lazy farts like that). After getting the Subaru stuck in a massive snow bank for a several hours, it became apparent that hiking in was our only chance.

IMAG0586Many people we had asked about this location mentioned that it was about a mile and a half from the base of the canyon. After hiking that distance, we searched long and far all over both sides of the trail, but still were only able to find bits and pieces. It was only with about 30-45 minutes before we had to leave for the day that we finally found what we presume to be the location.

You can imagine at this point that we were frantically digging with berserk-like fury for anything and everything that resembled what we were looking for, knowing that it might be weeks or even months before we would be able to return. We did find several specimens, but our enthusiasm to return to this location is off the charts.

IMAG0600I should mention that even before finding the actual human digs that we did come across a large hole dug by an animal of some kind. Upon rooting through the pile of dirt around the hole, much to our surprise, we found a rather large specimen. Obviously, it seems silly to randomly dig holes all over the mountainside, but you might have similar luck checking holes where someone (or something) has already done the work for you.



IMAG0598Directions to Red Horn Coral:

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

1. Drive East on 800 North for 3.7 miles to the Provo Canyon turnof

2. Take ramp on left onto US-189 N/E Provo Canyon Road

3. Drive 21.5 miles and turn left (North) onto US-189 N/Us-40 W/South Main Street in Heber

4. Drive 4.7 miles and turn right (Northeast) onto N State Road 32

IMAG05845. Drive another 10.4 miles to the four way stop in the town of Francis and go straight onto UT-35 East/W Main Village Way

6. Continue another 6.0 miles to destination on left (there is a parking area at the base of the canyon)

7. You’ll now begin your hike into Riley’s canyon. Take the main trail from the road and hike just barely over 1 mile and you will see the digs up on the mountain to your left about 180 feet from the trail

8. If you start seeing the huge white tailings residue on the left side of the trail you went just a little too far (but in reality you might see success searching all over this area)

26 thoughts on “Red Horn Coral”

  1. In step 7 of the directions you talk of a mile hike to get to the site. What is this hike like. I am asking for those who may be a little physically challenged. So like is there lots of rocks to hike over, is it a lot of up hill, is there any kind of trail to follow etc. I personally would like to give it a try though the knees are a challenge at times.

    1. We visited Riley’s Canyon on Friday Aug. 18th 2017. There is a trail with loose rock and a small stream flowing down the trail when you first start on it just past the gate. I’d suggest wearing good shoes for walking on loose rock and maybe carrying a walking stick depending on how well your balance is. Past the stream in the trail the walking gets better. It is uphill but not very steep. We didn’t see any ticks or mosquitos and the blue sky and sunshine made the time there enjoyable. As for finding any red coral, just small fragments and red coral embedded in the limestone smooth rocks found on the hill side. What was a surprise was the old road that used to go up this canyon was gone. It was there in 1984, when I was last there, but gone 33 years later.

  2. I know where unlimited amounts of horn coral are. I mean tons.found it while deer hunting. Very remote area in Desert ,tooele county tip top ofmountain range, ,Made a beautiful porch posts with it as decoration. Is any body interested in this stuff ? There are very large pieces and some other flower type fossils mixed in I think it’s pretty cool, could be willing to show interested party.

    1. Hi Hal! You bet! I’d be very interested. This is the black horn coral right? I’ve heard of a few locations out that way. When you have a sec, hit me up at the contact form on this site 🙂

    2. I’d LOVE to know more about this location. I would like to make sure that collecting at this site is permitted, as I have at times seen references to red horn coral above Tooele, but that the site was off limits.

    3. Yeah, regular horn coral is plentiful in many locations. Like South Canyon which is south of Grantsville, Utah. Or like in the Lakeside Mountains where the old dirt road takes you from the west side to where you can see the east side. Looking down is the Magnesium plant, to give you an idea of how high up you are. There are many places for horn coral, but as for Red Horn Coral, then Riley’s Canyon, Utah is the only place I’ve found it.

    4. Greetings Hal! I’d love to find some too! I’ve been looking for a new adventure that would entice my husband out of the house on his days off of a 4-tens work schedule. This just might be the ticket! ajanalou at yahoo

  3. This makes me want to go to Utah.. is it really Coral as though its from the Ocean? Or just a term? Thanks. Great find. I Love Gems*Rocks

    1. Riley Canyon Utah had/has some great Christmas red horn coral. I have a six inch long chunk that Father Nature split lengthwise, revealing a great deal on interior growth. It is fossilized and yes, Part of Utah was once under sea water, though a few years before I was born.
      We found it in 1964 during our first rock-hounding trip after getting married. We polished the top end.
      Further, ammonite fossils (again sea living former critters) are abundant in Alberta, Canada and possibly also in Utah and Montana. Polished as ammolite, these gems display just about every colour of a rainbow.

    2. Call yeah I seen your GA deal there I am new on this Internet crap I just found red coral in Washington state unbelievable beautiful stuff I’m believable and they would’ve came out of it should never be there but his school stuff check it out let me know give me a call

  4. Awesome. Love the page. I found some coral near Lookout Pass a few weeks ago. Some real nice specimens. If you’re interested let me know.

    1. Hi Gary! Thanks for commenting. I’m definitely always interested in new locations. I’ve heard a few things about lookout pass, but haven’t stopped at that location. I’m thinking another trip out that way is in order now though!

      1. It’s between Vernon and Dugway, on the old Pony Express Trail. I apologize for the several-month delay in replying!!

  5. We went out to find some red horn coral last week and had a great time. We were so close to finding the site posted here. I think we just needed to go up the hill a little further. We also tried following the descriptions given in the two most popular Utah rock hounding books but they didn’t make much sense. We didn’t see any of the landmarks described there and hiked way further than we should have needed to. Anyway, it was still fun and we did find a few really small pieces and some others that are stuck in the host rock that look neat anyway. We’re excited to give it another try some other time.

  6. I have a bag I just inherited with7 pieces of this coral. While I’m not really interested in selling I am curious about their worth. They appear to be very nice (I’ve looked at a lot of images online) with the smallest being around 1″ long by 1″ across, the largest being 2& 1/2″ long by 1& 1/2″ across.
    All have polished ends. I know it’s difficult without actually seeing them.

    Thank you, Lisa

    1. That is a good question Lisa! I’ve purchased a couple of these ends from different rock shops in the area. From what I’ve seen they could go anywhere from $10-$75+ depending on the size and quality. One of the ones I bought that is probably closest in size to your biggest one I got for around $40 if I remember correctly. There were a few fatter and longer ones that ran a bit more, but it seems like as long as you have a nice polished end that is really where the value is at. At any rate, the stuff is pretty rare as it is and you don’t see much of the actual specimen pieces like those online; it’s usually just cabs and other jewelry so honestly you’d probably get away with more. Definitely good stuff and I think I also remember reading that it is totally unique to that particular area and it is always fun to own something like that. I’ve got several pieces of the black horn coral found up in American Fork canyon as well and they both look nice when paired up on display.

      1. Dude, how do you tell the red horn coral from all the thousands of pieces of red rocks that are all over the place? I zigzagged up the hill to the ridge and found agate, jasper and calcite but I don’t know if the red rock I was seeing was the coral or some other rock. Is the coral always bound up with something else or can it be by itself?

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