Rockhounding New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a good state for rockhounding. The state is known as the ‘Granite State’ in part because of its many granite formations and quarries. In fact, the state’s official emblem is the ‘Old Man of the Mountain’ – a legacy formation on a mountain formed of Jurassic Conway granite. New Hampshire’s pegmatite occurrences provide great opportunities for recreational rockhounders.
State Rocks, Gemstones, Minerals, Fossils, & Dinosaurs
Rockhounding Tip: Knowing state rocks, gemstones, minerals, fossils, and dinosaurs often can be very useful information for rockhounders. Ordinarily, states with significant mineral deposits, valuable gemstones, fossils, or unusual or significant rock occurrences will designate an official state mineral, rock/stone, gemstone, fossil, or dinosaur to promote interest in the state’s natural resources, history, tourism, etc. Accordingly, such state symbols often are a valuable clue as to potential worthwhile rockhounding opportunities.
State Rock: Granite (1985)
New Hampshire designated granite as its official state rock in 1985. New Hampshire’s iconic ‘Old Man of the Mountain’ was composed of Jurassic Conway granite. On May 3, 2003, however, the forces of erosion overcame the mountain and the Old Man collapsed.
Smoky Quartz (1985)
New Hampshire designated smoky quartz as its official state gem in 1985. Smoky (or smokey) Quartz is a brown to black variety of quartz and is found in many types of rocks, including granite. In New Hampshire, the White Mountain National Forest includes a famous smoky quartz site. Cairngorm is a variety of smoky quartz found in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland and often has a yellow-brown color.
Mineral: Beryl (1985)
New Hampshire designated beryl as its official state mineral in 1985. Beryl is a gemstone commonly found in the granite rocks abundant in New Hampshire. Beryl refers to a family of minerals that includes emerald (green), aquamarine (aquamarine blue), morganite (pink), heliodore (yellow-green), golden beryl (yellow) and goshenite (colorless). The word beryl is from the Greek word beryllos, which means "precious blue-green stone" and was originally applied to green gemstones. Beryl, when not used as a gemstone, is the major ore of beryllium, which greatly enhances the strength, and hardness of copper when alloyed together.
State-specific rockhounding books (including the books listed here as well as other books), regional rockhounding site guides, and other helpful rockhounding resources are identified - by category - in the Books & Gear section of Gator Girl Rocks with a link to the Gator Girl Rocks Amazon Store where you may easily browse selected resources and securely place an order. Your order will benefit Charity Rocks!
U.S. Forest Service
White Mountain National Forest
The White Mountain National Forest includes several historic rock collecting sites. The Forest Service regulates recreational (and other) rockhounding within the White Mountain National Forest.
- Bradford B. Van Diver, Roadside Geology of Vermont & New Hampshire (1987).
- Allan W. Eckert, Earth Treasures Vol.- Northeastern Quadrant (1985; reprint in 2000).
- James Martin Monaco & Jeannette Hathway Monaco, Fee Mining & Mineral Adventures in the Eastern U.S. (2d ed. 2010).
- Kathy J. Rygle & Stephen F. Pedersen, Northeast Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide (4th ed. 2008).
Museums of Interest to Rockhounders
Woodman Institute Museum
Dover, New Hampshire
The museum claims to have the largest American rock and mineral collection north of Boston.
The Little Nature Museum at Gould Hill Farm
Contoocook, New Hampshire
The museum exhibits rocks, minerals, and fossils.
Places to Visit - Interesting Sites To See
Franconia Notch State Park
Franconia Notch State Park is home to the granite rock formation that was known as The Old Man of the Mountain. In 2003, the formation collapsed.
Madison Boulder Natural Area
Madison, New Hampshire
Madison Boulder Natural Area is home to the largest known erratic in New England, and among the largest in the world. Madison Boulder is a huge granite rock measuring 83 feet in length, 23 feet in height above the ground, 37 feet in width, and weighs upwards of 5,000 tons. In 1970 Madison Boulder was designated a National Natural Landmark because the enormous erratic, "is an outstanding illustration of the power of an ice sheet to pluck out very large blocks of fractured bedrock and move them substantial distances."
Rockhounding Sites for Children & Families
White Mountain National Forest – North of Conway, New Hampshire
The Moat Mountain Smokey Quartz Collecting Area, managed by the U.S. Forest Service, is a famous rockhounding site. Small smoky quartz crystals are embedded in the Conway granite. The collecting site is subject to applicable federal laws.
White Mountain National Forest
The Deer Hill Mineral Collecting Area, managed by the U.S. Forest Service, is a famous rockhounding site. This location has produced a large amount of amethyst (purple quartz) along with many other minerals, including feldspars of many varieties, beryl, garnet, columbite, pyrite, and muscovite. The collecting site is subject to applicable federal laws.
White Mountain National Forest
The Lord Hill Mineral Collecting Area, managed by the U.S. Forest Service, is a famous rockhounding site. Lord Hill is a pegmatite that is not very different from the Deer Hill pegmatite, except the bulk composition is different and contains many more rare elements that lead to forming rare minerals. There are many rare minerals found at Lord Hill including Triplite, Uraninite, Vivianite, Zircon, Gahnite, Fluorapatite, Bertrandite, and the list goes on. The more common minerals that are found there are varieties of feldspar, quartz, topaz, phenakite, and garnet. The collecting site is subject to applicable federal laws.
Grafton, New Hampshire
Commercial (fee access) business. Although it is famous for its mica deposits, a variety of minerals occur at the Ruggles Mine. Historically, it operated as a commercial mine. Today, visitors can purchase access to collect specimens.