Rockhound is one of the few state parks where you can take away souvenir rocks.
In fact, that was one of the features that first attracted us to this park many years ago. Our appreciation of the park has deepened since that initial visit. We now enjoy this park for its views, its birds, its abundant flora and its hiking trails as well as its rocks. We’ve also developed an enlarged understanding of the geology of this region and how these rocks came to be. There is an excellent article on the geology of Rockhound and the Little Florida Mtns. at https://geoinfo.nmt.edu/tour/state/rockhound/home.html
The website associated with this link also has information on the geology of many of the New Mexico State Parks.
Among the rocks found here are geodes and thundereggs, spherulites and mega spherulites… but we’ll leave that for another post as it is a topic deserving a post of its own.
There are other (easier to find) yet beautiful and interesting rocks and minerals to be found here. Included are jasper, common opal, perlite, obsidian, agate, and quartz crystals.
I always have some rock-related quest in mind when I start snooping around here. This time I determined to collect as many agate colors as possible. Call it the “rainbow challenge”. Here was the result:
I also wanted to find some nice pieces of commom opal and agate. Yay! Success:
My most challenging quest was to find a nice piece of mahogany perlite. There was a lovely sample of this rock at the visitor’s center cut and polished to show its beauty:
I searched for several days, and finally found a chunk that really looks like it could be what I was looking for:
If you are on your own rock quest at Rockhound here are a few tips:
< Jasper is just everywhere on both trails. Just keep your eyes open and wander off the trail a little bit.
< Perlite is on the back side of Jasper Trail. You can see small pieces on the trail, but comb the hillside if you want a bigger chunk.
< Common opal, agate, megasperulites and thundereggs are higher up the hillside behind the park.
To get there go up Thunderegg Trail (southbound) until you get to the highest point. About ten or fifteen feet further look left up the hill and you should see a small footpath leading uphill. It looks like this:
Note the small white spot in the picture… that’s your objective. The path will take you into a small ravine and you may lose the trail. No worries. Just head toward that white excavation area and pick your way up the ravine. When you get there you will see that it is deeply undercut friable material.
When you are done hunting you can retrace your steps or look for the small footpath just below the outcrop near the juniper. It takes you over and across the hillside and you can pick your way down to the hillside bench on the spur off Thunderegg Trail. Happy hunting!