Minerals and Geology - Inventory for National Forest Lands


Minerals and Geology related programs and features on National Forests are extensive, educational, and important to National interests. This is a listing of some of the Forest Service Minerals and Geology related features and information found on many of the National Forests across the United States.

Most of this information was collected from Forest Service web pages from 2001 to the present. Changes in Forest Service web pages over the years have resulted in some of this material no longer being available on the web, or temporarily made unavailable. Regardless, the information listed here is provided as a starting point for persons interested in obtaining more minerals and geology related information pertaining to National Forests they are interested in.

The National Forest Service website will link you to the webpage listings and links for each National Forest, cross-referenced by Forest name and State in which it is located. Take time to visit the webpages of the Forests you are interested in to find a variety of information regarding the National Forests.

The minerals and geology information on National Forests includes:

  • geology and geologic interpretations, rockhounding and mineral collecting sites,
  • interesting geologic features and locations,
  • mining history related interpretations,
  • Forest Service Minerals and Geology Program management and administration procedures on National Forests across the country.

Forest Service Webpages

Forest Service National Website

Forest Service National Website - Minerals and Geology

Note: NF stands for National Forest; NG stands for National Grassland.

R-1 Northern Region – Montana and Idaho
  • Beaverhead-Dearlodge NF-MT- Crystal Park Mineral Collection Area
  • Bitterroot NF-MT- Trapper Peak and Skalkahoe Falls
  • Clearwater NF-ID
  • Custer NF-MT- Grasshopper Glacier, Climbing Granite Peak
  • Dakota Praire Grasslands-ND- Geology, oil and gas production information
  • Flathead NF-MT
  • Gallatin NF-MT-New World Mining District Restoration Project, Earthquake Lake Visitor Center
  • Helena NF-MT
  • Idaho Panhandle NF-ID -Emerald Creek Garnet Fee Digging Area
  • Kootenai NF-MT- Kootenai Falls, Yaak Falls - geology and mining history, Rock Climbing Stone Hill
  • Lewis and Clark NF-MT- Rocky Mountain Front Minerals Withdrawal
  • Lolo NF-MT
  • Nezperce NF-ID -Magruder Road Corridor Brochure, Florence Basin


R-2 Rocky Mountain Region– Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska
  • Arapaho and Roosevelt NFs-CO-Arapaho and Roosevelt NFs
  • Bighorn NF-WY
  • Blackhills NF-SD-Visitor Center (rock climbing, and gold panning and rock collecting)
  • Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison NFs-CO-Bridal Veil Falls, Grand Mesa, Dry Mesa Dinosaur quarry
  • Medicine Bow-Routt NFs-WY
  • Nebraska NFs-NB -Toadstool Geologic Park, Prehistoric Prairie, Geology, Paleontology, Clash of the Titans, Brontothere, Buffalo Gap
  • Pike, San Isabel NFs Cimarron, Comanche NGs-CO- Picketwire Canyonlands Dinosaur Tracksite, Vogel Canyon geologically scenic area, Leadville Mining District area - Fremont Pass, Climbing Mount Elbert, 2nd highest in North America, Top of the Rockies scenic byway: Derry Dredge, Climax Moly Mine etc, Climbing Peaks, Gold Camp road and Tunnel, Pikes Peak, Mining on South Park Ranger District
  • Rio Grande NF-CO- Conejos Peak RD mining history, scenic geology, near Sand Dunes Nat.Monument
  • San Juan NF-CO-Chimney Rock - Archeological area and geologic features on the Pagosa RD
  • Shoshone NF-WY
  • White River NF-CO Aspen RD mountain climbing, Rifle RD rock climbing, Sopris RD historic mining



R-3 Southwestern Region– Arizona and New Mexico
  • Regional Office - geology of 11 National Forests in Arizona and New Mexico, Regional Geology, Rockhounding, Abandoned Mine Safety, Minerals Program, Geology Basics www.fs.fed.us/r3/resources/geology/index
  • Apache-Sitgreaves NF-AZ- mining history - large mining operatioins in Morenci area
  • Carson NF-NM
  • Cibola NF-NM -Black Kettle and McClellan Creek National Grasslands oil and gas in Anadarko Basin
  • Coconino NF-AZ-Volcanic Highlands -- San Francisco Peaks
  • Coronado NF-AZ-Douglas RD (Crystal Cave), rock climbing, Nogalas RD Cave of the Bells, Onyx Cave, Kentucky Camp mining history, Sierra Vista RD Kartchner Caverns State Park, Santa Catalina RD -- Sabino Canyon
  • Gila NF-NM-Geology of the Gila, Glenwood RD: Whitewater Canyon Catwalk - Mining History, Hot Springs
  • Kaibab NF-AZ-Ryan Smelter, Portable Rock Crusher photos, Water Pot Hole along Ranger Trail #41
  • Lincoln NF-NM-Guadalupe RD - entry of caves on the District require permits; Cottonwood cave
  • Prescott NF-AZ-Prospecting in the Lync Creek Mineral Withdrawal Area
  • Santa Fe NF-NM-Valles Caldera National Preserve
  • Tonto NF-AZ- Mining, Prospecting, Gold Panning, Metal Detecting



R-4 Intermountain Region– Utah, Idaho, Wyoming - Geology of the Middle Fork Salmon River
  • Ashley NF - UT - Sheep Creek Geological Area, Sheep Creek Cave, Flaming Gorge, Whiterock Cave tours, King's Peak
  • Boise NF - ID - Kirkham Hot Springs
  • Bridger-Teton NF - WY -Oil and Gas, Gros Ventre Geological Slide Area, Mountain Making, Breccia Cliffs, Parting of the Waters National Landmark, Granite Hot Springs, Stinking Springs, Periodic Springs, Moraines at Fremont Lake, Big Fall Creek
  • Caribou-Targhee NF-ID - Cherry Springs Nature Area, Big Springs, Mesa Falls, Cave Falls, Minnetonka Cave, Paris Ice Cage, Phosphate Mining on the Caribou NF
  • Dixie NF-UT - Strawberry Point, Hells Backbone, Mammoth Cave & Ice Cave,  Mammoth Springs,  Pine Valley Laccolith, Hole in the Wall (Timpe Arch, Second Left-Hand Canyon Arch
  • Fishlake NF-UT - Fishlake Basin Geologic History, Thousand Lake Mountain Geologic History, Fish Lake and Fish Lake Basin, Salina Canyon, Thousand Lake Mountain, Monroe Mountain, Pahvant Range and Canyon Mountains, Tushar Mountains, Scenic Exposed Paunsaugunt Fault, Big Rock Candy Mountain, Terminal Moraine on Pelican Canyon
  • Humbolt-Toiyabe NF - NV - Ward Mining Community and the Charcoal Ovens historic smelting operations, Ruby Mountain Wilderness and geology, Leavitt Falls, and Rockhounding information, Rock Climbing, Belmont Mining District, Fossil Cave Bear, The Table, Mt. Moriah Wilderness, Aurora-Bodie Volcanic Field, Alkali Valley and Mud Spring Canyon Spillway, Sawtooth Ridge, Lamoille Canyon, Angel Lake Scenic Byway, Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Monument, Mt. Rose Scenic Byway, Slide Mountain, Mt. Charleston Scenic Byway
  • Manti-La Sal NF - UT - Ferron Canyon Overlook, Electronic Site Overlook, Joe's Valley Overlook, Hightop, Sanpete Valley Overlook, Huntington Mammoth, Castle Valley Overlook, Mill Creek Canyon Overlook, Harts Draw-Canyonlands, Natural Arch, Arch Canyon Overlook, The Notch, Bears Ears, Hammond Canyon, Birdseye Marble, Huntington Canyon Mammoth
  • Payette NF-ID - Seven Devils Scenic Area
  • Salmon-Challis NF - ID - Beaverhead Impact Crater, Big Horn Crags, Lost River Ranger District (historic mining), Rock Collecting, Climbing
  • Sawtooth NF - ID - Burley RD rock climbing, Yankee Fork Gold Dredge, Custer Gold Mining Museum, Land of the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge, Custer Motorway auto tour; Dubois RD Opal mine, Old Nicholia mine, Charcoal Kilns; Island Park RD Big Springs; Ashton RD Cave Falls, Sheep Falls; Palisades RD Fall Creek Falls, Travertine Springs, Waterfall Canyon; Teton Basin RD Moose Falls, S Fk Darby Canyon Wind Cave, Oakley Stone, Castle Rocks, Bethine and Frank Church (Galena) Overlook, Redfish Lake
  • Uinta NF - UT - Cascade Springs, Iron Bog, American Fork Canyon Watershed Reclamation of historic mine wastes
  • Wasatch-Cache NF - UT - Ogden RD - Neffs Canyon Terminal Moraine, Hayden Peak Overlook, Slate Gorge Overlook, Bald Mountain Pass and Overlook, Wind Caves, Fucoidal Quartzite, Ricks Spring, Devils Slide



R-5 Pacific Southwest Region – California
  • Regional Office website:Geothermal decision news release; Mining History Sites; Active Tectonic deformation in the Eastern San Gabriel Mountains
  • Angeles NF-CA
  • Cleveland NF-CA -Cleveland NF Noble Canyon Trail - mining history
  • Eldorado NF-CA
  • Inyo NF-CA -Mono County Mining Company, Mono Basin geology (tufa/volcanoes), Mammoth Geology, Mammoth Mountain Carbon Dioxide discharge (USGS), Carbon Dioxide Hazards near Horseshoe Lake, Long Valley Caldera (USGS), White Mountains climbing and geology, Mt. Whitney Mountaineers Route, Devils Postpile National Monument (NPS, within Inyo NF in Reds Meadow area); Mining History: Bennettville Silver Mining Town, Homer Mining District, Lake Mining District, Prescott Mining District; Mammoth Consolidated Gold Mine; Lookout Mountain Obsidian Quarry; Mammoth Creek Cave
  • Klamath NF-CA - Hot Creek Geologic Interpretive Site, Whites Gulch Arrastra mining history; historic photos; Heritage Resource Program - includes mining history (Chinese, gold, Comstock)
  • Lassen NF-CA - Lassen Emigrant Trail, Subway Cave lava tube, Spattercone Trail volcanic rock
  • Los Padres NF-CA
  • Mendocino NF-CA
  • Modoc NF - Obsidian Collection; Mining History: High Grade Mining District; Medicine Lake Highlands Volcanic Area; Modoc Volcanic Scenic Byway Auto Tour; Medicine Lake Area Volcanic Interpretations
  • Plumas NF-CA - The Feather River Country - Gold Towns and Mining History; The Feather Falls Scenic Area; La Porte mining history
  • San Bernardino NF-CA - Gold Fever Trail Auto Tour; Rim of the World Scenic Byway mining history
  • Sequoia NF-CA - Sequoia NF Kern River Canyon Auto Tour mining history
  • Shasta-Trinity NF-CA - A Spelunker's Guide to Samwel Cave; Mining Information: Weaverville & Big Bar Ranger Stations, Shasta-Trinity NFs Helena, Shasta-Trinity NFs Jorstad Cabin
  • Sierra NF-CA - Sierra NF Hite Cove Trail mining history
  • Six Rivers NF-CA
  • Stanislaus NF-CA - Bower Cave, Calaveras RD - Rock Climbing, Golden Rock Inverted Siphon historic gold mining, Sonora-Mono historic gold road
  • Tahoe NF-CA - Hands and Pans - Casual Mining on the South Yuba River; Using Metal Detectors in the National Forest; Mining History: Tahoe NF Forest City Historic Walking Tour, Forty-nine Miles Along Highway 49, Kentucky Mine Museum, Michigan Bluff to Last Chance Trail, Mumford Bar Cabin, Sand Pond Trail, Yuba-Donner Loop



R-6 Pacific Northwest Region– Oregon and Washington
  • Columbia River Gorge National River-OR - Geology of the Columbia, Geology of the Columbia River Gorge, Columbia River Basalt, Lake Missoula and Cataclysmic Floods, Previous Paths of the Columbia River, Geologic Faults, Cascade Range, Common Geologic Terms, Waterfalls! (13 falls listed), Multnomah Falls (second highest year-around waterfall in the United States)
  • Hells Canyon National Rec Area-OR
  • Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument-OR - National Volcanic Monument Photo Gallery, Live Volcano Cam from Johnston Ridge Observatory, The Crater
  • Nature of the Northwest - OR-FS and OR State Geological agency: Nature of the Northwest, Geology; Rockhounding: Gold Panning (Rogue River NF), Opals, Gemstones, Oregon Sunstone
  • Oregon Dunes National Rec Area-OR-Oregon Dunes National Rec Area
  • Deschutes NF-OR – Geology: of Deschutes NF and Central Oregon, Basin and Range Province, High Lava Plains Province, Blue Mountains Province, Deschutes-Columbia Plateau Province, Western Cascades Province, High Cascades Province, Oregon Volcanoes, Holocene Eruptions in Central Oregon, Central Oregon Earthquakes; Newberry National Volcanic Monument and Crater; Benham Falls; Big Obsidian Flow; East lake, Lava Butte; Lava River Cave; Northwest Rift Zon; Paulina Lake; Paulina Peak; Lava Lands Visitor Center and Lava Butte; Lava River Cave and Forest; Lava Cast Forest Tree Mold; Lavacicle Cave; Geothermal Energy on the Deschutes NF; Fort Rock Basin Maar Field (over 30 hydrovolcanic landforms); Hole-in-the-Ground Volcano; Fort Rock Volcano; Table Rock Volcano; Moffitt Butte Volcano; Sand Rock Volcano; Mt. Bachelor Volcanic Chain; See Ochoco NF below for more. Rockhounding
  • Fremont NF-OR - (combined unit with Winema NF)
  • Gifford Pinchot NF-WA - Lava Tubes, Caves and Casts; Big Lava Bed; Major Waterfalls (18 waterfalls); Panorama Library -- 360 degree mountain and geology scenes; Climbing Information: Mt. Adams and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
  • Malheur NF-OR - Malheur NF Geology and Rock Types
  • Mt Baker-Snoqualmie NF-WA - Volcanoes -- Mt Baker and Glacier Peak (USGS and Volcano World links)
    Mt. Hood NF-OR - Mt Hood Information Center; Climbing Mt Hood
  • Ochoco NF-OR (webpage shared with Deschutes NF, above) Rockhounding Central Oregon Rockhounding Map, Rockhounding for: Agate, Jasper, Obsidian, Petrified Wood, Thunder Eggs; Rockhounding locations on Ochoco and Deschutes NF.
  • Okanogan NF-WA (combined unit with Wenatchee NF)
  • Olympic NF-WA
  • Rogue River NF-OR - Recreational Gold Panning or Dredging Applegate RD; Rogue-Umpqua Northwest Scenic Byway geology auto tour; Siskiyou Loop Discovery Tour geology and mining history auto tour; Butte Falls RD Climbing Mount McLoughlin (trail); Prospect RD: Red Buttes Wilderness (geology and some mining history), Sky Lakes Wilderness (geology), Applegate RD: Rockhounding Gold Panning. (combined unit with Siskiyou NF)
  • Siskiyou NF-OR - Nicore Mining Plan of Operations, Middle Illinois River Watershed Analysis -- Cultural Resources and Mining, Hanging Rock, Whetstone Butte, Mining (with gold panning photo). (combined unit with Rogue River NF)
  • Siuslaw NF-OR - Oregon Dunes NRA and geology, Dunes: Carter, Taylor; Tahkenitch; Umpqua and Eel
  • Umatilla NF-OR - Blue Mountain Scenic Byway includes mine history, Chinese Walls, and Granite (town)
  • Umpqua NF-OR - Huckleberry Patch Mineral Withdrawal, Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway geologic features
  • Wallowa-Whitman NF-OR - Baker RD: Recreational gold panning dredging allowed in several locations on the District, Elkhorn Scenic Byway historic mining, dredging short interpretations, Washington Gulch Mountain Biking historic mining sites; Hells Canyon Scenic Byway (Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge on the N.American continent); Lostine Canyon Auto Tour on the path of this glacier
  • Wenatchee NF-WA - Holden Mine site cleanup activities. (combined unit with Okanogan NF)
  • Willametter NF-OR - Recreation: Seven major volcanic peaks within the Forest, Phantom Bridge
  • Winema NF-OR - Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway; Climbing Mount McLoughlin; The Virtual Winema NF. (combined unit with Fremont NF)



R-8 Southern Region – Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, N&S Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma
  • Alabama NFs-AL
  • Caribbean NF-PR - Geology, Topography, Soil Catagories, Landslides; La Coca Falls, La Mina Waterfall
  • Chattahoochee-Oconee NFs-GA - Gold Panning and Rock Hounding; Russell/Brasstown National Byway
  • Cherokee NF-TN - Ocoee River Geology (USGS Publication); Cherokee NF Whitewater Center; Environmental Education geology tour
  • Daniel Boone NF-KY - Zilpo National Scenic Byway Iron Furnace; Red River Gorge Geological Area, Stanton RD; Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition; Natural Arch Scenic Area, Somerset RD; Rockclimbing in the Red River Gorge; Cave Management; Caving Geology and Minerals on the Daniel Boone National Forest
  • Florida NFs-FL - Appalachicola NF Leon Sinks sinkhole geological area
  • Francis Marion and Sumter NFs-SC – Waterfalls; Carolina Bays (the geological origin of the wetlands)
  • George Washington and Jefferson NFs-VA - Resources - Includes Geology and Minerals Management; Tom Collins Paper on Minerals meeting human needs; Glimpses of the Ice Age from Interstate 81 (USGS and USFS Pamphlet); The Mountains that Moved - Ancient Giant Landslides; Elizabeth Furnace (mining history), and Sinkholes at Trout Pond (geology); Fossils and Landslides links; The Mounain that Moved (USGS and USFS); Fossils - Sea Shells in the Mountains, Fossils in the Forest
  • Kisatchie NF - LA
  • Land Between the Lakes - KY - Great Western Iron Furnace, Center Iron Furnace
  • Mississippi NFs - MS
  • North Carolina NFs - NC - Goldpanning and Rockhounding Opportunities (Uwharrie NF); Rock Climbing; Waterfalls -- North Carolina NF Waterfall Virtual Tour; Whitewater Falls, highest east of the Rockies; Silver Run Falls; Iron Ore Industry;
  • Ouachita NF - AR/OK - Minerals and Geology: Quartz Crystals; Rich Mountain; Little Missouri River Falls; Novaculite Ridge; Minerals and Geology (multiple pages covering minerals program process, and AR NFs geology); FS Minerals and Geology Inventory; Minerals Activities Procedures; Rockhounding; Quartz Crystal Contract Program on the Ouachita NF in Arkansas; Rockhounding, Mineral Collecting, and Our National Forests by John Nichols; Reclamation of Mined Lands (Ouachita NF examples); Minerals and Geology Features; Prehistoric Novaculite Quarries in the Ouachita Mountains by Meeks Etchieson; wavellite
  • Ozark-St Francis NFs - AR - Blanchard Springs Caverns; Mt. Magazine Scenic Byway (highest point in Arkansas; rock bluffs); Special Interest Areas - numerous rock outcrops; Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area - unusual rock formations; Alum Cove Natural Bridge Recreation Area; White Rock Mountain;
  • Texas NFs-TX - oil and gas wells on the Angelina NF



R-9 Eastern Region– Northeastern States
  • Allegheny NF-PN
  • Chequamegon-Nicolet NF-WI
  • Chippewa NF-MN
  • Green Mtn and Finger Lakes NFs-NY / VT
  • Hiawatha NF-MI
  • Hoosier NF-IN - Collecting: Rocks / Precious Minerals
  • Huron-Manistee NFs-MI - Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness sand dunes
  • Mark Twain NF-MO - Fredericktown RD the 'shut-ins' at Silver Mine; Silver Mines Recreation Area; Marble Creek Rec Area: Taum Sauk Mtn Missouri's highest; deposits of colorful dolomite; Potosi RD caves and karst; Salem RD historic mining; Willow Springs RD (9 major springs)
  • Monongahela NF-WV - Rock Shelter Auto Tour; Falls of Hills Creek geology; Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, with rock climbing wall; Smoke Hole Canyon geology; Dolly Sods interesting history with geology influence
  • Ottawa NF-MI - Waterfalls (14 listed)
  • Shawnee NF-IL - Garden of the Gods Wilderness unusual rock formations
  • Superior NF-MN - overview of the Forest includes geology
  • Wayne NF-OH - Tinker's Cave; Vesuvius Furnace - historic Iron Ore furnace; History - includes mining related history: oil, coal and iron smelting; Abandoned Mine Inventory Project from underground coal mining era
  • White Mountain NF-NH



R-10 Alaska Region – Alaska Minerals and Geology in the Alaska Region
  • Chugach NF-AK - Byron Glacier Trail, Moraine Nature Trail, Leconte glacier
  • Tongass NF-AK - Glaciers Caves and Icefields; Karst and Cave Management and Research; Yakutat RD Hubbard Glacier, Glaciers, Mountains; Wrangell's Gold Rushes; Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center




Some Other Agency and Interest Minerals and Geology Webpages

U. S. Geological Survey (www.usgs.gov )

USGS A Tapestry of Time US Geology Map: Digital US geology map with formation descriptions
USGS Minerals Statistics and Information
USGS Mount Saint Helens
USGS Cascade Volcano Observatory (CVO)
USGS CVO Photo Archives
USGS Volcano Hazards Program: Photo Glossary of Volcano Terms


Bureau of Land Management - BLM (www.blm.gov)

BLM Oregon-Washington What We Do
BLM OR-WA Rock Collecting Guide
BLM OR-WA Mining Claims
BLM OR-WA Mining Claims - Mining Claim Fees
BLM OR-WA Master Title Plats
BLM NMSO Tent Rocks National Monument: Geologic Processes
BLM New Mexico State Office – Paleontology: Paleontology pages
BLM New Mexico State Office - O&G: Oil and Gas Information
BLM National Training Center: Minerals and other training
BLM Arizona State Office: Minerals and Mining
BLM Arizona State Office: Rockhounding
BLM - Interagency Minerals Coordinating Group: Pamphlet: Mining Claims and Sites on Federal Lands



Publications on the Net (www.usgs.gov and www.fs.fed.us)

US Bureau of Mines (USBM now part of USGS) Special Publication 14-95: Gemstones
USBM IC 8517: How to Mine and Prospect for Placer Gold
USBM - This is Mining
USDA Forest Service (FS) - Anatomy of a Mine From Prospect to Production
US Geological Survey (USGS) – Dictionary of Mining, Mineral and Related Terms



Miscellaneous Minerals and Geology Sites

American Federation of Mineralogical Societies (AFMS)
American Geological Institute (AGI)
Geology - about.com: Complete Guide To Earth Sciences
Geology - about.com - Geologic Maps of States: Geologic Maps of all the States
Geology - about.com - Rock Collecting Info: Rock Collecting Info and links
Iowa State University: Geology 100 - physical geology course
Iowa State University: Glossary of Geologic Terms - illustrated and continuously updated
Idaho Geological Survey: Abandoned Mines
GeologyLink - Virtual Classroom
University of Idaho: Field Trip - Emerald Creek Mine on the Idaho Panhandle NF
Peakware World Mountain Encyclopedia: Explore mountains of the world
Australian Museum Online: Concretions, Thunder Eggs and Geodes
Geosearch: GeoSearch Geology, Lapidary, Rockhound, Fossil, Jewelry Pages
The Pictorial Periodic Table
Ore Rock On: OREegon ROCKhounds ONline (hence, Ore Rock On...)
Mountain Lily Gems - Gems from actual mines
Rockhounding Arkansas: www.rockhoundingar.com
Mount Ida Chamber of Commerce: World Class Quartz Crystal www.mtidachamber.com