How To Find Arrowheads In The Woods: What You Need To Know

The 3 things to look for when heading out into the woods to look for arrowheads.

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how to find arrowheads in the woods is a common question for arrowhead hunters






Since I started hunting for Indian arrowheads a few years ago, I’ve had a lot of people ask where the best places to find arrowheads are. Many of friends asking this question enjoy spending a lot of their time outside in the woods, fishing or hunting. So naturally, these friends of mine ask how to find arrowheads in the woods, since they’re going to be out there anyway.

So I thought I would create a shortlist of tips for them to help answer their question…and share with you, fellow arrowhead hunters.

If you need help identifying Indian arrowheads, read my article, American Indian Arrowhead Identification: A Resource Guide.

How To Find Arrowheads In The Woods

The answer isn’t necessarily all that easy.  You have to remember that the landscape 500, 1000 or even 5000 years ago was so much different than it is now.  A pond or a lake now very well could have been a dry meadow or seasonal creek.  And areas that are now dry, could have easily been shallow ponds or marshes.

So as you walk out into the woods to look for arrowheads, keep these following tips and suggestions in mind:

Look For Evidence of Indian Camps

Whether you’re walking in the deepest part of the woods or simply following a well used trail, keep your eyes open for evidence of Indian camps. How do you find Indian Camps? Think about areas that you would be useful to you if you were to set up a camp. Areas that provide natural shelter, like bluff overhangs, would be a great indication of a possible Indian camp.

Many Indian camps will be located near a water source, such as a creek, river or spring. Just like modern civilizations, ancient peoples relied heavily on water. They would have almost always camped very close to a source of water.  Their survival depended on it.

Indian camps would have been close to water, but they wouldn’t have necessarily been right on the water.  Look for high areas that are away from the water a bit, but more importantly, are up out of the floodplain, such as a bluff or a knoll.

Arrowheads In Creeks, Rivers and Streams

When thinking about how to find arrowheads in the woods, one of the best tips I can give you is to find a creek or river and start your search there.

Remember that not all streams, creeks and rivers were flowing like that are now 1000 plus years ago.  Always keep that in mind. But if you’re certain you’ve found a creek or river that was present in ancient times, it’ll be a good place to start to look for arrowheads.

look for arrowheads in creeks and rivers in the woods

Time your arrowhead hunting trip during the time of year where water levels are low. Creeks and rivers with low water levels will expose much more of the gravel bars and creek beds, which is where the arrowheads can be found.  Also look in the eroded sides of the creeks that would normally be covered with water.

Arrowheads are made out of stone, so they tend to move along the bottom of the river just like other rocks and gravel.  Spend time looking for arrowheads in the gravel bars and other rocky areas. Look along the water line as well as just inside the water line.  Moving water will wash away the silt and other debris making it easier to see the arrowheads.

Arrowheads tend to get caught between other rocks of the same size or larger as they are pushed along by the water, pinning it in place.




Where Two or More Rivers or Creeks Join

If you’re learning how to find arrowheads in the woods, one of the best tips you could ever receive is to look where 2 or more creeks, rivers or streams come together.  These are my absolute favorite locations to look for arrowheads. Not only are these areas a hot spot for Indian camps, but they were popular locations for other ancient hunting activities. This is where you can find many other artifacts in addition to arrowheads.

If you’re able to locate where two or more larger sized rivers come together, then you’ll probably find evidence of Indian camps nearby.  As I mentioned earlier, Indian camps are an excellent place to look for arrowheads and other stone and pottery artifacts.

If you find where two or more smaller creeks or streams come together, then you may find evidence of Indian camps, but you’ll also find evidence of high animal traffic.  These kinds of areas are excellent places for find deer and other wild game to visit. It would have been the same hundreds of years ago.

Many arrowheads might have been lost in these areas while hunting this same wild game. Spend time looking for these lost arrowheads in the eroded sides of the creek as well as on the bottom creek bed and gravel bars.

Tips On How to Find Arrowheads In The Woods

Arrowheads in Creeks and Streams

Gravel bars can be great places to hunt for arrowheads. Here are a few things to keep in mind when hunting arrowheads on gravel bars in streams, creeks and rivers and what your levels of success might be. These are not concrete rules, but rules of thumb.

Sandy Bottom:  very rare to find arrowheads. Artifacts you may find are pottery shards and possibly flint.

Pea Gravel: Higher rate for finding small arrowheads/ birdpoints.

Small gravel: Higher chance of finding small arrowheads/ birdpoints and other arrowheads that are about the same size as the gravel.

Medium to Large Gravel:  Any size arrowhead can be found in this kind of creek or river bottom.

A tool that I’ve found very helpful while searching creeks and streams is the Sand Dipper. This extendable tool allows you to pick up items out of the creek and it sifts the sand and dirt for you.  Learn more about the Sand Dipper in my article, 5 Reason To Use A Sand Dipper.  You will not regret owning one!

Locating Ancient Creeks

Use Google maps to your advantage.  Google maps can play a very helpful role when researching good areas for looking for arrowheads in the woods.

Use the topographical option on Google maps to investigate where rivers and streams may have traveled through in the past.  You may find that two streams converged in a much different location than where they currently join.

Do your research before you head out and you will find arrowheads and other artifacts!

Now that you know how to find arrowheads in the woods, get out there and start looking! Leave a comment below and share any other tips you might have.

Visit our Facebook page and post your pictures of your finds!

If you’ve taken the information in this post and are still unable to find the elusive arrowhead. I’ve located a few places online that sell authentic Indian arrowheads.  You can find these items on my post, Where To Find Indian Arrowheads For Sale.

For more general information about arrowheads, and an in depth look at their history, read my Informational Guide to Native American Indian Arrowheads.

And if you do plan on spending any time out in the woods this year with your family, take a look at my article, The Best 6 Person Tent For 2017: Camp Comfortably This Summer where I break down the best 6 person tents based on your needs.

Happy Rock Seeking!