Remember! It is your responsibility to know the rockhounding laws and regulations for each site you visit. It is also your responsibility to verify and gain permission to visit each collection site that is mentioned on this website. Always respect private property!
Where To Find Geodes, Fossils and More In Indiana
Indiana is an excellent state for rockhounding. Though Indiana is most known for its abundance of coal and limestone deposits, there are many other geological treasures to be found in this state as well. Geodes are one of these.
There are many geodes in Indiana waiting to be found. You just need to know where to look for them. And that’s exactly what this guide is for.
Either way, keep reading to learn where to find geodes in Indiana!
1. Hoosier National Forest
Hoosier National Forest is one of the state’s best geode locations, and it’s also home to large amounts of quartz and other crystals. Barite, Dolomite, and White Calcite are the most common crystals found in the area.
The park is mostly free to the public, but the developed campgrounds and certain activities will require you to pay a fee or hold a permit. Luckily, there are undeveloped areas where you can camp and dig at your own leisure.
The park is a great spot if you want to spend an entire weekend digging for cheap or even free. While you’re at it, you can go fishing or visit one of the park’s attractions. You don’t have to dig the entire time you’re there.
There’s only one catch to digging at the park. You cannot disturb the earth. That means that you cannot dig up giant mountains of dirt and wipe out vegetation to find geodes. Small tools and surface-level collecting are fine, and you’re welcome to take any of your finds home with you.
This spot is going to appeal to more experienced collectors willing to look around a bit and hobbyists who don’t care if they find anything. Since you can’t disturb the earth, it might be somewhat difficult to find good specimens. Beginners who want to jumpstart their collections should look at one of the other locations on this list.
If you want to visit Hoosier, you’ll want to head south of Bloomington. Since it’s a highly regulated national forest, you won’t have any problems finding it.
2. Falls of the Ohio State Park
This Ohio State Park isn’t known to be a great rock-hounding location by itself, but the waterfalls within it are great spots to find Devonian-era fossils.
The fossils are from marine and insectoid life that hasn’t walked the earth in millions of years, and they’ll look great in anyone’s collection.
Since these fossils are in a state park, you won’t be able to tear up the land to find them. Some light surface-collecting and minor digging are okay but don’t try to dig a massive hole in the ground.
You can expect to find a lot of fossil fragments laying in the open, and whole fossils can be found pretty frequently among the rocks near the waterfalls.
The park is free to enter, and there are some services that you can ask for if you’re willing to spend a little money.
3. The Bedford Limestone Deposit
You’re reading this to find geodes. So let’s talk about somewhere special.
In Lawrence County, there’s a small town called Bedford, and it has an open-air limestone deposit that is filled with geodes.
Since the deposit is exposed, you can usually see geodes as you’re walking around on it. From there, you can dig them up and take them home.
It’s a popular place for rockhounds and locals. You might have to dig a little bit in certain areas, and you’re not going to have the place to yourself.
Luckily, it has remained free to the public, and you don’t need a permit to go hunting in it. It’s also close to town. So, you can swing back into town and grab a bite to eat or something else without wasting a ton of gas.
This is a great spot for beginners to learn how to identify geodes, an important step in determining what a geode is worth.
There isn’t a lot of variety, but it has tons of quartz geodes hidden within the limestone.
4. Brown County Roadways and Creek Beds
Do you want to do some light rockhounding without worrying about private property or permits? Well, you’re in luck. Large portions of southern Indiana have roadways that have geodes sitting right on the surface. You just have to pick them up.
Brown County is known for having a lot of roadside geodes, and it’s one of the areas you should start at. The neighboring counties are also good spots to hunt.
You want to look for roads that were blasted out of cliffsides. You can tell by the large cliff walls on either side of the road. Parts of those natural walls crumble apart over time, and geodes literally just fall out of them.
Indiana used to be covered by shallow seawater millions of years ago, and the entirety of the state is basically a dried-up sea bed.
From my own personal experience, this is also a good way to find small chips of gemstones and other cool rocks. As the walls erode, those precious chips end up all over the side of the road, and they can be just as fun to find as geodes are. They may not be worth anything, but they do look nice in a collection.
When you do this, keep in mind that most of these natural walls are located on highways. Most of the walls have several yards of space between them and the road, but you still need to be careful. Make sure your car is out of the way of traffic, and stay attentive to ensure that you don’t have to get scraped off a cliff wall because of a crazy driver.
That may sound a little dangerous, but you should be fine if you’re cautious, and there aren’t a lot of other ways for budding rock collectors to find decent specimens without tools.
5. Private Quarries
There are a number of quarries throughout the southeastern corner of Indiana, and all of them are known for having large concentrations of geodes. Instead of pointing you to a specific quarry, I’m going to tell you about a directory that will allow you to try your luck at all of them.
The Directory of Industrial Mineral Producers is a free resource that lists all the quarries in Indiana. Some of them are closed and free for public use, but most of them are either in operation or still owned. If you want to visit any of the owned quarries, you’ll have to contact the owner and ask for permission.
Luckily, Indiana is known for its rockhounding enthusiasts, and a lot of the private owners are more than happy to let respectful and responsible collectors hunt in their quarries. That’s especially true if the quarry is no longer in use.
Give it a try and see who will let you use their property. It’s one of the best ways to find large geodes filled with different types of quartz.
When you do find a quarry or gain permission to enter one, try to look in the sections that have loose sediment. If water is nearby, try looking or digging into the banks. You won’t have to work too hard to find a geode that way, and that’s beneficial to you and the property owner.