Rockhounding in Asheville
A Map and Descriptions on rock and mineral collecting locations near Asheville, NC
HONORS 492 Project
This website was formulated as part of a semester project for my honors senior colloquium class at the Unviersity of North Carolina at Asheville. The purpose of this project is to identify rock and mineral collection sites in Western North Carolina accessible to the public. Collection sites will be chosen with the aid of Richard Jacquot's book Rock, Gem, and Mineral Collecting Sites in Western North Carolina. I will visit at least three collection sites to conduct personal inspection and compose descriptions of the area. Rocks and minerals collected at these sites will be geologically analyzed and identified. Information about rocks and minerals found in each site will be considered. Collaboration with the North Carolina Geological Survey and the 42nd Forum on Industrial Minerals will aid in geological research and maps needed for this project. Historically, Western North Carolina is known for its fine gems and minerals and mining practices. Currently, limited resources are provided to aid in the pursuit of geological collecting in Western North Carolina. The final product of this project will consist of a map created with Google Earth outlining collection sites near Asheville. All information and data collected will be posted on this website, making this information more accessible to the public.
Tools Helpful to Bring Along While Rock Collecting
The following sites were actually visited and inverstigated as part of this project and are described in futher detail below:
Rockhounding Map: Shows locations of visited sites (and others in Western North Carolina). Locations are marked based on GPS locations. Directions from UNC Asheville or any other location to these sites can be determined using Google Earth by using the directions finder in the top lefthand corner. A program called iTag was used to attach pictures of the sites I visited to their GPS location. Click on the blue link below or the image of the map. Save the file to your computer and view in Google Earth. If you do not have Google Earth, it can be downloaded for free at: http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html
Directions to Little Pine Mine found using Google Earth
Nantahala Talc & Limestone
Active quarry processing materials
Picnic at the mine before collecting at the Nantahal Talc & Limestone Mine (I am sitting in front with the red shirt)
Ray Mica Mine
Little Pine Garnet Mine
Walker Creek Kyanite
History: The above photo is of sapphires and other minerals found at the Grimshaw Mine. I had trouble locating this site and feel like the land it is located on has been sold from its previous owner (Forest Service) to developers. Unfortunately, I was not able to find or collect at this site.
Minerals: Ruby, Sapphire, Corundum
Sheepcliff Aquamarine Mine
Black Mountain Kyanite and Sapphire
(I haven't been here, but this is for Dr. Katie Peters so she can collect here by here house before she has to leave. This part of my website is quoted from the Book Rock, Gem, and Mineral Collecting Sites in Western North Carolina by Richard James Jacquot Jr. This book was my main source in my travels and this project.)
Site: "Walk East down the hill into the woods past the houses on McCoy Cove Road. Behind the houses about 75 yards is a small creek. Follow the creek bed south and look for masses of kyanite. The kyanite is a pale blue color and some contains nice blue sapphires up to 1/4 inches in size. I have seen some sapphires from here that were 1" across but these are rare. Look closely at the rocks in the creek, some of the kyanite is black from weathering but it will clean up. You can find this material approximately 1000 yards south along the creek from where you park. The residents along the road here have always granted me permission to collect, you may ask at one of the houses along the road to double check. You will need to break the larger boulders down into manageable size pieces to remove them. There is no fee to collect here. This is a safe place to collect and minerals can be collected in any season, weather permitting."
Directions: "From Asheville, North Carolina, take I-40 to exit 64, turn left onto NC highway 9 North, follow this into town, turn right onto US highway 70 East, follow to Flat Creek Road (SR 2515) turn left and immediately right onto E State Street-US 70, drive 0.5 miles to McCoy Cove Road, turn left, drive 0.8 miles o Charmeldee-Sky Hi Acres residential neighborhood, park out of the roadway near the entrance to Charmeldee."
Minerals: Small to large size boulders of kyanite with sapphire
Another link for Map:
Updated Last on April 30, 2007