Rock Hounding in Taos County, New Mexico

Taos County, New Mexico has 2,303 mining claims on public land listed in The Diggings™. Of these claims, 7.64% are active while 92.36% are now closed.

For more information try the following:

  • Look in the most recent edition of Rock Hounding New Mexico, available in the Taos Rockers shop or on Amazon. 
  • Review the Rockhound Guide published by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.
  • Contact a local rockhounding group - maybe you can join a group field trip to sites that are not usually available to the public.

Here are two Taos county mining claims that are actively accepting visitors:  

Hondo Canyon: Staurolite Crosses and Garnets

Location Type: Public Access

Details: You will need a 4WD SUV to get up this trail that comes off of highway 68. If you make it the two miles up the road you may need a rock hammer and some luck to split open the mica schist rock with and find staurolite crosses. Tiny bumps on the staurolite crystals are plum-colored garnets. With even more luck, you can find staurolite crystals in the sediments of the arroyo (dry creek bed). Not all staurolite crystals form crosses.

Directions: From intersection of highway 68 and 585 in Taos, go south on 68 from Taos for 10.3 miles and turn left onto an unmarked road in the middle of the horseshoe bend. The unmarked road will be at the lowest point in the bend. As you travel up the unmarked road, eventually there will be a big boulder blocking the road and some 4WD SUVs can make it around the 2 miles to get to the area. If you do not have a 4WD vehicle, park at the boulder and hike up another 2 miles to the outcrop of micaceous schist. 

GPS Coordinates: 36°18'5.97"N, 105°44'6.31"W



Harding Mine Pegmatite 

Location Type: Public Access

Details: This is a Granite Pegmatite and consists mainly of quartz and various feldspar-group and mica-group minerals (well known for gem lepidolite). Mineralogists have identified more than 60 minerals at the Harding Pegmatite and has yielded substantial amounts of commercial beryl, lepidolite, spodumene, and tantalum-niobium minerals over a period of half a century. 

Anyone with an interest in visiting the property should contact the Chairman, Department of Geology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131. A splendid collection of representative Harding minerals, donated by Dr. Montgomery, can be viewed in the University's Geology Museum.

Directions: The mining claim is owned and managed by the University of New Mexico (UNM), the Harding Mine is hidden away in the piñon-juniper woodlands of northern New Mexico’s Picuris Mountains, southeast of the Rio Grande Canyon at an altitude of 7400 ft, readily accessible on State Highway 75 about 6 miles east of the town of Dixon. The mine is 54 road miles north of Santa Fe and 33 miles south of Taos.