2009 Crystal Hunting in Review: Red Feather Lakes

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Update:  September 2014.  

I was contacted (see comments for this posting) by a claim owner in this area informing me that he has a claim in this area.  He states that he has the area clearly marked and gated.  He stated that if you have interest in visiting his claim to contact him at spiritfamily25@yahoo.com, his name is Casey Lehman.

Whenever you visit a claim, I’ve been told that you should have a printed authorization ON YOU in case there are any questions why you are visiting, which Casey also states is required for his claim.  Thanks Casey for this reminder as this is important as rockhounds and claim owners to follow all the rules.

Rockhounds are obligated to prospect an area before digging looking for discovery notices and/or corner posts (I’ve been seeing center side posts being placed to help mark claims recently, which is helpful but I don’t think required!).  Many claims corner posts I have found contain information about the claim (name, contact information, GPS coordinates), so in these cases it is easy to know exactly where is not available to dig–thanks to the claim owners who do this as I can pop the coordinates into my GPS and know immediately where the boundaries are at! Remember, claims can feel very large when you are hiking and sometimes the corner posts can be hard to see.  I have found that many claim holders post notices in obvious places around their claims to ensure it is seen if someone is looking, so make sure and look at the trees as well, postings on trees can be seen usually from all angles especially around dug areas!

In talking with several folks in the Rockhounding clubs where I’m a member, it sounds like there are more and more areas within popular spots under claim.  For example, the popular Mt Antero and Lake George localities I guess are heavily claimed….so much so that if it is easy to get to then it probably is off limits.  I’ve been told by very “in the know” people areas that are open to dig; just to find corner posts in those areas when I look. Thus, even if you’ve been to a place in the past or read about it in a book, it is still important to ensure the area is not currently claimed.  Note that claim owners must post corner posts and also a discovery notice on their active mining claims, so responsibility is shared between rockhounds and claim owners.

I highly encourage any avid rockhounder to join a local club as this is the easiest way to hit the “hot spots” on club fieldtrips to private claims (many times the claim owner is there and can tell you the history of the area, and more importantly, help you be successful)!



Went twice near Red Feather Lakes and found crystals.  I started digging into a Quartz vein and pulled out a nice set of crystals within the quartz.  The kids just went around and picked up float and everyone had a great time.

The second time I went up my dad and I went alone.  There was obviously a serious snow storm coming and the ground was frozen about 4-5 inches deep; but it wasn’t too cold to mine.  I ended up digging along where I thought the quartz vein I had luck with last time which was mostly big sand and small rocks.  My dad ended up sifting through this with my screen and we were finding several crystals per shovel full of dirt.  So we did this all day.  I found the quartz vein about 24-30 inches below the ground but we didn’t go that deep into it as we were having fun working the looser dirt.  Most of the crystals here are clear but covered with yellowish or gray staining, some of which is Hemotite.  Once it started snowing really hard we decided to leave as I had to head home that day…I started my new job that week.

We found several double terminated crystals on this second day.

We found many larger crystals and lots of smaller ones too.

Most of these are stained and Oxalic and Myriatic Acids do not take these off.  Anyone know of a way to clean these kind of dirty crystals that appear the bad color to be caked on by heat?


  1. Was wondering if you managed to find Rainbow Lode Mine near Red Feather Lake. We have been two times trying to find this location but no one has been able to tell us anything. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks and happy hunting…

    1. Howdy. I’m not 100% sure if this is where they found the Amethyst, but this area was definitely mined. We’ve searched the area for claim posts and center post markers as required for claims and have not found any in the area. I’d advise to always search out for claim markings before digging; but you certainly can look around the area. Have fun! –dave

  2. I’ve been mining the Red Feather area for a few years. If there is a glossy finish, or if you can get light to reflect off of it, that’s as clean as it gets, but if not, the best I’ve found is using iron out. I will soak it for at least 18hrs, then use a toothbrush to it to clean them up. For some of the rocks that have more on it, I will soak them for days. I get the iron out at the local Ace hardware.

    Hope this is helpful. Good luck and happy hunting,

    1. Grant, thanks for the tips. I’ve heard that Iron Out is a good solution but have not tried it; I’ll likely pick this up and give it a try. I’ve used Oxalic Acid and an old crock pot to clean my crystals from the Devilshead area and that works well; I get the acid as “wood bleach” from my local Sherman Williams paint shop. Perhaps there is a cheaper alternative?

      My folks live in the Crystal Lakes sub-division north of Red Feather Lakes and we’ve found a couple of places around there with some white quartz crystals; but have not really tried mining yet. What kind of minerals are you finding in the area?

    1. I have found that the Oxalic Acid bath leaves white residue on the quartz crystals if I use a too concentrated batch. I’ve also heard that if you do the cleaning in a white bucket that it can cause the white residue as well (not sure if this is true). I have yet to find a way to remove this residue. Is this what you are referring to?

  3. Beautiful crystals.Wow! Do you ever take people out with you to the Red Feather area or can you point me to some area where I can legally poke around? I live in Loveland and have never been up there.

    1. Howdy Mark, I would check the rock hound books and BLM to be sure of claims and such. The place I went we searched for a while for the corner markers and center marking for the claim without finding anything. I’m still trying to investigate our forest and BLM land up there for a good spot; we’ve found some shapes before but I wouldn’t be able to find it again very easily.

  4. Hello folks I am the owner of this claim and it is marked and blocked by a locked gate. If you are caught on this claim without the express written consent from me Casey Lehman in either email or paper form you are a trespasser and a thief. Please contact me at spiritfamily25@yahoo.com if you would like to discuss getting said permission. Thank folks

  5. Hi, could you offer any more info regarding this area? Ive been researching with the voynick book and the web. Just curious if you had any tips.
    Amatuer rock knocker

    1. Amatuer Rock Knocker.
      I know the old “Rainbow Load” claim site has been claimed off and on over the years. Last I checked it is still claimed. There are also other claims in the area of Red Feather Lakes. I’d recommend going with a rock club, or researching through the BLM office (see another post on this blog for details on creating a prospecting map) and then start prospecting the area. The crystals are in veins that I’ve seen and you can prospect for white quartz.

  6. Hello all I have a crystal from this region that looks to have some blue dot inclusions, would any happen to know what mineral it is tyvm.

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