Devilshead Rockhounding – September 2011

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Did a bunch of prospecting this trip with my dad; we started by finding some nice large float pieces but could not find the source of these; which could have been a road.  We ate lunch and then ran upon this spot which had been excavated prior; but we saw a couple of signs of Amazonite so we decided to dig.  I was finding “okay” Amazonite crystals and my dad was working the larger pegmatite next to an existing hole.  Dad finally ran into a small side pocket off of the side and pulled out some of the nicer, large smokeys of the day!

I found relatively few crystals but several faint Amazonite parts and so was having a good time.  The Amazonites came from the hole above my head shown in the next picture.  A few days later I came back and found a bunch of smokys in the unearthed area above my head into the side of the hill.  The grey circle is where I finished the day and found the nice plate shown below.

Excavating Devilshead smokey crystals and Amazonite
Amazonites (uncleaned) from the first day at this location
Devilshead September 25, 2011
Devilshead smokeys

Here is the plate from the small seam; it was neat to see how the seam opened up and the signs in the rock as that happened. Thanks to my dad for uncovering much of this evidence! That was hard work!  The piece needs clean and trimmed; currently it is about 10 inches wide!

Find of the day, this plate with Amazonites and Smokies


  1. Hi Dave,

    I love collecting at Devils Head as well as it is so close to the Denver area. I haven’t really found any amazonite although I did find some fairly nice crystals surrounding a evacuated pocket that must have been covered in pocket mud that later washed off via rain or snow. Other than that, just some random shards that I couldn’t trace to the source.

    I’ve done fairly well with Smokies with some nice gemmy ones on matrix to about an inch, the larger ones I have found to 3 inches are what I call “corrupted” smokies as they are shot through with feldspar. I have found a rather large goethite peusdomorph after either siderite or fluorite as it measures about 3 inches long by 2 inches high. The hematite crystals that I find are pretty small. No topaz or fluorite has been found yet.

    I really haven’t found any large pockets just some of a few inches or so with one having a pretty nice DT smokey grading to citrine lying flat across the surface of about 1/2 inch long. I’ve just focused on on the slopes surrounding Topaz Point Picnic area on both sides of the road. I’m guessing that you can pretty much find Smokies a few miles either way from that point as I think I need to expand to other locations. One location I tried was that quartz quarry farther to the west on the road from Topaz Point Picnic area but it seems to have been mostly reclaimed with not much to collect aside from a few clear points.

    I do have a question about Rampart Range road itself, I know that it is seasonally closed but does it open in stages as I have seen at least two gates, one just when you enter the area where they have the first parking for the motorcycles and ATVs and another on the road spur that leads to the Devils Head Lookout Tower? I know right now it’s far too much snow out there to do any collecting soon but I don’t think I have to wait until Memorial Day right? The online road conditions update doesn’t seem to really update very well.

    Anyway I love seeing the collecting stories and photos you have for the various locations, especially Devils Head! I haven’t been to Joe Dorris’ amazonite claims yet through my club although I did go to the topaz claim and found a killer 70 carat bi-color complex terminated topaz with some glassy and lightly frosted faces with a flawless interior.

    Anyway I hope you continue posting your collecting stories as I have bookmarked your page for that reason!


    1. Thanks for your comments, James. I too have researched the white quartz quarry but I didn’t find anything; I thought it might be under claim based on the big sign on the tree at the base of the road up; so I didn’t do any collecting or digging around the area. I dig at Devilshead at least once per month during the open season; and I always think they open it too late and close it too early myself! My dad and I were there once when it was snowing so hard (and I was so covered) that when I turned away he thought I had left; and I was less than 5 feet away! LOL!

      I think I have found a topaz shard, which is relatively big, but very bad shape, right at the entrance to the Log Jumper trail next to the parking there. I have dug around the Topaz Point picnic area mainly as well; and have been starting to stray deeper into the woods and also further from that location last year; just trying to find more virgin territory as that are is very dug up. The amazonite I found was the last time I went up there; it definitely was not anywhere like the kinds you find near Crystal Peak; but it was definitely greenish, and it was south a ways from the picnic area. I found one plain fluorite cube in a small vug (it was solo, no smokies or anything else) and no other topaz yet…probably the strangest thing I’ve found is (I think) microcline after smokey quartz which is cool!

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