Pickin’ Red Feather Lakes Quartz

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My dad, son and I had the opportunity to go on a rockhounding club field trip with the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society as guests of the Flatiron Mineral Club to a set of private claims near Red Feather Lakes in Northcentral Colorado.  Red Feather Lakes is known for some of the best Colorado Amethyst found and also clear quartz, and a few miles north high quality industrial grade diamonds!  Today we were digging for Red Feather Lakes quartz.

Here are a couple of past expeditions to the RFL area:

There were a couple of claims that we could visit so we had a choice of what we wanted to do this field trip!  Some of us stayed at the first claim the claim owner walked us to in hopes of bigger quartz crystals and clusters (but much more effort) while others went to a smaller claim that had abundant smaller clear quartz crystals that were much easier to find.  Hunter and I chose the first claim with more digging effort and a longer walk while my dad chose to check out the other smaller claim, eventually coming back and getting the best of both worlds.

Hunter is not much of a digger and has a keen eye for float, so he set off right away and started scouting the claim.  Meanwhile, I love to dig so that I did.  I found a couple of crystals within the top foot of soil and found some quartz veins that didn’t produce anything noteworthy.  Hunter found a very nice float cluster right away bringing up everyone’s confidence that there is good stuff in the area.  Meanwhile, the trip leader, Charlotte, was no more than two feet next to me and started hitting nice crystals as she opened up a seam.

Hunter's quartz cluster.
Hunter’s quartz cluster.

Just after Hunter gave us all a jaw-dropping moment, I hit a nice phantom with white quartz with a secondary period of crystallization of clear quartz.  So the father and son duo were not skunked and finding crystals right away!  Cool!

Nice phantom white quartz under the secondary growth of clear quartz
Nice phantom white quartz under the secondary growth of clear quartz

Soon there after Charlotte started pulling out really nice crystals from her seam she was excavating.  I can’t image getting bored of pulling crystals out of a pocket, but Charlotte wanted to ensure that everyone had a chance to pull out some nice crystals showing her kindness and generosity as the trip leader.  So many of us took turns at pulling out crystals from her pocket! 🙂  I found a really nice double terminated cluster, but I had to give that to Charlotte as a memento from the pocket she discovered!  I pulled out some great points and a couple small clusters!

Uncleaned quartz crystal from Red Feather Lakes
None of the quartz has been cleaned yet; I have a handful that are in the acid bath queue.
Interesting crystal form
Interesting crystal form
Large quartz, I cannot find the two crystals that were once next to this.
Large quartz, I cannot find the two crystals that were once next to this as seen by the matrix bottom.  This was the last crystal I pulled from the seam as it was opening up into the main part of the pocket (of course we didn’t’ know that yet!)

Meanwhile my dad returned from the other claim with many nice small clear crystals.  It became his turn and he was able to pull crystals out as the pocket bottomed out.  He was able to keep several amazing clusters from the pocket that kept giving!

Red Feather Lakes quartz cluster
Wonderful cluster from near the end of the pocket. My dad extracted this and another similarly amazing cluster

Dad has some nice crystals and when he gets some photos I will upload them here.  Meanwhile, I took some shots before I left; he has a couple of nice pieces of matrix that hopefully he has the crystals to repair to make a couple more stellar clusters!

Great quartz crystals from Red Feather Lakes Colorado
Both amazing clusters, quickly washed with the garden hose.
Gotta love the fall colors while enjoying the forest and rockhounding in Colorado!
Gotta love the fall colors while enjoying the forest and rockhounding in Colorado!

All in all it was an incredibly fun day meeting many great folks from the Flatirons Mineral Club!  I hope to be able to dig with these folks again in the future!  Thanks to the owner of the claims for making this a fantastic rockhounding adventure in Colorado!

Red Feather Lakes Quartz
My turn at Charlotte’s Pocket pickin’ Red Feather Lakes quartz crystals.



  1. Hello, Thank you for sharing your rockhounding adventures with the public. I’m from Reno NV. I prospected in the Sierra’s for a number of years. I haven’t been able to find any good public locations to dig since moving to laramie WY four years ago. I have been camping at Red Feather Lakes a few times but did not bother to prospect. I have read about the Rainbow Load Claim and know it is off limits for collecting. Could you offer information on some areas at Red Feather Lakes that you know of so I can resume my love of Mother Earth’s Treasures? We already have two dates for camping there this year 2016. Much Appreciated.

    1. Hi Vickie. RFL is a great place to camp; we did that a lot when I was younger; my folks live in the area now. I have only one spot that I’ve found up there thus far that looks slightly promising; otherwise I’ve visited claims and just done some general prospecting with not much luck. I’ve searched over my folks neighborhood and found one spot, but it is on private property unfortunately. The person with the Rainbow Lode asked me to put his number on the blog, so you could reach out to him to see if he allows visitors; that is definitely a hot spot! Otherwise, I recommend just hiking around looking for signs in the forest; I have a feeling there are a lot of opportunities left once you get off the beaten path! Check the topo map for old prospects; there are many south of RFL between there and Hwy 14. Have fun time camping (it is great fishing too), and happy prospecting! –dave

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