West Texas Rock Hounding

January 2020

While in west Texas for our mule deer hunt (here) we visited the small town of Marfa. That is the town famous for the mysterious Marfa Ghost Lights. We also stayed after dark to see them (here).

As we drove around Marfa we came across an awesome rock shop. If there is anything almost guaranteed to make us stop the truck it is those two words. ROCK SHOP.

Of course we stopped to check things out. Moonlight Gemstones was a great little shop with a large yard full of beautiful rocks. I purchased some rocks and of course Steve picked out some un-cracked geodes. Then we picked the owners brain about places to look. He was extremely helpful and pulled out a map and educated us on the local geology. He even went so far as to give us some pointers on where we might find some of the areas most sought after stones, Texas agates. In addition he had lots of amazing agates on hand that he found himself, both rough and polished. They were awesome!

That was when I learned that the area around Elephant Mountain held some nice deposits of these treasures. He showed us the outcroppings and lava flows which might still contain decent rocks if they weren’t already picked clean by other rock hounds.

A little about that. Yes, we were hunting Elephant Mountain WMA. But taking any rocks from there would be both extremely stupid and highly illegal. Since we LOVE hunting Texas Public land there was no way we would jeopardize our hunting privileges by touching a single stone on State land. But, picking up rocks from state and county road cuts, not interstates, is legal and a time honored tradition among rock enthusiasts. 

Once our deer hunt was over we set aside time to check out the roads and washes in the nearby area. In truth, we would have done that anyway. With our new knowledge about what to look for we were doubly determined to look around. I was still very sick from my allergy attack but resolved to suck it up and do some searching.

The road cuts just outside the area on Hwy 118 provided us with some awesome rocks. We even came across some other rock hounds while searching. Steve was beyond thrilled to find some actual geodes within minutes of our starting our search.

Steve loves geodes. He is incapable of passing them up in shops or at rock shows without getting at least one. That is one of the many things I love about him. However he had never, ever, found a really nice one “in the wild”. To simply pick up a geode from the side of the road was amazing.

We spent a couple of hours driving and searching. Not just Hwy 118 but some of the surrounding roads held some awesome rocks. We came home with a bucket full of beautiful stones. Agates, geodes, calcite, chert, jasper, chalcedony, picture rock and lots of others I don’t know. I will likely be trying to figure out what some of them are for months.

Botryoidal agate or chalcedony
pPicture rock
plume agate?
unidentified green stones
Yes, it’s really is that green.
jasper/chalcedony agate
I wonder what it looks like on the inside?
Just look at that metamorphic beauty!
West Texas treasure


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One Reply to “West Texas Rock Hounding”

  1. Annette

    We are going to Marfa next weekend but won’t have time to visit the rock shop. Any clues as to where to look on the roadsides? I’m in AWE of your finds!


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