I live in the Reno/Sparks area and have started rockhounding. One aspect I am quickly realizing is that many sites are actively being mined. In order to avoid running afoul of local laws, I would like to get a map of active mining claims and potentially a map of expired claims. Expired claims would be helpful for finding interesting sites.

  • $\begingroup$ What are you looking for? Collector minerals? The next big ore deposit? Some gold nuggets? $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 5:11
  • $\begingroup$ Mostly just interesting rocks. So far I have some really interesting samples of Agate, Gypsum ore, copper ore, and Wonderstone. I am not trying to get rich (unless it happens which I won't complain). It feels great to get away from a computer by wandering around in the desert picking up rocks. $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2016 at 19:43

2 Answers 2


You may want to check this out ESRI open data http://opendata.arcgis.com/ if this is what you were looking for.

One another thing is that you might want to contact BLM's Nevada State Office.


They may have the data if they are on the Public lands. I am not sure about the private lands for that.

  • $\begingroup$ Ok seems like I must have hit twice to post two. $\endgroup$
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 0:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Fantastic. I this is a good starting point. Growing up in rural Nevada, my friend and I know a lot about safety and equipment, however none of us know much about rocks and mining law other than what you pick up while traveling. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Commented May 3, 2016 at 18:12

Obviously, an experienced rockhound would not be asking such a question; so my first points will be about safety.

  • You definitely should not be in remote areas or around mines alone.
  • You really want the buddy system when rock collecting.
  • You also need proper safety gear.
    • If you are breaking rocks: then full sleeves, long pants and safety glasses (or goggles) are needed.
    • You require soft iron hammers, not a hard steel hammer like you would use for nails.

You should find a local rock and mineral club in your area; in that area, such a group would organize field trips. Often, clubs will allow members of other clubs to join the trip. The clubs would know where to collect specimens, and be able to show you such specimens, which would show you what you are looking for. Such trips would be organized in such a way that you could find out what sort of equipment that you require.

Active mines will almost certainly turn you away. The mines that I've collected and that have had field trips do a massive clean-up before having a public collecting day, and only do so to try to create good will in the community. The insurance and liability problems are a nightmare for a mine.

The USGS has posted various lists of mines with GPS coordinates. You can also get mineralogy maps and topological maps from them.

Offroading has a webpage which has a spreadsheet with Nevada mine locations. (Click on title of article to download.)

Nevada Off Road ATV and SUV trail maps - Offroading Home Overlays for Google Earth; the last two entries might be interesting.

USGS webpage with data for Nevada.

List of rock and mineral shows in Nevada

There are also books about rock collecting sites. For instance:

  • Rockhounding Nevada: A Guide to the State's Best Rockhounding Sites By William A. Kappele @Amazon
  • $\begingroup$ This doesn't seem to be an attempt to answer the question the OP asked. The final paragraph is almost useful; it needs a link or two, something for the OP to go on. $\endgroup$
    – Matt Hall
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 23:26

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