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BLM > Arizona > What We Do > Recreation > Rockhounding > Locations > Black Hills Rockhound Area
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Black Hills Rockhound Area

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Black Hills rockhound area is located on the north side of Arizona route 191, between Safford and Clifton, about 18 miles north of Safford. This page is provided to recreationists interested in rockhounding as a guide in preparing for your adventure. 

General information and tips

The road beyond the registry station is not regularly maintained, and use by passenger car or travel trailer is not recommended.  Water is not available!  Livestock and wildlife water has been developed at several locations, but human consumption is not advisable.

Rockhounds, both as individuals and collectively as members of clubs, pride themselves on their good manners in the field. They know that maintaining their good reputation is important in order to keep the welcome mat out at many popular "digs."  Demonstrate individual and club pride by complying with the rules and practicing  good rockhound ethics.

Fire Agate

Agate, probably the most common and valuable gemstone available in this area, is a variety of silica formed by volcanic activity.  A multitude of shapes and colors are caused by mineral impurities in the silica.  It is these impurities which make the fire agate distinctive.  fire agate is considered a gemstone because of the play of the colors beneath its surface that is formed much as a pearl is formed in an oyster.  Volcanic water seeps into cracks and crevices below the earth's surface. The impact of the water drops separate some minerals from the water; the mineral stays and the agate grows. Fire agates are said to offer all the fiery color of gem opals, are less costly, are superior in hardness, and will not fade.

Be careful with fire!

Although lightning causes many fires on public land, often the most disastrous and damaging fires to resources and property are those caused by careless persons.  Rangelands can be destroyed by thoughtlessness or indifference on the part of anyone - hunter, camper, local resident or traveler.  It's up to all of us to protect our lands from fire. So, please crush out your smokes and drown your campfires.


Rockhounding, like most other outdoor activities, is not without certain hazards.

Rattlesnakes may be found in certain areas during the warm months. Watch out for them in rock slides and around damp areas, under old buildings and ledges. Prompt medical attention is always advisable if bitten.

Rockhounds may unknowingly create hazards through careless digging. Deep or steep sided pits or trenches should be filled in upon completion of digging, as they pose a hazard to both man and beast.

  Safford Field Office
711 14th Avenue
Safford, AZ 85546-3337
Phone: (928) 348-4400
Fax: (928) 348-4450
Field Manager:  Scott Cooke
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., M-F

Rockhounding Information

fire agate