In general, our mining season is June through July. We attempt to set aside some days, generally Fridays and Saturdays throughout the season for club visits. If your club wishes to visit, have the trip leader contact us beginning in May. We generally will not have dates until then because we never know about changes from the government or availability of equipment, staff, etc. If you are a member of one of the Colorado clubs, contact them for future plans. Most of the clubs do a great job of filling all spots we make available and especially help new members get on the list for a visit. If you are not a member of a Colorado Club, you can do an internet search for gem and mineral clubs in Denver, Littleton, Canon City, Colorado Springs, Lake George, and other Colorado cities. Contact them for a possible opportunity to join them in a visit to our claims. (See under Know This the article for Tips on Collecting on National Forest.)


Note: As of 2009, you are not allowed to take any motor vehicles beyond signed gates (green gates or posts with signs Active Mining Area; No unauthorized motor vehicles beyond this point; By direction of U. S. Forest Service) onto our claims if I am not present. I was required to gate my claims and to pay a bond for the roads and will take them out and reclaim them when mining is complete. This is per Forest Service regulations. They will be ticketing you if you do not have written permission to be there from me. “I know Joe Dorris, and he gave me permission,” is no longer acceptable. (This reflects their efforts to equally enforce regulations for all mine owners.) If you have arranged a visit, then I or one of my representatives will be on site and this is not a problem.


VISITS: We love to share what we do and try to make visits available for clubs each year so you can visit our mining operations. Keep in mind, these are active operations and we are subject (as you are) to all Federal, State, and County rules and regulations, particularly the federal Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Safety is paramount in everything we do. For any visits, you must select and read our safety rules and sign a liability release form.

CLUB VISITS. You must make all your arrangements through your club for dates, meeting times, etc., and not through us. However, all claim information, tools, safety, etc., is covered below and you will need to understand and comply with this information even if you are visiting with your club.

OPEN DIGS. Currently, we sponsor only club visits; however, we can sometimes do small school groups, youth groups, and students for geologic studies. 

DATES FOR 2021:  During June through July. Dates have been made available to clubs for 2021. Contact your club trip leader.

TIME: Generally we operate the amazonite and smoky quartz claims between 1 June and 1 August but your club may be able to schedule a visit out side this window if it has a special request or need. The claims open at 9 AM and close at 4 PM on visit days. Your club visit may have differing times. Check with the trip leader. In any event, if there is bad weather, we will call digging early for safety reasons.

Except as authorized during a CLUB or OPEN DIG visit, there is no digging or trespassing allowed. Digging of any kind and picking up minerals of any kind violate the Forest Service and State permits and Federal law. Unless you have specific written permission from me, Joseph L. Dorris, you do not have permission to dig or pick up minerals on our mining claims.

You do have permission to conduct other activities on the National Forest where our claims are located with the exception of access roads (for vehicles) and active mine sites (for all activity). Active mine sites are easily identifiable due to the open excavations, presence of equipment or tools, and recently disturbed ground. Access roads and active mine sites are always off limits and you can be cited for trespassing as well as mineral trespass. This is primarily a safety issue and is necessary for us to comply with MSHA and Forest Service regulations.

If you are in the Crystal Peak District, you can recognize our claims by the red- and white-topped posts. (Please note that I am not the only claim owner who uses this marking. Make certain you know who’s claims you are on.)


We will arrange to meet you inside the National Forest access gate or at the claim access gate. The claims we work vary from season to season so you will need to arrange the specific meeting location with us. We will escort you to the claims and the dig site from the meeting point.  Please be sure to verify the meeting spot, time, and date before your scheduled visit.

Directions to National Forest access gate. From Colorado Springs, take U.S. Highway 24 west to Lake George. Immediately before Lake George, turn north on Park County Road 94. Continue on Park County 94 (also known as Trail Creek Road) by staying to the left at any major intersections. (Park County Road 94 changes to Teller County Road 32 when you cross into Teller County.) At about 4 miles, you will encounter a private gate. About a hundred yards before that gate is a red house and some containers on your right. You will see a sign that points left and a brown plastic Forest Service marker for F.S. Road 201. Turn left and follow Road 201 about .5 mile to the National Forest gate. Note that private property is on both sides of the road until you pass through this gate.

If this is our designated meeting location, park on the inside of that gate but do not block the access to the fence gate. We sometimes bring equipment through there!

Road 201 is drivable to the access gate with a regular car; however, beyond the National Forest gate, the road is best accessible by 4WD. Seriously, 4WD LOW, to access our claims. Usually people park within the gate and buddy up in 4WD past this point.

If you are meeting us elsewhere, we will give you additional instructions.


Generally bring light digging tools if you plan to collect on the dumps. Bring heavier collecting tools if you are heading to the woods to look for your own pocket.

For heavier collecting, you should bring at least a pick, small shovel and rock hammer. Most collectors like a screwdriver or wood skewers (for collecting pockets). Consider a chisel and hammer for hard rock. (You can arrange with others in your party to ensure you have sufficient proper tools.) Additionally, you need safety glasses, gloves, good boots, and appropriate clothing for weather (heat to snow and rain). You must have a hardhat (if visiting or entering the excavations) and earplugs (if equipment is operating.) (I will have limited spares),

Also be prepared for hiking through difficult terrain.

If you are surface hunting or going through the tailings, most people like a small hand rake and a rock hammer. Those tools are more than sufficient.

For all collectors consider that afternoons often cloud up and we have thunderstorms. You should also bring a bag or pack, wrapping paper, and possibly a 5-gallon bucket, for collecting specimens. Do not forget your lunch, plenty of water, sunscreen, and possibly insect repellant.

We have emergency supplies on site, including a first-aid kit, and extra water.


Our amazonite and smoky quartz claims are not fee-dig sites. If your club arranges a “digging” visit, you are my guest and may be helping me for a short while in the excavations. Otherwise, you will be given a designated area where you can dig on your own or search the surface for amazonite and smoky quartz. You are allowed to keep what you find on the tailings or surface.

Most collecting you will do will be on the disturbed area of the mine and these rules are on your safety liability release; however, we do allow some excursions to areas that we have not yet opened up. If you are able to search for a “wild” pocket of crystals, keep in mind safety for others. Do not loosen or roll rocks or logs downslope. If you open a small excavation, remember to notify the mine personnel if it contains amazonite and smoky quartz. If you find other material, you may collect it. Do not cut any trees or large shrubs. When you are done digging, you must fill your hole. You may leave a slight depression along the upper contact (not a sharp lip). This allows for collection of moisture and may help a conifer get seeded. Make certain any rocks and other material is stable and won’t move downslope. Clean up any trash (even if it’s not yours, and return it to the headquarters area.) Do not forget your belongings (cell phones.) There are likely many more holes strewn about. (These are a great place to prospect.) We would like it if you would fill a second hole (in addition to your own.) Be sure to show us your finds and note where you were working in the event we wish to check it out.

If you are digging and encounter a crystal cavity, you must report this to me or the mine manager. If possible, I will inspect the pocket. If it is a significant pocket, I or Glacier Peak personnel will assist in collecting. If it is a combination amazonite and smoky quartz pocket, I will retain the pocket (Otherwise, most other pockets you will be allowed to collect and keep.) I will attempt to clean the pocket as quickly as possible and give the finder(s) a piece or pieces. Generally, I will return some of the lesser pieces to the finder(s) as well. If exceptional, and the finder wants, he or she will have first right of refusal on pieces when they become offered for sale.

Experience shows that everyone finds lots of stuff and gets to take home lots of specimens. You should easily find both amazonite and smoky quartz cutting rough. You should also expect to find a few crystals of each.

I will generally bring some specimens for sale. There is no obligation, but it greatly helps us pay staff and other expenses. I will sell all regularly priced inventory for half of its marked price.

The claims close at 4 PM (or earlier in the event of bad weather). At that time, bring your finds to me or your host to have them assessed. These are normally yours to keep unless something super rare or an incredible specimen is found.