Before our visit, we were skeptical about this outing. Digging in the dirt in the middle of nowhere sounded iffy. But this outing way exceeded our expectations. Let us show you why you might want to visit the Dugway Geode Beds too.
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What Is a Geode?
It’s a round rock that looks somewhat like a plain potato on the outside but is gorgeous on the inside. With a hollow center, the rocks contain sparkly, crystal treasures. If you’re not a rock expert, which we’re definitely not, it will take you a little while to figure out which rocks at the Dugway Geode Beds are geodes. They’re lighter than regularly rocks, and sometimes you can even hear pieces of the inside sparklies when you shake them. But you’ll soon get the hang of it if you break open the rocks and see which ones are the geodes.
Where in the World Are the Dugway Geode Beds?
Past Tooele in the middle of nowhere is the short answer. West Juab, Utah, is the more correct answer. Still no clue? No worries. GPS will take you there. From Centerville, it took us about three hours. We first stopped at nearby Simpson Springs to meet family who had camped the night before. It took 30 minutes from the campsite to arrive at the Dugway Geode Beds. You travel west on a dusty road for what seems like forever. Just keep heading west to the mountain range in the distance. Right as you’re approaching the geode beds, you’ll finally see a sign. Hooray!
Where Should You Dig in the Dugway Geode Beds?
The digging sites are bigger than you might think, and there are several. We were there on a weekend, so it was a bit busy in some areas but still very doable. At the entrance to everything you’ll see a sign directory, showing you a few excavation pits you can access. We drove to the first area, and it was plenty crowded. So we continued to the next area and stopped. It was a little bit busy but not a problem at all. Just know that there are several excavation areas where you can dig.
What Tools Should You Bring to Dig Geodes?
You’ll definitely want a sturdy, regular-size shovel–no garden trowels. (Don’t already have a shovel? I recommend buying one at a farm supply store. You’ll pay for the quality, but it’s totally worth it and you’ll have a great tool for the garden after.) Some people like to bring pick axes and other rockhounding equipment. We didn’t have any special items. But we did buy a chisel beforehand that was particularly handy (see image below) and used a regular hammer to chisel open the geodes. If you want a chisel like ours, click here; affiliate link. Split rocks on site so you can see what you’re finding and learn how to better select the geodes. That way you won’t haul home a bunch of unwanted rocks. We also brought buckets, gloves, and knee pads.
Keep in mind that the ground is dry and packed. You want durable tools that won’t break, so don’t bring anything flimsy. You have to dig down a few inches for the geodes; they’re not right on top just lying there.
Tips to Know before You Visit the Dugway Geode Beds
- Bring plenty of potable water. There is none at the geode beds. Nearest potable water is at Simpson Springs.
- Take your own food and snacks. There’s absolutely nowhere for miles where you can purchase anything.
- Make sure you have a solid vehicle that works well and is filled with fuel. We recommend a truck, SUV, or any vehicle with good clearance on the bottom. We saw a few cars out there but don’t recommend it at all. The road is washboarded in places, so it’s uneven and a bit rough sometimes, though it appears to be graded by the county.
- Don’t go when it rains. The whole thing would just be a mess, and the road conditions could get sketchy.
- No bathrooms. There are none at the geode beds, just the bushes. Nearest bathrooms are at Simpson Springs. And bring TP just in case. The bathrooms were getting low on it when we were there.
- Provide your own shade. We visited on an overcast day, so we were comfortable. But the whole area would be super hot on sunny days. Bring portable shade. hats, sunscreen–all the works.
- It’s super dusty. This might not be the place for you if you have allergies or asthma. We were there with cousins who have asthma, and they did fine. But take precautions and/or bring meds if you tend to experience those symptoms outdoors.
- GPS took us most of the way but no cell reception. At one point we were unsure if we were headed in the right way because it seemed like we were on the road forever, and the GPS wasn’t registering at the end. But it’s the only road out there. Just go. Head west for the mountains. There was other traffic on the road, so we figured it would all work–and it did.
- Dogs aren’t going to love this outing. We brought our dog, and he insisted on staying inside the vehicle (doors and windows open) with our teen. Another party brought their dog and tied it up near the vehicle. It whined the whole time. You can’t really unleash a dog in the area because it’ll likely bother other diggers. In hindsight, we would have left our dog home. He would have been happier to avoid the dusty heat. There were no posted rules against bringing dogs, but ours hated it–and we take him with us on most ventures.
Simpson Springs Camping Nearby
I mentioned earlier that extended family decided to camp overnight at Simpson Springs, about 30 minutes away from the geode beds. You can reserve a spot online for $15 per night. Click here to book online. The campground includes spigots with potable water, picnic tables, fire pits, and typical BLM bathrooms–nothing fancy, but they serve their purpose. The official website says most campsites offer partial shade. I would definitely bring your own shade! It is not a shady paradise out there.
My nieces and nephews love to ride motorcycles and four-wheelers, and the area has plenty of territory to explore. The main road follows the old Pony Express Trail, so that’s pretty cool to explore. Simpson Springs is a former Pony Express Station and Civilian Conservation Corps Camp. We didn’t realize the latter at the time, and missed the opportunity to see some old bunkers. Next time!
Things to Spot on the Drive Out There and Back
- Wild horses! We were so excited to see them. We saw small and large herds. They’re beautiful animals and so fun to see in the wild.
- Pony Express Trail. We talked about the history of the Pony Express Trail (what we could remember, anyway) with our kids. The drive is a perfect opportunity for that once you’re in the area.
- Cattle. If you’ve never seen cattle outside a barn or farm experience, this is a cool way to spot them. They’re out on the range, grazing and seemingly on their own. But we guarantee ranchers keep an eye on them.
Have you been to the Dugway Geode Beds? What tips would you add? We’d love to hear! Please comment so we can all learn.
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