This past weekend we piled everyone into two cars and went to a place that my dad has talked for years. My dad is a geologist and as a kid, spent time out in the Dugway Geode Beds. His love of rocks easily passed to my boys and up until now, I’d always just purchased those geode kits off of Amazon – they’ve been a hit!
For those of you who have never heard of the Dugway Geode Beds, you’re in for a treat. It’s a rockhound’s paradise and has all sorts of treasures. The most common geodes are quartz in various colors: clear (rock crystal), purple (amethyst), and pink (rose). My kids had a blast and could have spent another day out there.
Things To Know:
Best Time Of Year To Go:
We went mid-April and it was HOT. Both Bruan and I wore hats and we encouraged the kids to wear them as well. But if you’re headed out there, make sure you have plenty of water and sunscreen. As we get into the hot heat of summer, I wouldn’t recommend going. I can’t imagine being out there with kids in the middle of July. Spring and Fall would be best in my opinion!
From my house in Bluffdale, it took us just over 2 hours to get to the beds. It’s a great opportunity to learn about where you’re going and teach your kids about the history of the area. You are driving along the Pony Express Trail most of the way and because they’d been learning about it in school, it was a big hit with my kids. One of the things I love about Utah is how much history is here. There are a lot of opportunities for you and your family to experience history instead of just reading about it.
Once you get near ‘5 Mile Pass’, there will more than likely be a LOT of people. But don’t let that deter you! It’s a famous spot for four-wheeling and camping so it does get busy. It made me nervous that the beds would be crowded but they weren’t at all!
Around ‘5 Mile Pass’, there are about 25 minutes of straight washboard roads. SO BUMPY. We drove as far to the right as we could to make it not so wild of a ride. But be prepared. My family ended up turning around right near the 20-minute mark thinking the whole way was going to be this bad. But it didn’t and clears up right after 25 minutes or so.
I suggest driving an SUV or a truck. You could definitely get out there in a car but for comfort, a larger vehicle is better. And make sure you look around! There is a ton to see and you’re going slow anyway. You don’t have to drive slow the entire time, but it’s so dang DUSTY that you’re going to want to go slow just for better visibility. Especially if you’re in a caravan. Some parts of the drive, I couldn’t see Braun driving 20 feet ahead of me. Sometimes I would go 10mph, other times 50mph. And it still took us a little over 2 hours to get there.
SHOP OUR ROCKHOUNDING SUPPLIES
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You turn off the road where the sign says ‘Dugway Geode Beds’. You’ll see one hill on the far right. We drove past that one and dug in the next bed. When I say ‘beds’, it looks like people have dug up the dirt and made it easier for you to go and find geodes.
Download the google maps before you go! Once we were about 30 minutes from there, we lost phone service so make sure to have it downloaded so you can get home! There aren’t many roads out there but still… I was grateful Braun did that!
And take some time to try and spot the wild horses. If you didn’t know, Utah is home to 22 herds of wild horses. These herds came into existence in the 1800s when domestic horses escaped from local ranchers. The mustangs are protected under Utah law as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.” It’s kind of cool to see them and your kids will dig it.
What you are looking for:
You’re looking for round rocks roughly 2-4″ in diameter. They can be larger but the majority are that size. They’re also darker grey in color and they often need to be broken apart from other rocks and sediment. Take your shovel, dig around and you’ll start seeing them – once you see one you’ll get better at spotting them. You can break them open a number of ways but we just found a larger rock and would place the small geode on it and then crack the top with our hammers. Worked every time!
Some have sharp crystals inside and some are smoother. All of them were fun to see though!
You will see lots of them scattered around the beds that have already been cracked open. And if you start digging, you will find more that haven’t been cracked open yet! They’re truly everywhere. It’s a smorgasbord of geodes and your kids will be kept busy for hours.
You can plug these coordinates into your GPS and get there easily: 39°53’50.8″N 113°09’07.9″W
Or you can type in ‘Dugway Geode Beds’ into Google Maps or Maps on your iOS device. It’s fairly simple to find.
Directions from Salt Lake City: take I-80 west. Take exit 99 for State Highway 36 to Stansbury and Tooele. After 33 miles take a right at the Faust Pony Express Station onto the old Pony Express Rd. Approximately 50 miles down the Pony Express Trail/ Simpson Springs road will lead to a signed turnoff on the right. An unimproved road over another 2 miles will lead to the Geode Beds.
If you are leaving from the Provo/Lehi area, you can head out almost directly west from Lehi. Again, entering it into Maps or Google will give you exact directions.
The best thing you can do is have the right supplies. It will make or break your experience out there! Here’s what I suggest taking out there with you:
• Bucket for collecting treasures
* Gloves – Braun was happy he had them!
• Goggles, Sunglasses or Scientist Glasses like dash’s (rock and crystal shards fly up if you crack them open) Sunglasses that are also safety glasses are your safest best – these are under $5
* Baby Wipes for cleaning you off
• Walkie Talkies (not essential but they were super fun and would come in handy if you separate to dig)
This is a day for the books. We had so much fun and made some incredible memories. And as far as activities go, I felt that it ticked all of the boxes. Everyone was entertained. And it was really educational. Everyone came home feeling like they discovered something and had a new treasure. Definitely something I would recommend you do with the family!