Limestone Butte sticks out on the horizon as you near Oelrichs, South Dakota. The area surrounding the Butte and the gumbo beds scattered throughout the grasslands are a great place to explore for a variety of rocks.
When to visit: Spring, Fall, Winter (if dry)
What you can find: Fairburn Agate, Prairie Agate, Bubblegum Agate, Petrified Wood, Jasper, Rose Quartz, Ammonite
What to bring: Rock hammer, spray bottle, backpack, water, snacks.
Where to stay: Dispersed camping is allowed on the surrounding BLM land. Prairie Wind Casino Hotel is 20 minutes east. The town of Hot Springs is 30 minutes north has has several hotels and places to eat.
Getting there: From Oelrichs, South Dakota travel 3.5 miles east on HWY. 18 until you reach FS Rd. 7026. Take 7026 to the top of the Hill where it comes to a T. Due to recent road closures this is the closest place to park and is a short hike to the butte. You can continue to follow 7026 for several miles to the east with many potential areas to hunt. The Butte is less than a mile from the the highway. These roads are very hard to navigate when wet. 4WD is recommended on all dirt BLM roads.
Limestone Butte and the surrounding gumbo beds offer a fun opportunity to find a variety of rocks. Site A offers relatively flat and easy to access rock beds that are loaded with tumbled rock. The flat terrain doesn’t lend to the erosion necessary to expose new rock in this area. That being said, I have personally witnessed a small fairburn being found right as my found stepped out the door in this spot. Site B is a stretch of gumbo beds that are below site A. There are some steeper sections in this area and more erosion happens here when it rains potentially exposing fresh finds. My personal best finds have been from this area. Site C is more of the right type of gumbo beds to find good rock. Anywhere in this area could yield a fairburn. Stories have been told of agates being found in cow paths in the grassy fields outside of the gumbo beds. This area has been heavily hunted for years but for good reason. Explore the area throughly and you may just find a prize.
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