A well known rockhound area with endless rock to explore. A relatively easy drive from Rapid City with nice fairburn agates still being found here regularly.
When to visit: Spring, Fall, Winter (if dry), Summer (if dry)
What you can find: Fairburn agate, prairie agate, bubblegum agate, petrified wood, jasper, rose quartz.
What to bring: Rock hammer, spray bottle, backpack, water, snacks.
Where to stay: Rapid City is 35 minutes west and offers all amenities. Dispersed camping is allowed in the National Grasslands in select areas. Reference the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands map for legal camping areas.
Getting there: From Rapid City, South Dakota drive 21 miles east on SD-44 until you reach 160th Ave/Farmingdale-Folsom Rd and turn right. Follow this road 6.4 miles until you reach BLM Rd. 505 on your left. This is one of the main access points to the area, however there are many other roads that access gumbo and rock around railroad buttes. Reference the Buffalo Gap National Grassland – Fall River District map for more information on legal roads to access the area.
Over the years the Railroad Buttes area has become fairly popular with both locals and visitors alike. There is a lot of ground in this area and there are more roads accessing some of the further back beds than you get in most other agate producing areas. Site A & B are randomly selected spots on the map and do not represent a spot of any particular interest. Getting out and exploring the endless rock scapes and keeping your eye on the ground is the best way to score a gem. As with any grasslands spot, the more ground you cover and the further you get from the road, the more likely you are to find better quality material. Check freshly eroded gumbo with newly exposed rock for a chance to score.