An old local hot spot, the Weta agate beds are east of Badlands National Park and have yielded several quality fairburn agates over the years.
When to visit: Spring, Fall, Winter (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: The town of Kadoka is 30 minutes east, the town of Wall is 50 minutes west. Both towns offer hotels, camping, and food. Dispersed camping is allowed in the National Grasslands all around this area.
Getting there: From Wall, South Dakota travel east on I-90 for 20 miles. Take exit 131 and turn right on SD-240 W. Travel .2 miles and turn left onto SD-248. After 9.9 miles turn right on County Road 7 (Chamberlain Pass.) Go 4.5 miles then turn onto County Rd CH 6. After 3 miles County Rd CH 6 curves to the right, stay straight and drive another 1.4 miles until you reach a fork with “Weta Rd. Signs.”
(UPDATED 9/21/23 – The washout on the road to Weta has been repaired – have fun!)
Explore the extensive rock covered hill sides anywhere in this area for the chance to find the elusive fairburn agate. Look for fresh erosion areas that may have uncovered new rock. This area is not nearly as heavily hunted as the main Kern beds, and has only recently gained popularity beyond local knowledge. Nice agates are still found here every year, but as with any grasslands spot, finding a fairburn can still prove very difficult. Fortunately there are plenty of other neat rocks such as petrified wood and colorful jaspers to keep you entertained on your hunt.