The Red Shirt area is known to produce colorful gemmy Fairburn Agates. Large stretches of gumbo beds and access to river bottoms make the perfect rock hunting grounds.
When to visit: Spring, Fall, Winter (if dry), Summer (if cool)
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 most recent BLM use maps show the area around 7033 is open to boondocks camping. The area east of US-40 on 7053E permits camping, however the area to the west does not. The town of Hermosa is is 25 minutes west and offers all accommodations. Rapid City is 40 minutes away.
Getting there: From Hermosa, South Dakota head east on SD-40 for 19 miles. Turn left at Old Hwy 40 and travel 0.9 miles to reach Site A. This is a good place to park to explore the gumbo beds above the river. Continue on Old Hwy 40 another 0.9 miles until you reach BLM Rd 7033. Travel approximately 1.5 miles to reach the Cheyenne River Site B. To reach Site C rather than turning left at Old Hwy 40, continue straight on US-40 for 2 more miles. Just before you reach the river crossing you will reach BLM Rd 7053E. Turn right an travel another 0.3 miles to reach Site C. There are several places to park to begin your search.
The Red Shirt area offers one of the few access points to the Cheyenne River. There are is covered with agate beds and is known to produce beautiful color Fairburns. Keep in mind only the North / West side of the river is legal to hunt. The south side is reservation land and only accessible when hunting with tribal members. Check freshly formed gravel bars and areas of erosion for the potential to score a gem. While Fairburns are the main prize here, this area of the river has also produced nice barite / ammonite found in sectarian concretions.
(Sample gallery from Railroad Buttes– Red Shirt Gallery Coming Soon.)
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