Tips for Your Visit to the Dugway Geode Beds in Juab County, Utah
Before our visit, we were skeptical about this outing. Digging in the dirt in the middle of nowhere sounded iffy. But this outing way exceeded our expectations. Let us show you why you might want to visit the Dugway Geode Beds in Utah too.
Tons of geodes, rocks with beautiful hollowed centers, are waiting for YOU to find them at Dugway Geode Beds.
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What Is a Geode?
It’s a round rock that looks somewhat like a plain potato on the outside but is gorgeous on the inside. With a hollow center, the rocks contain sparkly, crystal treasures. If you’re not a rock expert, which we’re definitely not, it will take you a little while to figure out which rocks at the Dugway Geode Beds are geodes. They’re lighter than regular rocks, and sometimes you can even hear pieces of the inside sparklies when you shake them. But you’ll soon get the hang of it if you break open the rocks and see which ones are the geodes.
Where in the World Are the Dugway Geode Beds?
Past Tooele in the middle of nowhere is the short answer. West Juab, Utah, is the more correct answer: Simpson Springs Callao Road. GPS will take you much of the way there. Search Simpson Springs Rd. in Dugway. You can also search the Dugway Geode Beds. We just found it helpful to find Simpson Springs first. Your overall goal is to get to the general area and just keep driving. Nothing is well marked with signs.
From Centerville, we drove about 3 1/2 hours. When we were in the area, we met family who had camped the night before at Simpson Springs. From there, it took 30 minutes to arrive at the Dugway Geode Beds. You travel west from Simpson Springs on a dusty road for what seems like forever. Just keep heading west to the mountain range in the distance. Keep going, keep going for several miles. You’ll wonder if you’re headed the right way, but it’s the only way out there. Right as you’re approaching the geode beds, you’ll finally see a sign. Hooray!
Find geodes by digging in approved excavation areas.
Where Should You Dig in the Dugway Geode Beds?
The digging sites are bigger than you might think, and there are several. We were there on a weekend in May 2020, so it was a bit busy in some areas but still very doable. At the entrance to everything you’ll see a sign directory, showing you a few excavation pits you can access. We drove to the first area, and it was plenty crowded. So we continued to the next area and stopped. It was a little bit busy but not a problem at all. Just know that there are several excavation areas where you can dig.
There’s plenty of room for everyone at the Dugway Geode Beds.
What Tools Should You Bring to Dig Geodes?
You’ll definitely want a sturdy, regular-size shovel–no garden trowels. (Don’t already have a shovel? I recommend buying one at a farm supply store. You’ll pay for the quality, but it’s totally worth it and you’ll have a great tool for the garden after.) Some people like to bring pick axes and other rockhounding equipment. We didn’t have any special items. But we did buy a chisel beforehand that was particularly handy (see image below) and used a regular hammer to chisel open the geodes. If you want a chisel like ours, click here. Split rocks on site so you can see what you’re finding and learn how to better select the geodes. That way you won’t haul home a bunch of unwanted rocks. We also brought buckets, gloves, and knee pads.
Keep in mind that the ground is dry and packed. You want durable tools that won’t break, so don’t bring anything flimsy. You have to dig down a few inches for the geodes; they’re not right on top just lying there.
We highly recommend a chisel like this one to split geodes onsite.
We split geodes by putting the geode on top of a bigger rock. Then chisel/hammer away until it splits, about 6-8 blows.
Tips to Know before You Visit the Dugway Geode Beds
Bring plenty of potable water. There is none at the geode beds. Nearest potable water is at Simpson Springs.
Take your own food and snacks. There’s absolutely nowhere for miles where you can purchase anything.
Make sure you have a solid vehicle that works well and is filled with fuel. We recommend a truck, SUV, or any vehicle with good clearance on the bottom. We saw a few cars out there but don’t recommend it at all. The road is washboarded in places, so it’s uneven and a bit rough sometimes, though it appears to be graded by the county.
Don’t go when it rains. The whole thing would just be a mess, and the road conditions could get sketchy.
No bathrooms. There are none at the geode beds, just the bushes. Nearest bathrooms are at Simpson Springs. And bring TP just in case. The bathrooms were getting low on it when we were there.
Provide your own shade. We visited on an overcast day, so we were comfortable. But the whole area would be super hot on sunny days. Bring portable shade. hats, sunscreen–all the works.
It’s super dusty. This might not be the place for you if you have allergies or asthma. We were there with cousins who have asthma, and they did fine. But take precautions and/or bring meds if you tend to experience those symptoms outdoors.
GPS took us most of the way but no cell reception. At one point we were unsure if we were headed in the right way because it seemed like we were on the road forever, and the GPS wasn’t registering at the end. But it’s the only road out there. Just go. Head west for the mountains. There was other traffic on the road, so we figured it would all work out–and it did.
Dogs aren’t going to love this outing. We brought our dog, and he insisted on staying inside the vehicle (doors and windows open) with our teen. Another party brought their dog and tied it up near the vehicle. It whined the whole time. You can’t really unleash a dog in the area because it’ll likely bother other diggers. In hindsight, we would have left our dog home. He would have been happier to avoid the dusty heat. There were no posted rules against bringing dogs, but ours hated it–and we take him with us on most ventures.
After about three hours of digging, we got a full bucket of geodes. Our extended family did too. These are all unpolished, and they’re still beautiful.
Simpson Springs Camping Nearby
I mentioned earlier that extended family decided to camp overnight at Simpson Springs, about 30 minutes away from the geode beds. You can reserve a spot online for $15 per night. Click here to book online. The campground includes spigots with potable water, picnic tables, fire pits, and typical BLM bathrooms–nothing fancy, but they serve their purpose. The official website says most campsites offer partial shade. I would definitely bring your own shade! It is not a shady paradise out there.
My nieces and nephews love to ride motorcycles and four-wheelers, and the area has plenty of territory to explore. The main road follows the old Pony Express Trail, so that’s pretty cool to explore. Simpson Springs is a former Pony Express Station and Civilian Conservation Corps Camp. We didn’t realize the latter at the time and missed the opportunity to see some old bunkers. Next time!
There’s some shade at the Simpson Springs Campground, but we recommend bringing a shade canopy. Potable water spigots and bathrooms nearby.
Things to Spot on Your Drive to the Dugway Geode Beds
Wild horses! We were so excited to see them. We saw small and large herds. They’re beautiful animals and so fun to see in the wild.
Pony Express Trail. We talked about the history of the Pony Express Trail (what we could remember, anyway) with our kids. The drive is a perfect opportunity for that once you’re in the area.
Cattle. If you’ve never seen cattle outside a barn or farm experience, this is a cool way to spot them. They’re out on the range, grazing and seemingly on their own. But we guarantee ranchers keep an eye on them.
Have you been to the Dugway Geode Beds? What tips would you add? We’d love to hear! Please comment so we can all learn.
Want to Also Dig Some Trilobites in Utah?
Want to dig some trilobite fossils? We have the world’s largest quarry in Delta, Utah. Guides help you find the fossils, and you can keep all you find. CLICK HERE.
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