My brother spent months planning a mining trip to Arkansas, but airfare prices exceeded our budget, and we needed to keep our trip local. I googled local mines and found Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite, NC. Emerald Hollow Mine is the only mine in the WORLD that is open to the public for prospecting. Local, however, in this scenario is a loose term as Emerald Hollow mine was a four-hour road trip from Richmond. The mine’s online reviews were excellent so, we opted to take our chances and visit the mine.
Before we left, I had to purchase appropriate mining apparel which included a pair of Columbia hiking pants. The pants were worth every penny and ensured I stayed dry and comfortable during my trip. I neglected to purchase hiking boots, and that was a mistake.
Emerald Hollow Mine
We arrived at the mine around 1 PM on a Friday afternoon. To our surprise, the mine was a flutter of activity! I assumed we’d be one of the few miners on site on a random Friday afternoon. We arrived too late to in the afternoon to visit the mining site. Instead, we opted to purchase a native bucket and a surprise to sluice through. We quickly became addicted to the search for rocks. On day one, we located a beautiful native North Carolina emerald. I left the emerald in the lapidary to be cut for a future ring.
The next morning, we arrived back at the mine to sluice through a seeded bucket. The seeded bucket much like the surprise bucket includes rocks and stones that the mine has added to the bucket. We took four hours to go through our seeded bucket, and it was terrific. The staff helped us identify our stones and provided us with information about each of our finds. I left quite a few items in the lapidary to be cut into a variety of jewelry pieces. The lapidary has a six month waiting period, but I can’t wait to share some of my finds with you.
I’ve never had so much fun digging through dirt than I did while mining at Emerald Hollow Mine. The mine is the perfect family location for an educational and fun trip. On our next visit, we plan to visit the mine site and the creek. Because yes, we are already planning another trip.
Have you ever been mining? If so, what advice do you have for new rockhounds?
- Amanda is a native of Richmond, VA. She enjoys writing, blogging, traveling, shopping, and spending time with friends and family.