creeking for crystals
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
May 31, 2021 ·  2 min read

You Can Go “Creeking” For Colorful Crystals In For Only $12

Creeking may not sound glamorous, but if you do it successfully, you can walk away with some unique treasures. 

The Emerald Hollow Mine is the only mine in the world that is open to the public for prospecting. People from across the country travel to the site to sift through the sand in hopes of finding a few gems. Even better, they do this for the low price of just thirteen dollars.

The Emerald Hollow Mine

The Emerald Hollow mine is located at the base of the Brushy Mountains in the small town of Hiddenite, North Carolina. It is supposedly one of the most geologically unique places in all of North America.

There are more than sixty different types of naturally occurring gems and minerals at the mine. They include:

  • Emerald
  • Aquamarine
  • Sapphire
  • Garnet
  • Topaz
  • Amethyst
  • Citrine
  • Rutile 
  • Tourmaline [1]
Image Credit: Emerald Hallow Mine

Creeking at the Mine

There are three main activities you can do at the mine: Sluicing, Digging, and Creeking.


This is the most popular and easiest activity at the mine. It is a method of prospecting washing buckets of dirt at the covered sluiceway to find precious minerals. The dirt in the buckets come straight from Emerald Hollow mine.

You can choose from a variety of buckets that cost as little as five dollars or as much as one thousand dollars. The pricier buckets will contain more gemstones and high-quality mineral formations [1].

Image Credit: Emerald Hallow Mine


Digging is exactly what it sounds like. You receive a shovel, and then go ahead and dig into some Southern red clay. You cannot do this activity, however, on your own. Digging is only included in the “Sluicing, Digging, and Creeking” combo package [1].


Streams of mountain water run through ridges of the mine. Through many years of natural erosion, the creekbed has continued to fill up with minerals from the mine. At their deepest points, these creeks are usually no more than knee deep.

“Creeking” is a type of prospecting in which you use a screen to sift through the sediment in the creekbed. This is one the other most popular activities at the mine, and many people enjoy it for it’s beautiful views as much as their unique gemstone finds [1].

Image Credit: Emerald Hallow Mine


A trip to the Emerald Hollow Mine is a great family activity because it’s very affordable. The prices are as follows:

Sluicing: 12 dollars per adult; 7 dollars per child
Creeking: 12 dollars per adult; 7 dollars per child
Sluicing and Creeking: 20 dollars per adult, ten dollars per child
Sluicing, Digging, and Creeking: 30 dollars per adult, 10 dollars per child

If you want to put yourself in the shoes of a nineteenth-century prospector, get a little dirty, and find some beautiful gems, then Emerald Hollow Mine should definitely be on your bucket list.

Keep Reading: What Does It Mean When A Crystal Breaks?

  1. ‘Emerald Hollow Mine Website’ Emerald Hollow Mine