You can collect obsidian at Black Rock, south of Delta, UT, and west of Kanosh, UT. The obsidian lies in pits of varying sizes, and is the mahogany variety — mostly black with brown streaks throughout the rock. The pieces are fairly small, with the largest pieces you’ll find being a few inches long. If you really like obsidian, this is an interesting place to explore. Otherwise, this is good for a one-time experience to see exactly how much obsidian can really be sitting around in one area.
I’ll let you in on a secret about collecting obsidian at Black Spring, too — most of the sites who describe this location tell you to look around the animal watering area. Don’t bother. Keep driving east around the hill from the spring. Watch for the dirt road the cuts sharply uphill, and go up it. When it ends at the top of the hill, park. There is a pit of obsidian there that you cannot miss, and another due west of you at the bottom of the hill. There is a lot of obsidian here, but please respect future visitors — be reasonable in how much obsidian you collect. Also, the border of federal land ends at the eastern edge of the obsidian pit at the top of the hill — anything east of there is Utah State lands. You may not collect obsidian east of that point without a permit.
How to Get There
Normally I’give more details, but this is all dirt roads, so here are the maps, either from Highway 257 south of Delta, or from I-15. The roads aren’t bad – I have a Subaru Outback, but I think most passenger cars would be fine. Maybe the last hill would be a bit much, but you can always park at the bottom and walk up it:
Best Times To Go
This isn’t too hard of a place to get to, aside from being off the pavement. You don’t have to travel through any mountains, so you can get there in the winter, if you don’t mind the cold. And it isn’t deep in the desert, so it is tolerable in summer, if you don’t mind the heat. That being said, like any outdoor activity in Utah, Spring and Fall are most comfortable, and I’d avoid any time of year where we are having temperature extremes.
What to Bring
- Shovel – The obsidian is literally sitting in a pit, so you could bring nothing and still collect obsidian, if you are just getting into rockhounding as a hobby. But if you want to literally dig deeper and look for something bigger or more interesting, bring a shovel to dig under the surface and see what else may be there, maybe find a bigger piece.
- Eye Protection – Obsidian is glass. If you are shoveling, hammering, or chiseling at it, wear eye protection.
- Sunscreen, hat, water, food, phone – all the standards you’d bring for any day when you are 20+ miles from the nearest town.