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Catskill Collecting

Posted by Jeremy Zolan  
Jeremy Zolan July 20, 2006 07:04PM
My family and I are taking a trip to Woodstock for the weekend and I was wondering about collecting localities up in the catskiils. There are some good fossils, I am interested in them but I am more curious about mineral collecting localities.
kb July 20, 2006 09:42PM
As far as I know, there has been no hydrothermal/igneous activity in the Catskills (and little besides sedimentary rock).

The Shawangunk mountains, however, host several lead/zinc mines that were operated for lead in the mid 1800's and lead and zinc in the early 1900's.

I have been to the Wurtsboro/Shawangunk mine several times. There is a lot of vein material (quartz crystals, sphalerite, galena and chalcopyrite in that order of abundance) available on the dumps. I have found some crystals of sphalerite (I think) on quartz.

It is a nice hike (give yourself a couple hours for the hike itself) from Roosa Gap road. Take NY Route 17 to exit 113 (Wurtsboro, Route 209). Take 209 north for 4 miles, watch out for a small yellow firehouse sign on the right side of the road, and take a right on Roosa Gap road. After turning right onto Roosa Gap road, take another right in 50 feet. Follow the road up the hill. About 1.5 miles from Route 209, on a sharp left bend, there will be space to park. The trail intersects the road about 100 feet further up the road. The trail is marked with aqua blazes. It is the only trail in the area.

Hike the SOUTH trail from the road (on the right side of the road). You should first descend into a valley, then start up into the ridge. After a while, hiking along the rocky ridge, the trail will intersect with a wide trail (more like a dirt road). Follow this path (to the RIGHT) down to several dumps and shafts. The upper dumps seem to have more sulfides. Several interesting ore textures (apparently epithermal) are present.

Bring lots of water, and check for ticks. The hike is worth it for the views alone.

Good luck,

Jeff Beckert July 26, 2006 07:50PM
would this be the same thing?

"For a nice 4 - 4.5 mile hike along the ridge (south from Roosa Gap Rd., with no loop back) park another car in Wurtsboro. (exit 113, right at light onto Sullivan St., (Hiking Shack on right!) At the end of Sullivan, pass the horse ranch, and where the road veers sharply to the right, there’s a left hand turn - pull in and park at the old VFW hall - the trail comes right through there.) If you choose this path, when you reach the top of the ridge, there’s a large rock with directions - indicating Long Path and Wurtsboro Ridge Trail.
Follow the blue markers along the Wurtsboro Ridge Trail. This takes you down past the VFW hall. Continuing on (across 17M) will take you into the Basha Kill Wetlands. The lead mines are about 2 miles from the start (from Roosa Gap Rd), a couple of hundred feet down the hill. County historians claim that these mines are the oldest in New York State, in and out of operation for about three centuries."

taken from

I'll be travelling up to Hunter Mountain later this August. It seems this location will be on my way up there. Hopefully I'll be able to stop by. Are the specimen nice from the area?
kb July 26, 2006 08:23PM
Yeah, that is the same place. It is harder to find from the VFW hall area (although it is less of a hike), because you have to find the correct path leading up the ridge to the right from the dirt road (there are several).
I would suggest hiking from Roosa Gap road. The scenery is nice.

I was there 3 times in the past two or three years. Having had little access to hydrothermal deposits containing lead/zinc/copper minerals, it was cool for me to go there and crack open rocks to find galena for the first time. Most of the material is white quartz (often with a breccia texture) with sulfides. Little that I have seen is in good crystals, it is mostly massive. But in some small pockets in the quartz, adjoining massive sphalerite, I have seen well- defined black/brown crystals that look like sphalerite. Some of these are "decayed" (chalcopyrite disease?). The sphalerite is the most common sulfide. The upper dumps seem to have more galena. Also present (apparently in support of the epithermal theory of this deposit) are abundant quartz crystals, mostly smallish.

Regarding the mining history, I read in one of the geological studies of this mine that there was evidence that very small scale lead mining was done prior to the mid-1800's lead operations. Apparently, when they reopened it is the early 1900's (for about a year) they used brought the ore down to the base of the ridge with a tram (like a ski lift). Ellenville and a few other locations all belong to this same Shawangunk mountain district.

Ian Merkel July 26, 2006 09:59PM

I have collected many times in the Shawangunks as I ived in New Paltz area for 7 years, the entire time collecting as often as I could.

The Wurtsoro mines have provided the above mentioned, although nothing very flashy besides galena cleaves. I have expored numerous workings and tunnels in the area with limited luck. The largest problem with collecting in the Shawangunks in the quartzite is so damn hard, the hardest rock I have ever hit actually. A local historian tells me 5 road operations went out of buiness installing 44/55 through the park, as the rock is so hard (just a side note).

The only locale I will suggest is behind the firehouse in Ellenville. They blasted for the road going aroung Sams point in the 70,s and hit many large quartz vugs. There are multiple very large plates in the natural history museum in Manhattan from this find. There are still some open vugs exposed in the cut and nice exposures of the quartzite. Some decent pyrite also exist in a small vein towards the middle of the cut.

Good luck!
Jeremy Zolan July 26, 2006 10:57PM
Hey, I'll check it out soon! I didn't get a chance to collect when I went up for vacation. we were running late and there was no time to stop anywhere. We originally planned to leave early but it didn't work out.
martin July 27, 2006 02:10AM
When I lived in NY in the 60's I bought a spinel crystal. I think it said it was from Ellenville NY. Anybody know this location? I might be dreaming though.

Jeff Beckert July 27, 2006 03:34PM
The history of the "gunks" actually are suppost to start sometime in the early 17th century. The place was mined by Natives, and settlers would try to get this information out of them, as to the whereabouts of the mystery deposit. The place has been in buisness on and off, because they often realize its a great idea, then realize its too hard to separate the ore.

Anyways, as for the Ellenville place. I'll just put it this way; I'll be bringing friends who dont do much crystal hunting. Will They be able to find crystal points easily? Is there really anything left in these open Vugs, or will we be needing to do some breaking? I figure it would be okay if there are boulders in the ground we can work on, but is it safe to work the wall? Is it actaully a wall, or a slope, or what? Just trying to prepare all I can. Thank you!
Ian Merkel July 28, 2006 04:41PM
Hi Jeff,

From what I have heard, I agree. the original mining is supposed to have begun with the natives. As far as finding crystals goes, Elllenville and Wurtsboro are not ideal as they have been picked over for many years. There were more workiongs in Wurtsboro with galena, sphalerite and chalcopyrite, which Ellenville lacks (only quartz was found in Ellenville), and the views from Wurtsboro are far supperior. I only found galena in Wurtsboro, but with more time and more eyes more surely exists. In Ellenville there is not much for the picking in reality and the rock is soooo hard. But if you will be in the area, it is worth the stop, and who knows what you may find that I failed to notice.

If you are going to the area and you have any other thoughts, passs them on. I lived there for many years and I have hiked nearly all the trails in the Shawangunks multiple times. The aterfalls are spectacular.

kb July 28, 2006 05:12PM

Actually, there was a metal mine in Ellenville (lead, with possibly Dutch copper mining ealrier, as chalcopyrite was apparently more abundant there as compared to Wurtsboro) but I haven't been able to find the location. I realize you probably know that and that you were referring to the quartz crystal location.

Much of the sphalerite in Wurtsboro is fine-grained and dark (high iron - and mercury, interestingly) and is hard to tell from galena.

stonebear July 29, 2006 12:00PM
there are quite a number of collecting spots throughout the Catskills of of the more famous being the gore mountain garnets, the emery deposits there mined over the last century have reportedly produced Almadine X'ls in excess of one Meter, the brownish red facet material from there selling from 15-30ct for finished cuts. In the town itself of Woodstock there is a interesting old flea market that has been looking more like a rock show lately called Mowers market held on Saturdays and as of late on Sundays. The Herkimer miners there could point you in the direction of several regional sites of interest, one of which produces quartz and Garnets only 50 yards from the market..right under someones doorstep!!
but leave the digging tools out of the equation of that one;)
Ive already asked for permission to dig up their
no luck as of yet:)
happy hunting
Alan Plante July 29, 2006 03:13PM
Hi Stonebear.

Gore Mountain is in the Adirondaks. The Fonda area (Herkimers) is along the Mohawk River Valley. The Catskills are considerably south of both areas - especially Gore Mountain.

(Sorry for the "remedial geography lesson" - but it wouldn't do to have people thinking Gore or Fonda were down in the Catskills. It might misdirect a collector or two... :~} )

Jeremy Zolan July 29, 2006 04:04PM
True- Gore isn't even geologically similar to the Catskills. Herkimer is distantly similar but it is closer to the Adirondacks then the Catskills.
Alan Plante July 29, 2006 04:18PM
Actually, the geology of the Adirondaks is very different than that of the Catskills - much more highly metamorphosed, and much, much, older - as in gneiss grade preCambrian (compared to the Catskills barely metamorphosed post-Ordovician.) - Alan
Phil Walsh July 30, 2006 03:47PM
For martin; Your spinel is probably from Edenville not Ellenville. Actually even Edenville isn't correct. It should be Amity. They are about 2 miles apart.
kb July 30, 2006 05:28PM
There was an arsenopyrite operation at Amity, right?

martin July 31, 2006 05:01PM
Phil, You are absolutely correct. The specimen said Edenville and it is Amity.
Is Amity in the Catskills? I remember seeing the site in a R+M collecting book.
Anonymous User October 15, 2006 09:51PM
I realize this is an old subject, but.......
I went to the Adirondaks to the Barton garnet mine a couple of weekends back. You aren't allowed to use any tools at all. Frustrating looking at all the huge garnets and not being able to pry them out. However, using their method of dumping buckets of water on the ground I was able to find some nice specimens. I only took out 1/4 of a pound but in there was 6 or 7 very clear pieces, no cracks or occlusions. As a birthday gift I gave one of them to a friend who is going to see a jeweler about getting it set in a ring. Should be interesting to see what the jeweler says.
Anyways, the point of my post is that the state of NY says it is illegal to take any mineral off of public land. Private land is a different matter if you can get permission. Has anyone ever run into legal problems collecting in NY?
kb October 16, 2006 12:22AM
Illegal to take minerals off of public land? Who said this? As far as I knew, mineral collecting was another form of "passive recreation" that was allowed on public lands excepting National Parks and other special preserves. Please clarify!

I guess we need to be vigilant to make sure that laws that restrict mineral collecting don't get (intentionally or not) piggybacked into conservation, etc legislation. Mineral collecting seems to get little respect (and often little awareness) as we all know.

Greg Black November 29, 2006 03:13AM
Hi, Anyone still on this ?
I live in Elenville, have been collecting crystals for most of my life and know thee are more places the "old timers" tell me about to find crystals. I have found thousands of small points and just last year , on my own property I found around six or seven quarts crystals that are around five lbs each, you can not hold two in your hand at the same time. With these huge crystals I found around 15 smaller ones , maybe you can hold three in one hand,,,,a nice find. These were from excavating an area along side the old D&H canal.
I also think I just found the filled in cave where the mother load can be found. I have found many nice clusters at the ( i think) enterance of the cave that was filled in by the town years ago. Anyone know about this cave? Below Rt 52 on Old Plank Rd in Ellenville. Maybe up from Spring Glen?
kb November 29, 2006 03:56AM
Could the "cave" be the Ellenville mine, or a prospect? There is a lot of quartz crystal in the Shawangunk lead-zinc-copper veins (the veins have a lot of open space).

stonebear December 05, 2006 05:08AM
Hello Catskill hunters!!
the Shomgum (Shawangunk) localities have always been a fascination of mine! I have covered many a mile of the hills here in search of old prospects and have turned up many treasures as well
Chiefly the serene beauty the mountains here have to offer
some pretty nice crystal and mineral specimens too;)
I believe I know where you are referring to Gregg if not too far down the plank road to the cave in waterfall locality backtracking along the D&H Canal are many prospectful localities
I do believe though that the main mass of the historical, and once enormous Quartz, Shalerite, Pyrite combo clusters known and seen by me to weigh in Excess of 1100lbs came out of the beginning of the century during Army Engineer projects in the park area at the head of the Smiley Carrageway entrance South of the Sun Ray tunnel/adit.
Still to this day a marvelous seam of Pyrite enriched ore and veins running vertically up the mountain un excess of 15 feet wide is clearly visible on the extremly hazardous and unstable face of the quarry and I strongly do not reccomend anyone try to scale this area to hammer on anything!
The locals wait dilligently year after year to see what the frost heave rewards us with;)
further up the mountain is this very magical place where I can reach deep into natural vuggy hollows and pull out water clear double terminated clusters and solitares, and this I believe sits on a mother load as well;)
Now I see why many a pioneer of the likes of the legendary Tom Quick and Samuel Gunsaulus were so interested in finding the secret "Indian Lead mines" abound of legends of gold and silver here in the unique ores our ridge possesses
With Respect
Tread Lightly
Ian Merkel December 06, 2006 08:29PM

Nice to hear! I lived in New Patz area for 7 years, and in kerhonkson I own land and lived there for three years. Unfortunetly I moved 2.5 years ago, but I frequently visit. I would really like to get together with you and see your collection at a minimum. Contact me off-line if you are interested. THis coming summer I will probably plan a trip for herks and lfuorit ein New Hampshire.

Ian Merkel
Ian Merkel December 06, 2006 08:34PM

Not off-line, but off mindat, on my e-mail.

minerdam April 02, 2007 12:40AM
Hey Guys, I have researched the ellenville adit, check out photos here:
Ian Merkel April 02, 2007 03:18PM

Where are your photos? I would really like to see them.

~Ian Merkel
Roz April 04, 2007 08:23PM
Hello East Coast rock and mineral people: I used to live in New York until 1975 and spent all my summers in Ferndale. I remember finding huge quartz crystals off of Hwy 52 near Ellenville. I'll be back this summer and would love to muck around in the clay banks again (where I found them 40 years ago..)
but I need a "refresher" map. If I took 52 to Old Plank Road or somewhere nearby, where could I find some crystals or galena? Any help would be appreciated!
Ian Merkel April 05, 2007 05:30PM
Hey Roz,

Good luck! A lot of maerial has been taken in 40 years. The roads have likely not changed much. There are many workings along Berme Road. I have had some luck (nothing huge) but others (above) have more recently found "huge" crystals.

Post your finds when you return.

Ian Merkel
Anonymous User April 08, 2007 03:40AM
I travel through Ellenville on Route 55 every Tuesday on my way to Poughkeepsie. It would be great to stop off for a couple of hours to do a little rock hounding. If anyone can direct me to Old Plank Road or Berme Road, or anywhere else in the area for that matter, I would be forever grateful. I don't get on the forums or chat much, but you can contact me through email. If anyone would like to meet some Tuesday, I would be interested.

Roger Morris April 26, 2007 08:44PM
Ian, I found your post while researching the lead mines up around Ellenville but you mentioned something else Id like to ask about- some nice waterfalls in the Shawgunks. I was planning on making a trip there this summer and since I will be bringing my family, I was wondering if you can give me any suggestions as to trails, areas or specific falls that might be worth seeing. Anything you can provide would be greatly appreciated. thanks/cheers. Roger Morris.
Anonymous User April 26, 2007 08:59PM

If you follow route 55 out of Ellenville and head up over the mountain toward New Paltz/Poughkeepsie, there are many trails easily accessible, not to mention the beautiful views. Also, if you are interested in quartz and pyrite crystals, go to Berme Road Park in Ellenville. It's a very short hike to some interesting specimens. I was just there today as a matter of fact and I will be posting pics of my finds when I return home this weekend. You can email me for more detailed directions.

Jeff Wilson May 06, 2007 01:05PM
I am heading up to Ellenville today to check the area for any promising finds. I plan on spending the whole day in the area. If I find anything, I will post the info here. I have been a long time resident of the area, and it amazes me that I had never heard about the mineral finds until recently! Go figure.....
Jeff Wilson June 05, 2007 12:18AM
After several weather and work schedule delays, I finally did make the jaunt up to the Ellenville locations. Frankly, it was a disappointing trip, mostly because I had bad information. One spot I did find some small specimens was at Berme Road Park, where I did find several small pyrite specimens, and one small quartz crystal cluster, and I do mean small, but there was nothing else. And that rock is possibly the hardest rock I have ever worked with. WOW!! The quartz ledge behind my house is a thousand times more productive than the Ellenville site, and way easier to work. Oh and learn. However, I was told to check out the old lead mine in Wurtsboro, just down the road. The locals say that spot is much more productive. I got good directions. So that will be my next field trip.

I took 2 other field trips last week. I did the night UV dig at the Franklin, NJ mineral museum. That was a lot of fun and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I'll be doing that one again in Nov.
I also made a trek to Carbondale, Pa. to the fossil collecting site there. It was open and accessible and was actually a very productive place for fern fossils of several species, calamite fossils which were huge and totally amazing, some quartz crystal and pyrite as well as a few other specimens. I came out of there with the back of my truck full of goodies. The strip mine there is currently being reclaimed and filled in, so that area is out, but the mine spoils are still free for the pickin'.

I also plan on visiting the old iron mine near Andover, NJ in the near future. If anyone has any info or updates on that locale, I'd appreciate hearing about it. Thanks!

Anonymous User June 06, 2007 10:38PM
Does anyone know if the Petrified Creatures Museum of Natural History is still open? Are there good fossils there or is it too picked over? It's near Richfield Springs, NY.
stony September 08, 2007 12:44AM
well our club went collecting at the old Wurtsboro Lead mine
I was busy working as usual;(
this week I was laid off and went digging for a couple days up on the Shawangunk ridge. found what appeared to be an old pocket that was knapped upon for making scrapers or arrowheads. the quartz there was quite deliberatly worked upon, guess when they call this quite possibly North Americas oldest mine, the authorities just might be right;)
Robert A Santee September 22, 2007 04:44PM
Hi KB just readinding your post i was wondering if you could give me some info on the old zinc mine area,i am a fluorescent mineral collector i do a lot of collecting at the sterling hill mine in nj do you think there are any good fluorescents in that area thanks bob.
kb September 24, 2007 03:50PM

The Shawangunk zinc deposits are sphalerite, which appears not to be fluorescent (at least here). This is different from the Franklin oxidized minerals (not sure if people are confident yet on one mode of formation of that deposit). The only fluorescents I think I may have found in the Shawangunk deposit is a cerussite or anglesite crust that fluoresced weak orange.

Robert A Santee September 24, 2007 11:43PM
Thanks bob
Larry Jr December 10, 2007 07:00PM

How do you get to the Sun Ray Tunnel/Mine ? I know it is in Shawangunk NY. Is it on public land?

Thank You,

Anonymous User December 10, 2007 09:52PM
Sorry Larry,

I was only traveling through there on my way to one of my clients.
I'm not from that area, but there are some small clusters of quartz just up the hill from Berme Road Park.

A. December 19, 2007 04:12PM
It is very easy to find,unlike others in the area. From Route 209 in the town of Ellenville, turn on State Route 52 (southbound) to Berme Road (last street in town, at the base of the Shawangunks), turn left on Berme road (northbound, old D & H canal will be on your left), go past the firehouse, Nature Conservancy parking area and playground. Look for a tall brick smoke stack and an old bottleing plant / warehouse on the right. Park on the north side of the warehouse. Follow the well-worn path that veers right, towards the cliff face or follow the stream to the entrance of the mine.

Does anyone know exactly where the Ellenville/ Shawangunk Mine (entrance allegedly sealed) further up Route 52 on Plank road is? (not the well known one in Wurtsboro over the airport)
or any other mines in the Shawangunks?
Anonymous User December 20, 2007 01:04AM
I have been all over the Old Plak Road (both sections, paved and dirt all the way to the end at the top of the mountain) by car and by foot several times, and have never been able to locate the "sealed" mine entrance. I have no idea where it is along that road....I'm thinking maybe on the mountainside below Old Plank, where it can't be easily seen???
Miner Dan December 23, 2007 08:42PM
Hey Guys, I have documented with photos the sun ray mine tunnel. You can see them here at

or www . abandonedmines . net
theratbastard August 09, 2008 11:17AM
The sealed mine is behind the dpw? building before the berme rd park. There is a large pile of wood chips 15 ft in front of where the entrance used to be . However, it looks like there may be another entrance/airshaft above the sealed one. the rock was too slippery and I had no rope to get to it. I will make the attempt again and post my findings.
andy givens October 12, 2008 01:00PM
i waas up there yesterday with my kids. we found some small clusters and a bunch of small points loose ...a little pyrite with i guess lead on it. all and all a fun trip. nothing too crazy.....broke my hammer after a few hours. that is defintitly some hard rock. . fun day though.
Richard Fava January 09, 2009 03:50AM
I'm a budding rock collector. As a child, I collected rocks quite often out of simple unguided interest.

Now some 20 years have past and slowly I'm collecting again, using only visual cues as to what stone I take home or not. Meaning, its purely art to me. I know nothing of the mineral makeup of each stone. In the past few years, I have collected hundreds of stones and given them all away, but for a few that linger .

Please include me in any rock collecting trips. I would love to accompany anyone, and share with others what I am learning as I collect occasionally.

Using Google Earth (something I am new to), perhaps I can share exactly what I find within 10 miles of my location (Wurtsboro) along the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge. If anyone on this thread needs some hiking to be done, I wouldnt mind being their helper and share exactly what was seen and where. Since I live right smack in the middle of this thread's location, this is a great introduction for local mineral collecting.

Thank you
Richard Morris F

Formerly of Westchester/Putnam County.

Now residing in Wurtsboro on Sullivan Street for the past year.

Oh ! This year I found what may be Honeycomb Coral in Mamakating/ Wurtsboro with an assortment of other large shelled fossils in the same rock.
Richard Morris F.
stone January 11, 2009 02:14AM
Hello Richard and all Catskill Collectors! I have a hunch your correct about the Honey Comb coral up on the ridge. I made a recent discovery on Sullivan St of all places, you know the old Methodist church (116 Sullivan St ) across from the Canal Town Emporium (with the trippy tin interior) has been converted into a Rock shop!? They actually have some really nice stuff in there and some local representators from old miners collections. The Lapidary guy there said they would be having hikes to some of these localities in the better months. Sounds like fun!!
Jeffrey D. Wilson January 12, 2009 01:22AM
I was recently told about the #2 acqueduct rock dump off Cutler Rd. in Wawarsing, just outside of Ellenville
. Has anyone else visited the site? Recently? Is it still accessible to collect from? Is it worth the trip?
jonm March 05, 2009 03:47AM
minerals are not to be taken from public land,it's been a law since then late 19 century when they thought there might be gold in the state,there has been gold found in new york but not much,ulster county gold has been found on the illinois mountain in highland
Steve Cantiello March 21, 2009 01:25PM
Hey Jeremy
Where are you dude?It is spring we need to get together for some collecting.Contact me soon
Your pal Steve C.
Robert A Santee March 22, 2009 12:17PM
Hi can you tell me were emporium would be i am coming in from northern New Jersey i would like to take a little look at that rock shop thanks.
Ian Merkel March 23, 2009 07:52PM
Hi Greg,

I used to live in Kerhonkson and I have heard tales similar to what you describe. I am friends with an historian of Ulster county who has always been intereted in the old Ellenville mines. I will let you know what he tells me.

I currently live in arizona, but I am coming home to visit Kerhonkson in June, are you interested in meeting up and showing me your finds?

Ian Merkel
Montague Quartzman May 29, 2009 04:53PM
I have visited the lower tailings at the Wurtsboro lead mine site recently, once with the Orange County Ny Club, once by myself. I just wanted to say that with a little effort, you can still find some wonderful galena, pyrite and chalcopyrite specimens right in the tailings pile. When I went the second time solo, I found even better crystals of all 3 at the bottom of the pile just by digging in a foot or two at the base of the tailings. It's definitely a nice place to bring the kids as all of the walking is 100% flat, no hills.
TONY FARINHA August 24, 2009 03:34PM
hi roger came across this link - have just got a copy of first album a real memory jerker from the days when we were both struggling to make a buck here & there working at pos the worst job i ever had in a department store in dear old blighty ,up until about ten years ago i was living in canada & the states for 6 years where i was playing with a number of bands playing throughout canada as well as gigs in upstate ny chicago detroit tv work & radio etc, but returned to the uk a while ago now when i was offered a good deal over here (hard to believe there could be any good deals in the uk i know but this time it was pretty good ..two dozen albums & a lifetime on (30 years since we last saw each other), it was great for me to hear these tunes again
anyway i hope you dont mind me contacting you this way
stay cool
you tube - tony farinha
TONY FARINHA August 24, 2009 03:35PM
hi roger came across this link - have just got a copy of first album a real memory jerker from the days when we were both struggling to make a buck here & there working at pos the worst job i ever had in a department store in dear old blighty ,up until about ten years ago i was living in canada & the states for 6 years where i was playing with a number of bands playing throughout canada as well as gigs in upstate ny chicago detroit tv work & radio etc, but returned to the uk a while ago now when i was offered a good deal over here (hard to believe there could be any good deals in the uk i know but this time it was pretty good ..two dozen albums & a lifetime on (30 years since we last saw each other), it was great for me to hear these tunes again
anyway i hope you dont mind me contacting you this way
stay cool
you tube - tony farinha
Recently relocated and could use a hand! November 13, 2009 06:16PM
I recently moved back to NY from california. I am finding it nearly impossible to find any good information about any of these mines in the ellenville area. if anyone can point me in the right direction for the red bridge mine, or better yet the buttermilk falls mine that would be awesome!
Fred A. Schuster November 16, 2009 05:59AM
Sound like a area worth exploring. And in the winter months no ticks! I visit NJ a few time a year. ( I was born in Passaic NJ). So if you are interested in a parrtner I am a field collector that likes ot dig and do photography.

you can email me if interested: Fred:
Dan Lopez December 14, 2009 05:06PM
Only a handful of people know the exact locations of all the old Lead/Zinc mines in the shawangunks.

My name is Dan and I run

In 2008 a group of 6 of us scoured the west mountainside of the shawangunks in search of these mines. We found over 20 of them. From South to north, the mines are as follows:

Guymard Mine
Wallkill Lead Mine
Empire Mine
Washington Mine
2 mines on prison property (state and fed prisons)
Shawangunk Lead Mine (also known as St. Nicholas Zinc, Wurtsboro, and the Mamakating Mine)
Redbridge Mine
Buttermilk falls/Horseshoe Mine
Ellenville Mine
Sunray Tunnel Explorations.

We were able to enter many of these mines, some that have been entered before, some that weren't seen in over a century.


Robert A Santee December 15, 2009 05:20PM
Hi greg i was just reading your message would you be interested in giong collecting with me and a friend of mine to that area you were talking about in the spring i be long to the north jersey mineral club and would like to explore the area for that mother load i no your message was posted a while ago but let me no we could even threw some money to you for you taking us their let me no Bob.
Greg Black January 24, 2010 05:19AM
Hello, Sorry I have not been back here in so long a time but I have been still finding some great crystals all over the Ellenville Mountain. I even found a whole area of cliff covered in small crystals but hidden from the eye do to thick moss growing over the area. This is great because if it was not for the moss these crystals would have been picked off years ago. The great thing about this is that it is on my property, what a treat! I still look forward for the heavy rains as they always leave behind some great crystal finds. I can not wait for spring to discover many more giant crystals, I no longer listen to people saying this area has been picked clean. I would love to share what I have found with someone who has something to share with me . I still believe there is that mother load just waiting for me to find. How can I hook up with interested parties willing to explore a few areas I know will produce? I still have not been able to get inside the cave that was covered by the state years ago but I still find clusters around what I believe is the opening of the cave. There is a really big rock sitting in the opening of the cave which needs a few strong hands and maybe a block and tackel to more the rock then ,,well you can go home now, this is mine! LOL I have heard stories about this cave and seen the crystals that came out of it, I spent 25 years searching and now , I am sure it is the one.
Greg Black January 24, 2010 05:42AM
Hello again,
I have not been on this site for many years so I am sorry for not responding to all your interest. I will not be going back out hunting for anything till spring time but this is a good time to get to know some of you if you are still interested. This is a passion of mine and I have met some really nice people who have given me clues to help me find some interesting caves. I have been in many caves from Kingston to Wortsboro. I own the hang gliding school in Ellenville,called Mountain Wings Inc and my land starts at the base of the mountain and goes up past rt52 so I get to explore the side of the mountain as well as the river beds which always seem to surprise me with some great finds. This mountain if covered in crystals. Lets get together by e-mail , or visit my web site at: .Greg
Robert A Santee January 24, 2010 02:20PM
Hi Grege great to hear from you that would be great if we could great together you and my friend to do some collecting with you. I am from New Jersey the town is Bloomingdale NJ that is northern New Jersey its about 20 minutes from Franklin NJ. And my friend is from NY up around Terry town i believe, we try to go on some mineral collecting trips all around when the weather is good,so if you would like to get together and do some collecting in the spring that would be great if you like you can give me your phone number and i will give you mine so i can call you or you can call me in the spring when we could do some collecting..I also collect micros and thumbnails i been collecting for awhile now so it sounds like a great place to go thanks for getting back to me so let me no Grege thanks again Bob.PS Grege send me that info on a private message.
Jamin Neet January 25, 2010 05:05AM
Heya! I live in Poughkeepsie now, and I'm definitely interested in hitting the area over there. I've gone over to CT (about 40 minutes from here) to a real nice garnet mine, and last spring went up north to pull some Herkimer diamonds. I didn't realize there were good finds so close to home, I really want to head over there this spring sometime. I'd be more than happy to help you move that rock out of the way!
Phil NP March 08, 2010 01:16AM
Hi Everyone,

I live in New Paltz and I did a little bit of mineral collecting last year in the Ellenville/Wurtsboro area.
In the quarry behind Berme Road Park I found some pea-sized pyrite crystals after cracking open a few rocks.
There were also some smaller quartz crystals covering the edges of some of the rocks I found on the ground.
At the upper and lower Wurtsboro mines I unearthed some interesting galena and chalcopyrite specimens from the tailing piles.

Hopefully, once the snow melts, I plan to go back again for some more collecting.

Does anyone know of some additional locations that are accessible and worth checking out?


Phil NP March 10, 2010 03:18AM
Here are a few more pictures of galena and, I think, chalcopyrite from the upper and lower Wurtsboro (Mamakating) mine.


James Smith October 27, 2010 02:45PM
Hi Greg,
I am allways looking for mines and caves to explore and don't mind doing a little digging. If you want to organize a group to get into a mine or cave I am game.
Matt Clyne April 10, 2011 09:40PM
Hey Dan, I have been on your sites about the old mines and found them very interesting. I am part of Orange County Mineral Society and we enjoy going to place like these. We have been to Ellenville, Upper/Lower Wurtsboro, and the Washington Mine. I also found a spot further down the Shawangunk ridge. I was hoping you mite be able to give directions to a couple of the other mines on your page or even guide us. My email is
David Bernstein April 10, 2011 10:48PM

I am part of Dan's group. You'll have better luck contacting him through ABM if you have not already done so.
UC911 April 23, 2012 06:58PM
Dan... I work full time as a Emergency Services dispatcher for Ulster County.... and I do photography on the side. Any chance you can email me with the names and location of the mines that you have located in Ulster County so that we can enter them in to our system at work. Prefer to have each name or aka along with best access points for each and also the actual coordinates for each location if you have it. If anyone were to call up 911 and say someone needed help at any of these locations... we would have no records showing that any of these locations exist as of now. Pretty scary fact that it would delay any emergency response to this locations. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to email me at
Mad Zach April 23, 2012 08:47PM
These photos were taken with a Celestron digital microscope of some quartz formations I dug up from the lead mines near Wurtzboro Airport. Amoung the clear quartz, and the lemon-yellow and orange-brown citrines, there are occaissional red crystals such as in these photos. Is it correct to say these are "red quartz" crystals?
open | download - Image6 (2).jpg (425.2 KB)
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miner dan April 23, 2012 09:00PM
Hey guys, From the getgo we only shared locations with folks on our team. David Bernstein is a member and knows all these places. Only a few handful of people know. Its kinda like our intellectual property we worked hard to find them, hiked allot, spent allot. Plus there is liability in sharing the locals. If someone were missing in a mining area calll NJ search and rescue. My partner Bob Mykytka from the ramapo division is a lieutenant, he would know where to look in the area and is trained in technical mine rescue.

Bob Harman April 23, 2012 10:40PM
MAD ZACH I don't profess to know a lot about your quartz, but I am a purist. Here in Indiana our quartz geodes are often discolored on the crystal surfaces by iron/rust staining. All shades of yellow thru orange to reddish and rusty reddish surface stained colors can be found. I don't consider this "citrine" or "red quartz" at all as the stain can easily be removed or at least lightened up with household iron out rust remover. The quartz crystals themselves are probably not colored. You might call your quartz "citrine colored" or "red colored" but that's just what I feel; maybe someone else feels differently.
stone July 15, 2012 09:40PM
Zach it looks like you found some of the Metacinnabar (mercury ore) handsomly deposited and quite probable given the Wurtsboro locale frequency of this remarkable occurance!! As far as Citrine on the ridge, yes Iron/Hematite attributes for staining that is nicely removable. As far as Exceptions to this rule... I hope the floater from my AU naturale Mountain brewed rootbeer floater pocket settles that debate;)
stone July 20, 2012 11:03AM
Citrine Quartz from Ellenville
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Ian Merkel July 20, 2012 03:14PM

Not citrine, just quartz with FeOx staining along grain boundaries. Sorry. They are pretty little gems though!

Ari Rosenbach July 21, 2012 11:11AM
Stone, is that from the Berne Road Park quarry, or from someplace else in the area? I was very briefly in the quarry a few months ago. I managed to find some small quartz crystals and pieces of pyrite without much labor, but didn't really have time to poke around. I'll probably be heading back there in a few days, as luck would have it, and I'd love to know if there are other nice places nearby.
hal schupak June 24, 2014 08:55PM
Hi all. I spent many summers. In. Ellenville and high view. In the 60s. I'd love to explore them with someone from the trip state area. I am in the the NYC area. And an avid. Mineral. Collector.
Susan Robinson June 24, 2014 10:39PM
The New York State Museum in Albany has many specimens from Ellenville, some on display, which have the especially the large chalcopyrite crystals on quartz that occurred in the mine. It's a classic locality for the chalco xls, and the rarely found brookite crystals. My husband and i just happened to stop to stay over in Ellenville on the way home when the huge quartz pockets were uncovered by construction. He sat inside one of them and collected many crystals.
The garnets from the Barton mine are huge, but very fractured, and most cut gems from there are very dark, and show very little bright red color. Years ago, areas that were partially taken over with wild plants in the pit had lots of sundew plants on the ground, which I found equally as interesting as the garnets.
HV Underground November 25, 2014 02:42AM
Greg, I see this was posted a while ago, did you ever get inside the cave? I'm actually a caver and in a group of people that find and dig open new caves in the northeast called the rockeaters. I would love to get in contact with you and check it out. If there's cave there we can find it. You can get ahold of me on Facebook at hvunderground845
Catskills collecting May 12, 2015 10:40PM
Could you please help me find good collecting locations in and around ellenville. I have been to the upper wurtsboro mine. And would love to come back and visit in a week or two. Please help:)
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