Mining & Rock Hounding

Winnemucca is located in the center of the Great Basin. The basin and range landscape gives way to a vast array of geological wonders. From hot springs to fault lines, geology buffs will find plenty to explore in the areas surrounding Winnemucca.

Please contact our local BLM and Forest Service offices for more information on exploring public lands.

Nevada is the third largest gold producer in the world. But the Virgin Valley Opal Field in Humboldt County just goes to show that all that glitters in Nevada is not gold.

The field, located 140 miles north of Winnemucca, has been an important producer of opals since it was discovered in the 1800’s. Ranchers and cowboys were the first to collect surface opals from the shallow open pits. Those opals were either curiosities to them or were traded in town for liquor.

Around 1905, demand for the precious stones began increasing. In 1917, after the first mines in the valley were begun, the Roebling Opal, a 2,665-carat find, was discovered. That rock now resides in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. along with 14 other outstanding opal specimens from the Virgin Valley.

Several commercial mining operations, as well as, private claims work the valley today, producing both black and fire opals. Even amateur prospectors are invited to try their hand at locating opals.

*Check the mine website for the most current up-to-date information. Prices and operating hours may vary.

Royal Peacock Opal Mines, Inc

Open: May 15 thru Oct 15 (weather permitting)
Mining Hours: 8 am- 4 pm
Bank Digging: $190 per day- per person
Tailings Digging: $75 per day- per person. Chldren 12 and under with a paid
adult dig free in the mine dumps and tailings only.
Location: 140 miles north of Winnemucca and 35 miles west of Denio.
Directions: Take U.S. Highway 95 north out of Winnemucca to State Route 140 and turn left. Proceed to Denio Junction near the Nevada-Oregon border and follow the signs to the Virgin Valley Ranch & Mines. Always call ahead prior to making the trip out.

Mine phone (summer): (775) 941-0374
Off-season phone: (775) 272-3201
Website: www.royalpeacock.com

Bonanza Opal Mines

Open: May thru September (dates vary-weather permitting)
Mining Hours: 8 am- 4 pm, Wednesday-Sunday
Bank Digging: No bank digging.
Tailings Digging: $70 per day- per person. Children, 12 and under with a paid
adult dig free in the mine dumps and tailings only.
Location: 140 miles north of Winnemucca and 25 miles west of Denio.
Directions: Take U.S. Highway 95 north out of Winnemucca to State Route 140 and turn left. Proceed to Denio Junction near the Nevada-Oregon border and follow the signs to the Virgin Valley Ranch & Mines. Always call ahead prior to making the trip out.

Mine phone (summer): (775) 941-0111  
Off-season phone: (775) 375-5955 
Website: www.bonanzaopals.com

Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine

Open: End of May thru mid-September (weather permitting)
Mining Hours: 8 am- 4 pm
Load Fee: $600 with up to two adults
Tailings Digging: $100 per day- per person. Children 10-15 are half price.
Location: 140 miles north of Winnemucca and 35 miles west of Denio.
Directions: Take U.S. Highway 95 north out of Winnemucca to State Route 140 and turn left. Proceed to Denio Junction near the Nevada-Oregon border and follow the signs to the Virgin Valley Ranch & Mines. Denio Junction is the nearest place for groceries, motels, gas, dining, and gambling.

Mine phone (summer): (775) 941-0270 to make a reservation.
Off-season phone: (541) 312-2679
Website: www.nevadaopal.com