About Rimstones Rock Club Field Trips

Field Trips

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Please note: Club events including field trips, meetings, service activities, and our annual holiday party will be listed on the monthly Calendar page!

The sign says it all… Welcome to Rim Country. It is here that the Payson Rimstones call home. The surrounding area has an abundance of fossils – like corals, snails, clams, brachiopods, gastropods, sponges, crinoids, trace fossils, to name a few; minerals – including gem-worthy crystals in a variety of colors; and rocks – anyone like petrified wood or pretty agates?

Favorite Locations

Typically, the Club plans a couple of local Club rock-hounding trips each month, weather permitting. We also keep an eye out for trips sponsored by other clubs and locales that might be of interest to members. The Club has numerous local rock-hounding options – on the Rim searching for fossils, in the Payson area gathering geodes and brightly-colored agates for polishing, or seeking that perfect crystal at Diamond Point. For those who are willing to adventure a little further, you can find petrified wood, picture sandstone, peridot, copper ores, amethyst, Apache Tears, and more.

Petrified Wood Find

While there are quite a few dedicated field trippers who rarely miss an outing, in most months groups of about 5-20 form naturally around factors such as specific rocks and minerals native to the trip area, driving distance, the walking terrain, etc.

The following summaries are from field trips we have taken in the past year. We tend to vary the locations from year to year to keep everyone interested and the experiences fresh.


March 2024

3/6/2024 – Cave Creek/Seven Springs

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

Mike Morrow Onyx Souvenit

Mike Morrow Onyx Souvenir

Fifteen Rimstones Rockhounds rendezvoused northeast of Cave Creek, AZ on Wed March 6th for a morning and afternoon gathering onyx that ranged from tumbling size to several pounds. The weatherman cooperated with warm temps, overcast skies and little wind until the afternoon when it was time to depart. Everyone came away with great banded onyx souvenirs – and a little bonus of small chrysocolla pieces. We picked in the hills and washes near an old, abandoned onyx quarry – which, for years, has been a favorite field trip location for many clubs. After the Rimstone picking was done, most of the group enjoyed a picnic lunch together.

3/2/2024 – LGF Museum

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

Over 30 Rimstones members went to the private museum of the LGF Foundation in Scottsdale on Sat March 2nd and met with owner Michael Fleeman to see his amazing displays of meteorites, petrified wood, specimens, fossils and artifacts. Michael told about his plans for a huge natural history museum in Phoenix, and he relayed stories behind many of his specimens. Since last May, more than 55 club members have visited this up-close-and personal museum.

February 2024

2/21/2024 – Hewitt Canyon

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

This was a joint hunt with the Daisy Mountain rock club for marble. In all, nearly 40 rockhounds got striped marble souvenirs from washes and hillsides. This trip was worth it – just for the scenic eye candy.

January 2024

1/27/2024 – Camp Verde

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

On Sat Jan 27, Johann Glauber was smiling down on the two dozen of us as we combed two areas near the closed Salt Mines, scrambling for interesting-shaped minerals called glauberites, or more technically correct, Pseudomorph Glauberites. The weather was perfect – 65 degrees, sunny, no wind… and plenty of material to take home. We had two new members on their inaugural trip and a couple of very interested kids (ages 4-6) who were expert glauberite hunters by the day’s end. A few of our mountain goats hiked the soft soil to the top of the mountain behind the mine to find some beautiful glauberite pseudomorphs with clear to gray selenite crystals.

1/21/2024 – Dobell Ranch

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

This pay-to-collect site, SE of Holbrook, always pleases us rockhounds. Rhonda and her crew pulled some amazing beauties from their underground hiding places and placed them around her yard for our pickers. Our group was part of a coalition of members from several clubs, led by Bill Freese. If you missed this trip, don’t worry. We will have a couple more chances to visit this year.

October 2023

10/3/2023 – Wild, Windy Weekend of Field Trips

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

Holbrook FindWe closed September and launched October on wild, windy weekend of field trips, including 4 locations and 6 stops in Holbrook and Snowflake. Nine Four Corners’s rock club members (from Colo, NM and KS) traveled to Arizona for a Petrified Wood Safari led by the Payson Rimstones Rock Club –which brought two dozen members from Tucson, Sedona, Forest Lakes, Phoenix as well as Payson.

The Holbrook area is one of those Western-US expanses where the parched, scenic grandeur surpasses the beauty of the rocks collected. Well, almost – that is probably a bit too poetic. We really love our varieties of fossilized woods. Members also found rounded agates (capable of taking a fine polish) and a few marine fossils.

We had 27 on field trips on Saturday, 38 to Dobell Ranch for petrified wood and 30 to Triassic Park. At one point we had a motorcade of 18 vehicles – and no one got lost. One member of the Four Corners club drove 11 hrs from Kansas. He liked what the Rimstones do so much that he joined our club, too. During the two days on BLM land, the rockhounds only saw a couple of other vehicles near collecting sites and none were looking for rocks.

An add-on trip to “Triassic Park,” near Snowflake, AZ, was the trip finale. Here, members saw recently unearthed pre-dinosaur footprints at a private ranch. A second trek is planned on Tues Oct 17th to James Lang’s Triassic Park where he explains how he found these prints and shows the small quarry where he extracted them.

Members of the two cordial rock clubs exchanged information about rock collecting sites and gave out contact details – with hints of joint trips to the Four Corners area, New Mexico or closer to Payson, AZ.

September 2023

9/23/2023 – Cross-Town Yard Rock Giveaway

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

Free rocks to a rock club and located a few feet from a paved street. That was a no-brainer for the two dozen of us who showed up that September Saturday – including several brand-new members. Rocks were donated by Betty and Gordon Kennedy (long time Rimstones members) through new homeowner, Charlene Creech. To new Payson homes went sandstones, flagstones, jaspers, obsidian, chalcedony and more yard and other rocks than you could shake a stick at. Several crews led by Lynne Wheeler preceded the event and sorted rocks by size and type. Member, John Metzer, moved a couple tons of rock from the back yard to a spot near the street – using a wheelbarrow and muscle.

9/2/2023 – East of Heber, AZ

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

Enjoying Field Trip East of Heber

From Payson to Heber, the Heberwood Express once again chugged back to our Pet-wood club location (with an extension) and to two new sites (Summer 2023). Lots of smiles from happy hunters (including four on their inaugural rock hunt with Rimstones). All found petrified woods of various shapes, sizes and colors. Two of the sites will remain for-our-Rimstones-members’-eyes-only – meaning not shared with other clubs.

"Heberwood"Some of the petrified wood was jasperized (red) and some was agatized. Most pieces had bark and rings and will make great shelf pieces or slabs ’n cabs. There were a few lunkers that made some members drool and made the rest of us wish our backs were 25 yrs younger. About half of us visited the 3rd site – on narrow, brushy forest roads that were slow, rocky and bumpy, and did not have route markers.

It was a great day – no one got lost, hurt, or asked for their money back. If you missed the Heberwood Express, don’t panic; I plan to run the “train” there 1-2 more times this year.

August 2023

8/17/2023 – Young Road AZ

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

About a dozen Club members traveled to this forested Mogollon Rim spot – where we grabbed a half a dozen small trilobites (mostly found by Ron McCollum and Valarie Finn), some fossil plates and miscellaneous marine fossils. We saw more Zebra chert than you could shake a stick at (which is a lot.) The first location was one for any vehicle. Later, we piled into our high-clearance vehicles to travel down a semi-steep, bumpy, rocky road to the bottom of a ravine where we picked washes and the sides of the hills. More of the same, plus some hematite pieces, agates and a nice seam of calcite – mostly crystals of white, green and orange-gold, but not the Banded calcite found earlier in the year. I saw a lot of smiles – especially from our 4th grader Orion and granddad Eric Randau.

8/12/2023 – Colcord Road AZ

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

On the 12th, the Club had planned to go to Roberts Mesa (agates, fossils and lava tubes). However, the weather forced a change of plans. Instead, about 30 Club members took Colcord Road to the Chamberlain Trail and, near Haigler Creek, stopped to sample the fossils and zebra chert. It wasn’t a minute before Valarie Finn said, “Is this a trilobite?” It was and it was a nice one. Also found were lots of other fossils (horned corals, bryozoans, brachiopods) and zebra cherts of varying sizes and color variations (white, gray, black and rust).

July 2023

7/27 & 7/29 2023 – Mogollon Rim Above Strawberry, AZ

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

Group Picture from July 27th 2023 Field Trip

Group Picture July 27th 2023

Nearly 30 club members, family and guests participated on two delightful, easy trips during the last week in July for fossils and sandstones on the Rim above Strawberry. The finds included nice pieces of banded and colored sandstones and fossils that included sponges, brachiopods, burrows and a few Ivanovia (algae).

At the last spot, near the turn toward Camp Verde, we enjoyed more fossil hunting, our snacks, and beverages under the tall, pine forest – along with the comradery and conversations of new and seasoned rockhounds bragging about and showing their Best Rocks of the Day. During the lunch break, I even saw something from my childhood – a fluffernutter – and someone was eating it. I don’t want to spoil the culinary punch line or mystery of this New England “delicacy.” Google it. Several members had never been on a field trip with us. Good for them… it was great to have them join us.

June 2023

6/14/2023 – Forest Lakes, AZ

Trip Leader: Lynne Wheeler

As part of the Club’s Annual Picnic in the Forest Lakes area, members rock-hounded for Coconino Sandstone musket balls. The weather was great and the excitement was high as fifty-three members (and about eight canine buddies) attended this field trip. These interesting conglomerations form when the calcium in limestone, fine-grained quartz sand and water are in the right environment to “create” the classic marble-shaped formations. The picking location is accessible only because FR 99 was constructed through a region of the Coconino Sandstone layer which exposed the unique formation. As a result, everyone was able to find and take home their perfect specimen.

April 2023

4/14/2023 – Joseph City, AZ

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

Sunny skies and “gentle” breezes met 17 Rimstone family members (and four well-mannered dogs) on our rock hunt near Joseph City. Our mission was to visit a couple new spots for our rock club – looking for various kinds of petrified woods and agates. Some of the petrified wood was dark – with reddish and brown hues and some with greens and yellows. Another site produced pieces that were black-and-white or white with sugary crystals. We also found some interesting selenite pieces that looked like flower blooms. Material ranged from tumbler- to yard-rock sizes.

March 2023

3/19/2023 – Holbrook, AZ
3/20/2023 –
 Whispering Pines, Diamond Point, AZ

Trip Leader: Rollo Pool

Arkansas Club Trip PhotosAlas, our frequently dry and sunny Arizona weather gave way to torrential downpours the same week our friends from the NW Arkansas Gem and Mineral Society joined the Payson Rimstones Rock Club for a 3-day rock hunting extravaganza.

On Sunday, March 19th, the rockhounders visited DoBell Ranch. Our two groups probably took a ton or more to homes in Payson, Phoenix and Arkansas. We split the afternoon into two trips. Some went to Woodruff Butte and found beautiful material. Most of us traveled to our usual club location in Joseph City and gathered black-and-white petrified wood, rounded agates, and a few nice, crystalized pieces of petrified wood.

On Monday, March 20th, the rains held off and members of both clubs scurried out to find geodes, fossils and quartz crystals. The group shot at the top shows everybody posed in front of the Petrified Wood gift shop in Holbrook, AZ.

Somebody found  an amazing fossil plate on Geode Hill!

At the bottom left is a photo of Petrified Wood arrayed for the picking at the side of the road.

And then the rains came in earnest.

Before leaving Payson, our intrepid source of beautiful rocks and helpful information, Lynne Wheeler, invited the ARK Club to hunt through her backyard “rock shop” for souvenirs of their long journey.

We hope to welcome our friends from the NW Arkansas Gem and Mineral Society again on some sunnier day in the future!

Photos and field trip stories on this page thanks to Rimstones Rock Club members