The following questions were posed over the years in our Guestbook. We hope you will find what you're looking for! If not, feel free to contact us. Thanks!

Will I find at least one opal?

First of all, everyone needs to realize that digging for opals is a treasure hunt. Digging opals can be compared to fishing or putting a coin in the slot machine. Some days you get lucky, and another day you may do "so-so," and some days you may get skunked.

What is the fee to dig?


What is the best source, the bank or tailings?

This is a personal choice but the following needs to be considered:

Bank digging is very hard work. It requires swinging a long-handled pick, some short-handle pick swinging, lots of shoveling and raking your area to keep it clean, and making sure you do not overlook any opals. The bank sometimes produces larger specimens than the tailings, although large specimens have been found in the tailing that were overlooked by bank diggers or pushed out with the backhoe.

The tailings digging is less work than that of the bank. The tailings digging requires a lot of raking, some shoveling, and swinging with a small pick to break up dirt clods that contain opals. Walking and crawling around in the tailings can also rewarding.

Do you offer group rates?

Sorry, no group rates.

Do you have handicap accommodations?

We have had handicapped people that have done fine, and others, not so well. Digging at the mine can be difficult in a wheel chair, since getting around in the clods of clay may be tough.

If I find an opal how do I sell it and where do I go to sell it?

We always tell customers that they need to ask in their home town, "Where is my town's Rock and Gem Club?" Usually, there is someone there that might be able to point you in the right direction. Also, we have seen a lot of Virgin Valley Opals for sale on Ebay. We do not buy opals back from our customers, unless it is a piece that really catches our eye.

How should opals be cut and polished?

Again, we recommend connecting with a Rock and Gem club in your hometown. As with many things, the easiest way to learn is directly from someone with a little bit of direct experience.

Who is in charge of the digging area?

Jake Anderson is the lead in charge of mine digging areas.

Do you offer any senior rates?


When is the mine open for digging?

May 13 - Oct. 15, weather permitting.

When is the best time to visit?

The weather is tricky. Watch the forecast for our area (nearest zip code: 89404) and call ahead. Of course, there's no guarantee the forecasters will be right.

Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend are both usually very busy.

Can I still find opals, even if I have no previous mining experience?

Yes! That is why we have guides -- to show you what to look for, and how to dig for the opals. You might just have beginners luck!!!!

What is the closest airport?

Distances to nearby airports are as follows:

Reno, NV:
Boise, ID:
Salt Lake City, UT:
Elko, NV:
Klamath Falls, OR:
310 miles
327 miles
485 miles
256 miles (smaller airport)
195 miles (smaller airport)

What are the closest gas and diesel stations?

Denio Junction, Nev...
Fields, Ore...
Lakeview, Ore...
Winnemucca, Nev...
Klamath Falls, Ore...
34 miles
55 miles
100 miles
140 miles
195 miles

What is the closest place to get propane?

Fields, Ore... 55miles

Where are the nearest full-size grocery stores?

Lakeview, Ore...
Winnemucca, Nev...
100 miles
140 miles

Where do folks usually stay?

In our RV Park or rental cabins
Denio Junction, 35 miles away. 775-941-0171
Fields Station, 55 miles away. 541-495- 2275
Winnemucca, 140 miles away. Many hotels/motels

Do you sell ore?


Can I buy fire opals through the mail?

No, we do not ship any opals.

Do I need reservations?

No reservations are needed for digging. However, you must check in at the Opal Gift shop before you begin.

Reservations are required for the cabin and cottage.

Reservations are recommended for RV spots.

No reservations are needed for tent camping.

Is the road to the mine poor? Do I need a 4-wheel drive?

Passenger cars can travel to the mine. A 4-wheel drive is not required.

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