No Filter: All that glitters, dig it at Sparkle Mountain

MOHAVE COUNTY, Arizona – Whether you call it Sparkle Mountain, Glitter Mountain, the Glitter Pit or simply a brilliant find, you are probably talking about the same place. Located approximately 10 miles south of St. George, is a small piece of heaven for rockhounds, kids, nature lovers and family adventures.

In Episode 26 of the “No Filter Show,” co-hosts Paul Ford and Grady Sinclair mine some minerals and are in for quite the surprise when they try and pawn them off.


Watch the “No Filter” video, click play arrow  play-arrow  in center of video at top of story

That’s not glass

Mineral Resource Map | Image courtesy of Arizona Geological Survey at http://www.azgs.az.gov/minerals_mining.shtml, St. George News
Gypsum deposit shown in criss-cross pink, upper lefthand corner of the AZGS Mineral Resource Map | Image courtesy of Arizona Geological Survey at http://www.azgs.az.gov/minerals_mining.shtml, St. George News | Click on map to enlarge

Though it may appear to be a hill of broken glass, Sparkle Mountain is a mineral deposit. There are no mine shafts there today – just gouges in the hillside where the glittery mineral has been dug out.

Pure selenite is transparent and colorless, or very lightly colored, and easily splits into sheets. It is a variety of gypsum that forms in distinct crystals.

This particular deposit is referred to locally by a variety of names, including the old mica mine. Selenite can easily be mistaken for mica but the two are are not the same.

The Arizona Geological Survey’s Mineral Resource Map (see inset) designates this deposit as gypsum.

Designations vary and an evaluation of the minerals in this area is beyond the scope of this “No Filter” feature.

It’s a made-for-kids natural delight

Perhaps the brightest note in this feature is that kids really love this place. Its quick and fun for family night or a Saturday excursion. Bring water and a few snacks. Gloves would have been nice but not particularly necessary. Small buckets will come in handy for collecting some glitter.

“We ran into a rockhound at the glitter pit,” Paul Ford said after shooting his episode. “She said if you soak the selenite in pool water (chlorine), the ‘rocks’ clean up very nicely with added clarity.”

Sparkle Mountain, glitter pit at GPS coordinates N 36 58.715 W 113 27.832 map | Map courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News
Sparkle Mountain, glitter pit at GPS coordinates N 36 58.715 W 113 27.832 map | Map courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News | Click on map to enlarge or google the coordinates for a responsive Google map

Directions to the mine

The mine is easily accessible and four-wheel drive is not required. Driving time was about 20 to 25 minutes from St. George.

The exact GPS location of this mine is: N 36 58.715 W 113 27.832

  • From the Washington Wal-Mart, located at 625 W. Telegraph Street, head east on Telegraph Street
  • Turn south on Washington Fields Road
  • When you have made it to Southern Parkway, you are about 10 miles away
  • Head south on the dirt road (Arizona Strip)
  • You will pass some houses at the Utah and Arizona border. When you see the houses, continue south
  • Drive another 1.6 miles and you will see sparkle mountain on the right side (to the west)

“Be safe and have fun! Until next time, Paul & Grady … out.”

St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic and Assistant Editor Kimberly Scott contributed to this “No Filter” article.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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6 Comments

  • Rochelle February 15, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    my son when he was five he got a bunch of the mica and dyed it with food coloring and sold it door to door he made a bunch of money so you can make money with this lol

  • Rochelle February 15, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    ride a bull while being tazed

  • Billy Madison February 16, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I’d rather be tased by a cop.

    • Mesaizacd February 17, 2015 at 12:08 am

      Why.? all you would do is cry about it and complain no one is moderating the police officer. whaaaaaaaa. whaaaaaaaa

  • Candice February 16, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Just FYI…There were about a dozen people driving around the area today looking for “Sparkle Mountain” and ended up at a dead end with construction going on. If this happens to you on your road trip to “Sparkle Mountain” you have went too far and have passed the turn off to your destination. As you are driving down the dirt road you will pass some old cattle corrals and you will see the homes on the west side of the road. You will need to turn right, there may still be a bright pink ribbon tied to an old wood post at the turn, and pass over a cattle guard. Stay on this road for 1.6-1.8 miles until you see all the beautiful sparkle to your right. You can’t miss it. Hope this helps get people out there instead of falling short at the dead end. It is beautiful and so much fun for the kids. Now get off the couch and get exploring.

  • Amanda November 25, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    This is not mica. Mica and gypsum are different. Selenite has some similarities to mica but they are different. 🙂

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