The Estes Park Rock Shops You MUST Visit When in Town

I have to be honest a, I’ve never been one to visit rock shops in the past.

Don’t get me wrong, geology is fascinating and I’ve always been drawn to the unique rock formations found across the country, especially in the southwest. But I just never felt drawn to visit rock shops in the past.

However, I’m glad that I did recently at Estes Park because it’s home to two fantastic rock shops.

Estes Park Rock Shops: Must-Stop Sites

There are two main rocks shops in Estes Park: Red Rose Rock Shop and Ore Cart Rock Shop.

Both of the shops are worth visiting but they are also very different from each other.

Red Rose Rock Shop is more of a rock shop + road side attraction, boasting bulky portions of raw minerals, a wide range of fossils, and even boulders. It also has its fair share of beautifully polished gemstones and brilliant amethysts that will blow you away. It’s touted as a museum and it’s a place where you might spend more time wandering about with its spacious outdoor area located on the river.

The Ore Cart Rock Shop feels more like a premium gift shop with a large selection of jewelry, gemstones, and many beautifully polished minerals and rocks. If you’re looking to purchase a stunning piece of jewelry or a fine piece of gemstone this is probably the place you want to go.

Both of these shops have a fair amount of overlap but because each of these rock shops is a little bit different I highly recommend that you check out both of them when in Estes Park. To give you a sense of what to expect inside the shops, I’ll give you a little tour of both of them.

Red Rose Rock Shop

Inside the Red Rose Rock Shop

The Red Rose Rock Shop is located a four minutes away from the central downtown area by vehicle. Its address is: 490 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517.

You’ll find it along Hwy 36 and it’s hard to miss the sign for “Dicks Rock Museum.”

It’s a little confusing because all you see is a sign with “Rock Shop” on the outside in addition to the museum sign and you don’t actually see a sign that says “Red Rose Rock Shop.” But this is the spot.

Red Rose Rock Shop

As soon as we entered we found a brilliant amethyst geode standing a few feet tall.

Amethysts of course are known for their stunning purple coloration, which is a result of iron impurities in the quartz crystal. Amethyst is a variety of quartz and is one of the most popular and sought-after gemstones.

It’s believed to have spiritual and healing properties, usually associated with promoting calmness, clarity of mind, and protection against negative energies. You’ll be able to find plenty of these throughout the shop.

Red Rose Rock Shop

While there are a lot of raw minerals you can find here, there is also a good selection of fine polished rocks coming in all sorts of different shapes and sizes.

Red Rose Rock Shop

One of the most interesting items they had was a woolly mammoth tooth, which was found in the north sea! To get your hands on something like this, it’s going to run you $3,000.

Red Rose Rock Shop woolly mammoth tooth

If you are into fossils, you’ll find plenty of fish fossils and other marine animals of all different sizes. For the large fossils you’re looking at about $1,000+ but for the smaller ones you can find them for under $50.

Red Rose Rock Shop Fish fossils
Red Rose Rock Shop Fish fossils

They also have plenty of geodes and amethyst in the back so don’t miss those! For one of the large geodes like the one you see below on the very left of the top shelf, you’re looking at about $350.

Red Rose Rock Shop amethyst

After you wander through the shop (making sure not to miss any of the rooms), you can head outside where you’ll find some mini silos of rocks from various parts of the country and globe. You’ll find everything from seashells from the South Pacific to huge pieces of sharp black obsidian glass from Utah. You can touch and handle these rocks, but gloves might be required for some of the sharper substances.

Red Rose Rock Shop outdoor rocks
Red Rose Rock Shop seashells
Red Rose Rock Shop outdoor rocks

One of the most interesting rocks outside was the Yule Marble.

Yule Marble is a rare and highly prized type of marble known for its pristine white color and exceptional purity. It was named after the Yule Creek Valley in Colorado, where it was first discovered.

This marble has been used in numerous iconic structures, including the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is also used in the floor of the Colorado State Capitol building (along with other materials like a rare rose onyx).

Red Rose Rock Shop yule marble

If you’re in the market for huge chunks of petrified wood or boulders they have those for sale that you can find scattered around the premises.

Red Rose Rock Shop boulders

And did I mention the shop is located along the beautiful river?

Red Rose Rock Shop river

Inside the shop, you’ll find some food that you can use to feed ducks at the nearby pond.

It’s just a few steps away from the store in the back area and it’s a cool little stroll you can do where you’ll encounter dozens of ducks and geese. There’s also a coffee shop right on the pond so if you’re in the need of a pick me up you can grab some coffee and relax on one of the benches.

Red Rose Rock Shop pond ducks

Also, when you visit the the Red Rose Rock Shop, there’s another gift shop right next-door which has a lot of metalworks and souvenirs of all sorts, including a lot of different leather works. Since you’re in the area, you might as well stop by and check out what they have.

Inside the Ore Cart Rock Shop

The other rock shop worth checking out is The Ore Cart Rock Shop.

This shop is located in the middle of downtown so if you’re ever exploring the River Walk or just in the middle of Elkhorn Avenue where all of the restaurants and shops are, it’s really convenient to check out this place. It’s address is: 119 W Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517.

The Ore Cart Rock Shop feels like a more upscale gift shop compared to the Red Rose Rock Shop. Inside you’ll find shelves lined with stunning items like petrified wood, gemstones, and all sorts of beautiful crystals.

Ore Cart Rock Shop

From sandstone formations in Arizona to the labradorite specimens sourced from Madagascar, this rock shop offers a remarkable variety of materials that showcase the geological wonders of different regions.

Ore Cart Rock Shop snadstone

Labradorite, specifically, is a fascinating feldspar mineral known for its iridescent play of colors, often referred to as “labradorescence.” This optical phenomenon creates mesmerizing flashes of vibrant hues, ranging from blues and greens to golds and purples. View the stones from different angles and you may see how flamboyant the color hues can be. The larger book-ends cost around 1300.

Ore Cart Rock Shop Labradorite

Equally mesmerizing was the collection of Agate specimens from Brazil, exhibiting stunning shades of blue and purple. Agate is a variety of chalcedony known for its banded patterns and vibrant colors. The Brazilian Agate, in particular, is highly prized for its captivating hues and exquisite banding, which were brilliantly on display. You can find some amazing pieces for around $200.

Ore Cart Rock Shop  agate

Lots of these rocks and minerals are polished very nicely and would make for a perfect gifts. If you need to ship an order from either one of these rock shops, that can always be arranged.

Ore Cart Rock Shop quartz

The display at the rock shop also showcased a variety of smoky quartz specimens, known for their distinctive brown to grayish-brown color resulting from exposure to gamma rays during their formation process.

Smoky quartz is a common variety of quartz and is widely found in regions such as Brazil, the United States, Switzerland, and Scotland.

Smoky quartz

I thought it was really cool that they had rare black amethyst, a unique variation of amethyst that takes on a black color instead of the traditional purple due to hematite & nickel inclusions along with a higher iron content. The beautiful piece below was going for $225.

Ore Cart Rock Shop Black amethyst

And I really liked the collection of chrysocolla, which bears a resemblance to turquoise but differs because it is a copper-bearing mineral rather than a phosphate mineral like turquoise.

Chrysocolla often displays vibrant shades of blue and green, and its unique patterns and swirls make it a favorite among collectors and jewelry enthusiasts alike.

We had just seen the raw form of this substance at the other rock shop so it was cool to see it in such a beautiful, polished state. You can find beautiful pieces for under $50 although the large, striking pieces may cost you around $600+.

Ore Cart Rock Shop Chrysocolla

And like the Red Rose Rock Shop, you will also find a lot of fossils over at this rock shop. These include dinosaur bones, trilobites, fossil ferns, and mosasaur teeth.

The idea of having pieces that are millions of years old as decorations in your own home is truly fascinating. While the larger and rarer pieces may come with a higher price tag, costing a few thousand dollars, you can also discover smaller fossils available at more reasonable prices, including many for under $20.

Ore Cart Rock Shop fossils
Ore Cart Rock Shop fossils
Ore Cart Rock Shop fossils

Some of the fossils came from the Morrison Formation which was interesting because we had just spent some time checking that out at Dinosaur Ridge which is home to the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the US along with other fossils from the Cretaceous and Jurassic era. If you’re in the Denver area, I highly recommend checking it out!

Ore Cart Rock Shop fossils

Final word

Even if you are not an avid rock collector, when visiting Estes Park it’s a good idea to check out both of these rock shops.

They offer different experiences and have items designed for different crowds. But both of them house hundreds of beautiful rocks and fossils that make them feel like museums at times.

If you’re looking to purchase a unique souvenir or gift for someone, both of these places would be terrific places to start and give you a solid alternative over those cheesy souvenirs so many tourists choose to go with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *