There are many fun outdoor things to do in Transylvania County, including one that goes below the surface — gem mining. The following locations in the county are available:
•Bear Tracks Travel Center is located at 10932 Rosman Highway on the way toward Lake Toxaway and Sapphire. Bear Tracks has an outdoor covered flume allowing gem seekers to while away the hours. A 2.5-quart “kids bucket” of mixed stones costs $10, while a 2-gallon mixed bucket costs $20. For $50, you can search for gems in a 5-gallon bucket. For more information, call (828) 862-8992 or go to www.beartrackstravelcenter.com.
•Pisgah Forest Gem Mine is located at 3338 Asheville Highway and offers indoor and outdoor mining. A 1-gallon bucket costs $10 while a 2-and-a-half gallon bucket costs $20 and a 4-and-a-half gallon bucket cots $30. The gem mine also offers specialty ruby, emerald and fossil buckets from $50 to $75, plus special group rates. The mine is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, call (828) 367-8330 or go to www.pisgahforestgemmining.com.
•Crystal Mountain Gem Mine is located on South Broad Street in Brevard. Treasure seekers may try their luck at an indoor 52-foot-long indoor water flume. Everything you find, you get to keep, including rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethyst and quartz crystals. For more information, call (828) 877-4700 or go to www.crystalmarketminingcompany.com. The mine is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
•Mountain Treasures Gem Mine is located at 15835 Rosman Highway, Lake Toxaway. For more information, call (828) 966-4334. •Whitewater Equestrian Center, located at 1350 N.C. 281S. in Sapphire, also offers gem mining. For more information, call (828) 966-9646 or go to www.funhorsebackriding.com.