Hunting for Fenn’s treasure

One day this summer, I stumbled across an article about Forrest Fenn’s treasure and shared it with my 8-year-old nephew, J. He was very interested and wanted to go look for the treasure. So, we sat down and tried to crack the clues. We used a map to try to figure out where to start and then drove up to the area to search! This is the story of our hunt for Fenn’s treasure.

The treasure

After stumbling across an article on Forrest Fenn's treasure, my nephew and I set out to find it. The clues led us to Jemez National Forest.

First search area along the San Antonio River near Jemez Springs, NM.

Legend has it that a bronze treasure chest full of gold and gems worth millions is hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Forrest Fenn, an 85-year-old art dealer and millionaire, says he hid the treasure himself in his book, *The Thrill of the Chase. The book is his memoir and includes a poem which contains nine clues to the location of the treasure. Since that 2010 publication, he’s published another book, *Too Far to Walk, which contains a map of the full area where the treasure could be. Additionally, Fenn has published a few new clues on his website.

The search

We used the clues and zeroed in on an area in the Jemez National Forest in New Mexico. We thought that “where warm waters end” might be a reference to one of the numerous hot springs along the San Antonio River. We started our map search at San Antonio Hot Springs and worked our way down the “river” (it’s more of a creek, really) to identify search areas. We created a map with a few search areas marked.

We packed an ice chest with lunch, snacks and lots of water. We grabbed a compass and a camera and set off on our adventure! My brother and my two nephews served as my treasure hunting team.

After stumbling across an article on Forrest Fenn's treasure, my nephew and I set out to find it. The clues led us to Jemez National Forest.

Battleship Rock, New Mexico

When we reached our first search area, we realized that the road we thought we could drive up was closed to vehicles. Unfortunately this would have left us with a three mile hike in, and we didn’t think 3-year-old S was going to make that. Instead, we headed back towards our second location when we noticed a turn off we didn’t know about. There was a small campsite with fishing areas along the river and a small but decent trail running downstream. We took the kids and walked alongside the river a short distance, though it was a little tough going for the little ones. J kept yelling about “pure nature” and found a stick he named Stick Buddy. We found a weird piece of polished wood with a white stripe on it in the creek, and I tried to get close enough to check it out, but it was pretty muddy and I couldn’t safely get to it. It didn’t seem like there was a bronze chest under or near it.

We found some tables and had our picnic lunch there. Next, we decided to check out Battleship Falls campgrounds and see what we could see around the area. We drove over and parked and found that the area was full of people – the parking lots, the trail and even throughout the river. We figured there was no way a treasure would remain hidden in such a popular spot and decided to call it a day.

While we left empty-handed, we had fun and I think the kids really enjoyed getting close to “pure nature.”

Links to treasure hunting blogs

While we are pretty casual treasure hunters, there are many people who are very serious about this. In fact, there are several blogs and books dedicated to finding Fenn’s treasure. We read through lots of this information as we worked to figure out our own solutions, and even came across people who searched in the same area we did. Here are my favorite online resources:

Official Thrill of the Chase page (Old Santa Fe Trading Co)

Dal Neitzel

Mysterious Writings

I’d like to go back up one day and check out the three mile walk, though I think we’ll have to leave the little ones at home. Maybe we’ll just have to wait until they are bigger and can make the walk! Gonna need someone to help carry the treasure back, after all.

Have you ever searched for (or found) hidden treasure? Did you know about Fenn’s treasure? Tell me in the comments!

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