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Collector Created a Treasure Hunt When He Thought He Was Dying and Thousands Are Still Searching for It

When most people think of fortunes to be made in the mountains they think of panning for gold and suddenly striking it rich by finding a huge nugget of the good stuff. But, for modern day treasure hunters, the Rocky Mountains hold another kind of treasure. In the past few years 3 people have died while looking for this treasure, and many more have quit their day jobs or sunk their life savings into also searching for this supposed treasure. This mysterious treasure was hidden by an eccentric man, a collector named Forrest Fenn.

Some Background on the Treasure

In 2010 Forrest Fenn published a poem-riddle in which 9 clues are described as to where the chest which contains gold, rubies, and other gems is buried, supposedly in the Rocky Mountains. Fenn is a collector of various valuable items, including jewels, art, Native American artifacts, and other precious objects.

Fenn, who lives in New Mexico, had said at the time that he wanted to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and our national parks. Fenn also said he wanted to give some hope to those who had lost so much in the 2008 housing market crash by offering a valuable treasure to the person who could successfully follow his clues. Fenn has also said that he wants to encourage young people to get off their devices and get outside more.

The Perils of Treasure Hunting

Unfortunately, since no one has yet found the treasure, people continue die, get hopelessly lost in the mountains, or lose their meager fortunes looking for a bigger one. Many of the people who were search for the Forrest Fenn treasure and needed to be rescued were searching in the proximity of Yellowstone National Park. The area can be notoriously harsh and officials have recently begun to again beg people to think logically before they attempt this treasure hunt, including considering their skill level, the environment, and the worry they will cause others if they get lost or injured.

What makes the problem worse is not only poor cell phone reception, but also the fact those in need of rescue may be cryptic about their location in an attempt to prevent others from finding the treasure first. So why is there so much hype around this loot?

The internet is home to many different sites about the treasure, which fans the flames for those who were already interested. Message boards discuss what the cryptic clues could mean and the horde inside the bronze chest Fenn had specially made for this purpose.

What’s Inside the Chest?

According to Fenn, the chest contains gold nuggets, gold coins, a few diamonds, pre-Columbian carved jade pieces, a silver and turquoise bracelet, as well as carved jade from China, a 17th century emerald ring from Spain, and an autobiography written in tiny font. And that’s just some of what is in the cache, if the image below is to be believed.

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Here’s a neat picture of some of the contents of the chest from an early arrangement of the treasure. Make note of the gold nuggets, of which there over 100, the gemstones, and the artifacts. The two round objects in the center are 300 year old gold and silver hunting case minute repeater watches. These two items did not make it into the final cut of the chest’s contents. Not pictured are two 5 inch Pre-Columbia’s gold mirrors, the Tairona fetish necklace, the revered turquoise row bracelet, the antique gold dragon bracelet with 254 rubies, 6 emeralds, 2 ceylon sapphires, and much, much more. Interested in learning how to find the chest? Check out for great information on the hunt or by clicking the link in the description.

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Fenn assembled the cache after receiving a diagnosis of kidney cancer in 1988 that he thought might the end of his life. But, then he lived and decided to hold off on hiding the treasure. It wasn’t until 2010 that Fenn hid the chest himself and subsequently self-published a book about the horde as well entitled The Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir. The book contains stories from his life as well as the clues about the hidden treasure, which Fenn has pointed out isn’t necessarily buried.

Fenn was a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War and made his millions in art dealing after his time in the military. This means he has an extremely good eye for investment pieces. The chest’s contents are rumored to be worth as much as $5 million, which does explain why so many are clamoring to find it. A small number say it might be a hoax, but most people who are interested in the horde don’t question the reality of the treasure.

Now at age 87 Fenn is still giving interviews about the chest and treasure and has become somewhat of a legend. His stories on his childhood spending time in Yellowstone in the summers have further led seekers to believe that the treasure is hidden in the park. Watch the video below to understand why so many people have become obsessed with Fenn’s treasure hunt and his personality.

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