I wrote about the Forrest Fenn treasure back in 2015 and even discussed some of the details with Forrest himself but even I was not really sure it was more than a hoax. Today however, we know the story is real. The famed art and antiquities collector has confirmed that a treasure hunter “from the East” has found the $1 million treasure he hid in 2010.

Fenn did not reveal where the treasure was found, only that it was found in the wilderness in the Rocky Mountains “a few days ago”. The treasure was confirmed by Fenn through a photograph the man sent him.

The lockbox Fenn filled with treasure is a treasure itself – it dates to about 1150 AD. It measures 10x10x5, weighs 42 pounds (including its contents), and is constructed of ancient bronze. Fenn filled the box with gold nuggets (hundreds, some as large as a chicken egg), 265 gold coins (mostly American eagles and double eagles), rare coins, pre-Columbian gold animal figures, jewelry (including a Spanish 17th century gold-and-emerald ring and a bracelet with turquoise beads excavated in 1898 from Mesa Verde which Fenn says he would like back if the treasure is found while he is still alive), and gemstones – hundreds of rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and two Ceylon sapphires. Oh, and a 20,000 word autobiography sealed in a glass jar.

The Finder, revealed to be medical student and former journalist, Jack Stuef, said it took him 25 days to locate the treasure in one specific area.

He claimed to have solved the riddle in 2018, but it still took him another two years to locate the actual chest.


“This treasure hunt was the most frustrating experience of my life. There were a few times when I, exhausted, covered in scratches and bites and sweat and pine pitch, and nearing the end of my day’s water supply, sat down on a downed tree and just cried alone in the woods in sheer frustration.”

It is estimated that more than 350,000 people have searched for the treasure. Some quit there jobs to do so. Some died trying to find it.

The original Forrest Fenn poem with clues to the treasure’s location

Below is the full text of the Forrest Fenn hidden treasure poem. In the poem, there are nine clues, likely in chronological order. You can read more about Forrest Fenn’s fabled treasure here.

As I have gone alone in there

And with my treasures bold,

I can keep my secret where,

And hint of riches new and old.

Begin it where warm waters halt

And take it in the canyon down,

Not far, but too far to walk.

Put in below the home of Brown.

From there it’s no place for the meek,

The end is ever drawing nigh;

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,

Just heavy loads and water high.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,

Just take the chest and go in peace.

So why is it that I must go

And leave my trove for all to seek?

The answers I already know,

I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.

So hear me all and listen good,

Your effort will be worth the cold.

If you are brave and in the wood

I give you title to the gold.

Was Forrest Fenn’s treasure in Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado

I had long wondered if the treasure was in Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado. Either that one of the other places mentioned in my original article (e.g. his favorite fishing hole). Why? Because Forrest Fenn contacted me personally about some of the information I shared. I wondered if Forrest specifically searched for the location of his treasure along with the words “Forrest Fenn” or something to that effect in order to see if someone came close. It was shortly after I added this piece to the article that he contacted me. It was a post by an unknown treasure hunter who felt certain he knew where the treasure was located.

I think the treasure is hidden in Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado… Let me explain:

Begin it where warm waters halt

In Dinosaur National Monument, there’s a cliff titled “Warm Springs Cliff”, and at the base of that cliff on the other side of the Yampa river, there are a couple of actual warm springs, I think this is where he’s telling us to start.

And take it in the canyon down,

Even though it’s not a canyon per say, he could be talking about going down to the base of the cliff where the actual warm springs are, and not the cliff of the same name.

Not far, but too far to walk.

The base of the cliff isn’t far, but you can’t just walk down the cliff, you gotta get to the other side by driving.

Put in below the home of Brown.

Dinosaur National Monument is directly below Browns Park National Wildlife Refugee. Another theory is the Yampa river is populated by Brown trout, which could represent Fenn’s hobby of fishing and catching brown trout.

From there it’s no place for the meek,

I have a couple of interpretations for this one… I’m thinking it’s either a reference to Dinosaurs, which have a connotation to be frightening. My other theory is the Yampa river is fairly treacherous, full of rapids, so not a place for the meek!

The end is drawing ever nigh;

You’re getting close to the treasure.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek, Just heavy loads and water high.

This one is a bit of a stretch, but I’m thinking he’s saying the water is high, as in elevation (above 5,000 feet) and I believe the heavy loads are heavy loads of water from the bustling river. As for the “No paddle up your creek”, I’m thinking he’s telling us we need not venture into the dangerous waters of the river, that his treasure can be accessed safely from the shore of the river. That or he’s telling us that we can’t paddle up stream (if accessing by raft) since the rapids are fairly wild, and that your boat will be taking in ‘heavy loads’ of water from the rapids. I know I know, a stretch, but I thought it was worth considering.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, Look quickly down, your quest to cease But tarry scant with marvel gaze, Just take the chest and go in peace.

Thanks to Google street view, someone from Google rode down the river with a camera giving us a good view into the riverbank. Check this out.

This is where I think the treasure is hidden… When I first read “blaze”, my first thought was ‘fire’. At first glance, the cliff across the river has a prominent red area which I initially thought was the giveaway… However, if you turn around 180 degrees, look on the shore… You should notice this rock labeled as ‘1’ which stands out prominently above the rest..

It’s a much deeper shade of red than any of the other rocks and just screams “blaze” to me… If that wasn’t enough, look at the second bubble I circled with ‘2’… That’s a marker (or a blaze) that says “Warm Springs” on it… Recall “start where the warm waters halt”… And a third option is the group of trees between the 2 things I circled, that could be the ‘blaze of trees’ some people talked about. I have a feeling if the treasure is there, it must be hidden underneath that tree shielded by a few rocks and shrubs.

So why is it that I must go And leave my trove for all to seek? The answers I already know I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak So hear me all and listen good, Your effort will be worth the cold. If you are brave and in the wood I give you title to the gold.

He may have hiked in there with the treasure and is now weak from the strain of it… Or he rafted in there (but I think that’s unlikely).

I’m not done yet though… To add more possibility, I read up on Dinosaur National Monument and found out that unlike many natural parks, everywhere in the park is accessible to the public… Which I’m sure Fenn thought about when hiding the treasure since he intended it to be a family adventure and would want to make sure you couldn’t get in too much trouble… Not only that, but there are numerous “back roads” in the park that you are allowed to drive on when conditions allow… I’m not sure where the closest road or back road is to the suspected hiding place since I’m working off of a satellite image of the park, and I’ve only known of the park for the last 24 hours… But I’m assuming there must be one not too far away so that rafters can access the rapids.

Not only that, but the terrain leading up to the suspected area is fairly flat, so it would be accessible to a weary senior like Fenn… And the beach where the rafters are perched looks like a nice place to fish, so maybe Fenn liked to fish for trout there?

Last but not least, Fenn said this quote:

“If I was standing where the treasure chest is, I’d see trees, I’d see mountains, I’d see animals. I’d smell wonderful smells of pine needles, or pinion nuts, sagebrush—and I know the treasure chest is wet.”

This area seems to check all the boxes… If you pan around and view the surroundings on street view (or river view), you can see trees… I don’t see ‘mountains’, but there are sheer beautiful cliffs which he could be alluding to… As for animals… Maybe he’s alluding to fish in the stream, humans rafting down the river (which could also explain how people have been within ‘500 feet’ of the treasure according to Fenn), insects in the air, etc… The biggest red flag to me, is that the suspected tree where I think the treasure is hidden, appears to be a pine tree, more specifically a Colorado pinyon which he specifically mentions (seems kind of odd he’d be so specific). Also, there appears to be sage bush to the direct right of the ‘Warm Springs” post. It all seems to add up. I’m not sure why the chest would be wet, perhaps a small stream goes right under the chest into the river? Maybe an aquifer or spring pops up right next to the chest.

Not to mention the “it’s not in Idaho or Utah” hint seems to indicate that it’s not in New Mexico either. Personally I think he would be direct about it being in New Mexico, if it truly was. I think he’s trying to throw people off. It’d be an obvious conclusion to think it’s hidden in New Mexico, but he might be trying to throw everyone off.

I totally wish I could go there right now and check if it’s there, but sadly I’m just outside Toronto and have no plans at all to be in that area of the country anytime soon. I just don’t have the resources to get out there and look. I know many of you are around Colorado, so I’m putting this out there in hopes that one of you adventurous people will go out looking to see if it’s there. Of course if it is, I would appreciate it if you could think of sharing some of the treasure with me! 😛 Let me know what you guys think… I just have a funny feeling it’s there…

Sources: Sante Fe New Mexican


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