Should the Forrest Fenn treasure hunt be called off?

Should the Forrest Fenn treasure hunt be ended? New Mexico State Police Chief, Pete Kassetas, has asked Fenn to discourage treasure hunters searching for the valuable hidden treasure mentioned in Fenn’s 2010 memoir The Thrill of the Chase.

Forrest Fenn's treasure appears on the back cover of The Thrill of the Chase

Fenn’s treasure appears on the back cover of The Thrill of the Chase

Local and national news outlets have been buzzing about this for the last week. Two weeks ago a treasure hunter’s body was discovered by white-water rafters in the Rio Grande River between Taos and Española. He was the second man (both from Colorado) to die in the last two years while searching for the treasure. Both perished in the river. Our answer to the question is a resounding, “NO!”  Fenn, who was 80 when he hid the treasure, has repeatedly stated that the treasure is not in a dangerous place. When we last visited with him in 2014, he advised, “Don’t be a daredevil!”  He wasn’t when he hid it. “I want all the people that are looking for the treasure chest to understand that they should not go looking anywhere where a 79 or 80 year old man could not carry a 42 pound box,” he added. (Fenn’s latest comments on the treasure can be found here.)

The request for Fenn to terminate the treasure hunt seems a bit unreasonable. Do they ask that rafting be stopped if there’s a fatal rafting accident? Of ask that rock-climbing be banned if a climber has a fatality? Did they outlaw hunting for mushrooms when a woman perished in the Santa Fe National Forest several years ago? Last night’s local news had a story about Search and Rescue out looking for lost hikers. Is a ban on hiking being considered? The answer to all of these is no. So why take a stand on treasure hunting? You’ll have to ask Chief Kassetas.

Want your own copy of The Thrill of the Chase? We’re giving one away. Details at the bottom of this post.

The back story

Forrest Fenn treasure - Steve and Forrest Fenn in Fenn's study in 2014, photo Billie Frank

Steve (left) and Forrest Fenn in Fenn’s study in 2014, photo/Billie Frank

Forrest Fenn has led an interesting life. Some of it is recounted in The Thrill of the Chase, along with clues about where to find the treasure. The book has nine clues. When we last spoke to him, Fenn, a man who plays his cards tight to his vest gave us a few additional clues and an important statement about starting the search. He said that people are missing the most important clue; “begin it where warm waters halt”. When you solve this clue,” he shared, “the others will fall into place. “If you don’t know ‘where warm water halts,’ Fenn said, “You don’t have anything.” The additional clues:

Clue 10
The treasure is hidden higher than 5,000 feet above sea level.
Clue 11
No need to dig up the old outhouses, the treasure is not associated with any structure.
Clue 12
The treasure is not in a graveyard

Clue 13
The treasure is not hidden in Idaho or Utah

Fenn maintains the treasure is still out there. He told us that the person who finds it will be someone with an analytical mind. In his 2013 book, Too Far to Walk Fenn gave yet another clue. He wrote that the treasure is somewhere on the fold-out map in the book. It’s not much of a clue; as the map is only of the US Rockies, but, it eliminates Canada. He said he didn’t realize that he’d done it but, after spending time with Fenn, you wonder. He’s a very deliberate man.

Fenn estimates that over 250,000 people have looked for the treasure. Now that the story has hit the media again, in time for the summer vacation season, a lot more folks will follow. Good news for Fenn who said that one of the reasons he hid the treasure was to get families out into the great outdoors together. The Forrest Fenn treasure is still out there. Will you join the hunt?

If you go

Forrest Fenn Treasure- Don't get done in by Mother Nature, plan carefully when you go out into the wild, photo Steve Collins

Don’t get done in by Mother Nature, plan carefully when you go out into New Mexico’s wild, photo/Steve Collins

Hunt responsibly. New Mexico’s wild areas, just like ones elsewhere in the Rockies demand respect. Make sure to take lots of water, a healthy snack, sunscreen, a hat and your cell phone. If you get lost and there’s service, your phone may save your life. It can pinpoint your location to aid rescue workers. Better yet, don’t get lost. We recommend using a guide if you’re really planning to go off the beaten path. Also be aware that there are rattlesnakes and other critters such as bears out there. Do some research about how to handle animal encounters before you go out there. Good luck and stay safe.

Want to win a copy of The Thrill of the Chase?

We’re giving away a copy of the Forest Fenn treasure hunt book. If you want to enter to win, like us on Facebook and leave a comment here telling us that you’ve liked us and why you want to win the book. We’ll hold a random drawing at the end of July. (Giveaway only open to people living in the US.)

More from Santa Fe Travelers on the Forrest Fenn treasure

Forrest Fenn: The Thrill of the Chase 
Forrest Fenn: The Thrill of the Chase redoux

Have you searched for the Forrest Fenn treasure? We’d love to hear about your experience.











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25 Responses to “Should the Forrest Fenn treasure hunt be called off?”

  1. Beth Weathers
    July 2, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

    I liked your page on Facebook and I am wanting to win to be able to gift a TTOTC to each of my little Grandsons.

    • Billie Frank
      July 2, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

      Thanks for being the first to enter! We’re only giving away one. If you win you still have to buy the 2nd one. Good luck!

  2. Lis Sowerbutts
    July 2, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

    Definitely they should let the chase continue- how cool that there is actually a treasure to be found. And this sounds like natural selection working quite well – really people need to know how to prepare for the outdoors – its not a theme park!
    Lis Sowerbutts recently posted..Planning a Silk Road Itinerary – 3 Months Travel Along the Silk RoadMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      July 4, 2017 at 11:45 am #

      I agree about preparing for the outdoors. It’s very unforgiving. Greed seems to blind some people.

  3. Rachel Heller
    July 3, 2017 at 1:44 am #

    Hi, I’m not entering because I don’t live in the US. I won’t be able to go treasure hunting anyway since I won’t be in the US any time soon. You’ve certainly made me curious to read the book, though. Is it a good read, even without real treasure?

    • Billie Frank
      July 4, 2017 at 11:44 am #

      It’s an interesting read if you know Forrest. Most people are buying it for the clues.

  4. Marilyn Jones
    July 3, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

    How fascinating and I agree with you! If an 80-year-old man could hide it, it is not in a dangerous place! Thank you for the update on the treasure!!
    Marilyn Jones recently posted..Relax, Renew and Explore at an Italian Wellness ResortMy Profile

  5. Doreen Pendgracs
    July 3, 2017 at 6:59 pm #

    Thank you for introducing me to Forrest Fenn. I had not previously heard of him.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..A visit to Hershey: America’s favorite chocolate meccaMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      July 4, 2017 at 11:43 am #

      He’s not a household name but he keeps getting US coverage for the treasure hunt.

  6. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    July 5, 2017 at 3:48 am #

    Thanks Billie, for the introduction to Forrest Fenn and his treasure. I definitely agree that it seems unreasonable for a police chief to ask Fenn to discourage the treasure hunters. All you have to do is watch some fool with a selfie stick pose at the very edge of a cliff to know that it’s the people who engage in risky behaviors that are at fault, not the person writing the clues. I’ll put his book, “The Thrill of the Chase,” on my reading list when next I’m looking for a good book. Sounds interesting!
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted..Terezin: If A Picture Paints A Thousand WordsMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      July 5, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

      I saw people at the edge of the Grand Canyon with selfie sticks and no awareness that they were at the edge of a great abyss. We may not agree with the risks people take, but unless they’re endangering others, it’s their right.

  7. Billie Frank
    July 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    Don’t know who Chester Copperpot is- but I agree about freedom to make your own choices. The hunt goes on!

  8. Diane mary
    July 6, 2017 at 4:35 pm #

    I’d love a copy of the book. I liked your page on Facebook.

    • Billie Frank
      July 6, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

      Your like isn’t showing up. Please like again. Thanks!

  9. Cathy Sweeney
    July 6, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

    I liked your page a long time ago. 🙂 This is so interesting. I hadn’t heard on the news about the Forrest Fenn Treasure Hunt – I guess I’m watching too many political programs. Doesn’t seem to me that the hunt should be called off since it’s been made pretty clear that it’s not in a dangerous place. Would love to win the book. Count me in the running.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Nature and Architecture in Harmony at Taliesin WestMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      July 6, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

      We’ll add you into the drawing. I think I’d rather be hunting treasure than listening to the news these days.

  10. best metal detectors
    September 18, 2017 at 3:35 am #

    no, I don’t think so…forrest Fenn treasure hunt not be called off

  11. best metal detector
    October 3, 2017 at 12:35 am #

    no, I don’t think so…Forrest Fenn treasure hunt not be called off

    May 13, 2018 at 6:14 pm #

    Great articles, Toby and Shelly recommended.

    • Steve Collins
      June 5, 2018 at 11:18 am #

      Thank you, Steven!

  13. Holli
    July 16, 2018 at 11:46 pm #

    Cool article and picture! I have to ask if the wall hanging behind you and Fenn was enhanced? It looks so bright and almost like flames on the top side of Fenn’s head or atop the sun. Curious if you asked about it or know any more about the wall hanging and its graphics? Do you have any upcoming articles on the Chase or Fenn? Shelly and Toby(A Gypsy’s said you had a cool site and I concur!

    • Steve Collins
      August 10, 2018 at 7:32 am #

      Hi Holli! Thanks for your interest! There are no planned articles on the search. I’m still working on where the blog goes from here, Thanks, Syteve

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