Treasure chest worth $1M found hidden in the Rocky Mountains after a decade of searching

A treasure chest full of gold, jewelry and other valuables worth $1 million was found in the Rocky Mountains, according to the man who hid it there more than a decade ago.

Art dealer and author Forrest Fenn confirmed that “the search is over” in an announcement on his website Sunday. Fenn said he didn’t know the person who claimed the treasure, but a poem in his book led him to its hiding spot.

“It was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago,” Fenn said. “I congratulate the thousands of people who participated in the search and hope they will continue to be drawn by the promise of other discoveries.”

The 89-year-old told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the treasure was found a few days ago by a man from “back East” who did not want to be named. Fenn said the discovery was confirmed with a photograph. 

According to Forrest Fenn, this treasure chest contains gold dust, hundreds of rare gold coins, gold nuggets and other artifacts.

Fenn inspired thousands of treasure hunters when he announced years ago that he had hidden the chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. The treasure was said to be north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and many deciphered clues from Fenn’s writing, including a 24-line poem published in his 2010 autobiography, “The Thrill of the Chase.” 

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The hunt proved deadly over the years. In 2019, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office in Montana warned that at least two people died, two were rescued near death and others had run-ins with police as they searched for the treasure near Yellowstone after a man was injured searching for the prize.

In 2017, a body was found in New Mexico that appeared to be Paris Wallace of Grand Junction, Colorado, a pastor who went missing while searching for the treasure. The year before, the body of Randy Bilyeu, 54, was found months after he disappeared while looking for the treasure along the Rio Grande.  

Fenn said on his website that more information and photos will come soon. When asked how he felt now that the treasure has been found, Fenn told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “I don’t know, I feel halfway kind of glad, halfway kind of sad because the chase is over.”

Contributing: Ryan W. Miller and Mary Bowerman

Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

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