Forrest Fenn’s Rocky Mountain treasure allegedly found

Everybody loves a treasure hunt

By Tatyana Sharpton Jun 11 2020

Who doesn’t love a tale of buried treasure with a poem leading you there?

We’re pretty sure those were art collector Forrest Fenn’s thoughts when he stashed a chest of gold and precious gems worth an estimated $2 million in the Rockies and alluded to it in his 2010 memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, with a 24-line poem.

Forrest Fenn. Image: Luis Sanchez Saturno.

The treasure, which he buried at the ripe age of 80, supposedly lay somewhere between Santa Fe and the Canadian border, at above 5,000-foot elevation, and basically within reach of the average Joe — if he could find it.

Now, after nearly a decade of adventurers setting out to find the treasure, some even leaving their jobs to embark on the quest and at least five meeting death, one treasure hunter has allegedly found it over this past weekend, with Forrest announcing it on June 6.

The lucky winner wishes to remain undisclosed,  as well as the treasure’s location. However, Forrest confirmed that indeed he solved the case, receiving a photo of his ornate, Romanesque 10-by-10 inch box and its contents.

The risk of adventure

The treasure map + poem from Forrest’s book. Benchmark Maps/Courtesy of Forrest Fenn

Forrest’s controversial treasure illustrates well the range of adventure’s risk and reward. While his idea prompted many to leave the comforts of normality to hunt for something more, inspiring an estimated 350,000 people to take an adventure, not all had positive experiences.

In fact, some took their failure to find the treasure so seriously that they went as far as to sue 89-year-old Forrest, including once for $1.5 million by a man who claimed the art collector “deprived him of the treasure through fraudulent statements and misleading clues.”

One man even tried to break into Forrest’s house with a hatchet, believing the treasure laid there.

Another treasure hunter and Chicago real estate attorney, Barbara Anderson, claims that the person who found the treasure “stole her solve”; she solved the puzzle and the treasure-finder hacked it. She has filed an injunction in federal District Court alleging she should have the chest, and to stop the defendant from selling its booty.

So far, two others have come forth claiming to have solved the puzzle first. Supposedly, Forrest will make more information public soon.

Header Image: Rocky Mountain National Park.