The 51 Wonderful Locations To Find And Mine For Quartz In California In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

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The 51 Wonderful Locations To Find And Mine For Quartz In California In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist


California’s geological scenery is full of quartz, a beautiful and useful mineral. People have been interested in this sparkling stone for hundreds of years because of its brightness and range of colors.

This quartz can be clear and colorless, or it can be bright colors like pink, purple, and yellow. Each type gives you a different view of nature.

Not only are these crystals beautiful, but they are also useful in fields like jewelry making and electronics.

Our article will tell you in great detail where to find quartz in California. We talk about the best places to find quartz, the different kinds, and how to collect it safely and successfully.

You can go on an exciting trip with our help to find the hidden gems in the state’s quartz deposits.

What Is California Quartz Anyway?

A gorgeous fan-like cluster of quartz crystals
Quartz photo provided by and available for purchase at GemstoneNH

Quartz is a type of mineral that is very common and can be found all around the world. It’s made up of silicon and oxygen, and it forms a crystal structure that can be either clear or have different colors depending on the kinds of other minerals that are mixed in with it.

Quartz is known for being very hard and durable, which is why it’s used in making jewelry and in various industries.

The crystals of quartz can come in many shapes and sizes, and sometimes they’re so clear that they look like glass, while other times they can be cloudy or have a color like pink, purple, or yellow.

Quartz can be found in rocks on the beach, in the mountains, and in fields. Often, it’s found in places where there are a lot of volcanoes or where hot springs used to be. Quartz is formed below the surface of the Earth and rises to the surface over time.

This article was made to help you identify quartz by giving you a better idea of what it looks like.

Quartz is highly valued due to its unique combination of beauty, durability, and many uses. It’s one of the hardest rocks, so it doesn’t get scratched or worn down easily.

The Types Of Quartz Found In California

Because California’s geology is so varied, it has a lot of different kinds of quartz. Gem lovers and collectors come from all over the world to see these types, which show off the state’s unique geology.

  • Citrine quartz
  • Rose quartz
  • Smoky quartz
How We Found The Best Quartz Locations in California
When it comes to choosing the best options for finding California quartz there are plenty of things we consider. Many of the best locations are closely guarded secrets which can make it really difficult for more casual geode hunters to find success. The key factors in our recommendations are:

  • The deep experience and understanding of our team about the area
  • Recommendations from local groups and clubs
  • How easy it is to get the a particular location
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Weighing private and public locations
  • The ability for both experienced and novice mineral enthusiasts to find great samples

With these factors in mind we’ve been able to put together a fantastic list that just about anyone can use!

The Best Places To Find Quartz In California

A gorgeous milky quartz with bubble-like surface
Quartz photo provided by CrystalShopsUSA

Here is a list of our favorite quartz spots in the state. There are a lot of available places to find gems in California, but not all of them have quartz. Some of these places are great for looking, even though they aren’t as well known.

Always Confirm Access and Collection Rules!

Before heading out to any of the locations on our list you need to confirm access requirements and collection rules for both public and private locations directly with the location. We haven’t personally verified every location and the access requirements and collection rules often change without notice.

Many of the locations we mention will not allow collecting but are still great places for those who love to find beautiful rocks and minerals in the wild without keeping them. We also can’t guarantee you will find anything in these locations since they are constantly changing. 

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding. If you want even more current options it’s always a good idea to contact local rock and mineral clubs and groups

Greenhorn Mountain Park

A peaceful scenery at the Greenhorn Mountain

It’s fun to go on adventures and learn about nature at Greenhorn Mountain. At more than 6,000 feet, it’s the tallest peak in the Greenhorn Range, which is part of the Sierra Nevada.

People love this mountain for its beautiful views and climbing trails, but it’s also a great place to find quartz. Geology is what makes Greenhorn Mountain a great place to look for quartz.

A very long time ago, there were volcanoes and hot springs in the area, which are ideal for the formation of quartz. Quartz crystals made their way to the surface over time as the earth moved and changed.

There are a lot of different kinds of quartz here. They can be clear and sparkly, or they can be different colors, like pink or yellow. Collectors will enjoy this because each piece is different.

Also, this quartz is known for being of high quality, which means it’s very clear and well-shaped.

Where we found quartz at the Greenhorn Mountain

Look for areas where the bedrock is exposed, as quartz veins can often be found in these outcrops. These veins are where quartz crystals form and can be a great place to find larger specimens.

Rock pick being used

The tools every geode hunter will need

When you're out looking for geodes having the right tools for the job is very important. You don't need a lot for most trips but there are a handful that are critical and will make your life a lot easier.

We get asked a lot about the equipment we use. Over the years we've found a handful of tools that we recommend to both new and experienced geode hunters which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding tools and kit guide. These are quality options that also happen to be relatively inexpensive.

Below are the basic tools that make your life so much easier and save you a ton of time. Check out the full guide to see everything we recommend bringing. One quick note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases but we try very hard to only recommend gear we would use ourselves and often recommend brands you can't find on Amazon.

At a minimum you should have:

1 - Sturdy rock hammer: The Estwing Rock Pick is our standard

2 - Rugged chisels: Try Kendo' 3-piece Chisel Set

3 - Compact shovel: The Koleiya 28-inch shovel works well

4 - Rock screen pan: The Wazakura Soil Sieve Set fits the bill

5 - Eye protection: DeWalt Safety Glasses are cheap and comfortable

6 - Head protection: Malta's Safety Helmet has been our go-to

7 - Jewelers lens with at least 20x magnification: Jarlink's Jewelers Loop is perfect

The geode-finding books that we use most

There are also a few books that have been extremely helpful in the search for gems. These books have great recommendations and tips:

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America 

Northwest Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Northwestern Quadrant 

We provide links to find these tools on Amazon but some can also be found at your local hardware stores. For more recommendations check out the link to our full tool guide above.

Mokelumne River

Rushing waters of the Mokelumne River

Mokelumne River is a hidden gem for nature lovers and treasure hunters. It’s over 95 miles long and starts in the high Sierra Nevada and winds its way down through the foothills into the Central Valley.

It’s famous for its beautiful scenery and outdoor activities like fishing and kayaking. It’s also a popular place to find quartz.

The river flows through places that used to be volcanoes and have a lot of geothermal activity. These conditions are ideal for making quartz.

As the river cut its way through the mountains and valleys over time, it found and brought many minerals, including quartz crystals.

Some of these gems are clear, some are pink, and some are even smoky quartz. This variety comes from the fact that the river flows through different kinds of rock and dirt.

Where we found quartz at Mokelumne River

Quartz is often found along the sides of the Mokelumne River, especially where the water moves more slowly.

San Francisquito Canyon Reservoir

A vast landscape of the San Francisquito Canyon

The peaceful and beautiful San Francisquito Canyon is known for its interesting natural history and beautiful scenery. The mountains near Los Angeles form this canyon, which is a peaceful place to get away from city life.

Not only does it have a lot of hikers and nature fans, but geology buffs, especially those who want to find quartz, know it well.

This area is in a region that has had volcanic action in the past, which made the conditions ideal for quartz to form.

Over a very long time, these quartz crystals slowly rose to the surface. The canyon’s varied landscape, with its rocky hillsides and creek beds, makes it easy to find these crystals.

Where we found quartz at San Francisquito Canyon

The creek that runs through San Francisquito Canyon is a good place to start. Quartz often gets washed down and settles in these areas. Look for spots where the water has moved rocks and soil, as this can uncover quartz crystals.

Sawmill Mountain

The scenic rangesx of Sawmill Mountain

Sawmill Mountain, which is in the beautiful Tehachapi Mountains, is a popular place for rock hunters and people who love the outdoors.

With an elevation of over 8,800 feet, this mountain is a great place to walk and also a great place to find quartz. This place has a lot of natural past, which makes it a great place for quartz to form.

Volcanic action has changed the area, and the rocks and soil are good for quartz growth. As the earth moved and aged over time, quartz crystals rose to the surface.

You can find these crystals in a lot of different places on the mountain, from the rocky slopes to the more private areas with lush plants.

Sawmill Mountain’s quartz can be clear, milky, or even colored with pink or yellow minor minerals during its formation. As a result, the mountain is an interesting spot for rock collectors and people who are interested in geology.

Where we found quartz at Sawmill Mountain

Quartz often forms in and around rocky outcrops. On Sawmill Mountain, look for areas where the bedrock is exposed or where there are plenty of rocks and boulders.

Scott River

A picturesque scenery at Scott River

The Scott River is a secret gem for people who love nature and looking for lost treasure. This river flows through Siskiyou County and is famous for its clear water and great fishing.

It’s also a great spot to find quartz. Because the river goes through different types of rock, it’s a great place for people who like quartz.

In the past, there was a lot of volcanic activity and earth moving in the area around the river, where the conditions are right for quartz to form. As time went on, the river helped move these quartz diamonds into view.

Quartz here might be different from quartz in other places. If certain elements were present when the quartz formed, you might find clear, shiny pieces or quartz with hints of pink or yellow.

Where we found quartz at Scott River

The banks of Scott River, along with gravel bars within the river, are prime locations for finding quartz.

Other Great Places To Find California Quartz

A beautiful aerial view of the Cedar Mountain

Following our discussion of our top choices, we are now going to talk about the other places on our list. The places below have all worked for us, and they are listed by county below that.

Our recommendations by county

County Location
Amador Volcano area, Jackson Gulch
Calaveras Angles camp area, Salt Springs Valley
Calaveras Garnet Hill area, Moore Creek
Del Norte Upper Monkey Creek
Fresno King’s Canyon National Park
Fresno Pinehurst area, Chimney Rock
Imperial Ogilby, Indian Pass
Imperial Ogilby, Chocolate Mountains
Inyo Big Pine area, Deep Springs Valley
Inyo Crystal Ridge
Lake Lower Lake
Lake Pope Valley
Los Angeles Free Cuba Mine
Los Angeles Soledad Pass
Madera Raymond area, Mount Raymond
Modoc Pine Creek
Mono Sweetwater Range
Monterey Lime Kiln Creek
Plumas Crystal Peak
Riverside Box Spring Mountain
Riverside Coahuila Mountain
Riverside Lookout Mountain
Riverside Thomas Mountain
Riverside The Jensen Quarry
San Bernardino Cascade Canyon
San Bernardino San Antonio Canyon
San Diego Tourmaline Queen Mountain
San Diego Aguanga Mountain
San Diego Hatfield Creek Valley
Siskiyou French Gulch
Siskiyou Indian Creek
Siskiyou Rattlesnake Creek
Siskiyou Rattlesnake Creek
Siskiyou Siskiyou Mountain
Siskiyou Klamath River
Siskiyou Boulder Creek
Siskiyou Ruffy Lake
Siskiyou Isinglass Mountain
Tulare Slickrock Canyon
Tulare Rocky Hill
Tulare Gassenberger Ranch
Tulare Lemoncove area, Kaweah River

Common Quartz-Hunting Questions

A magnificent quartz crystal
Quartz photo provided by Fine Art Minerals

If you want to know where to find quartz in the state, here are some questions that people often ask:

Is it illegal to collect quartz in California?

In California, the legality of collecting quartz and other minerals depends on several factors including the location and land ownership.

On many public lands, such as national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, casual rock collecting (meaning small amounts for personal use) is usually allowed without a permit.

However, there are restrictions to ensure the conservation of natural resources. It’s important to check the specific regulations for the area you are interested in, as some areas may have unique rules or may be protected and off-limits for collecting.

In state parks and other protected areas, collecting rocks, including quartz, is generally prohibited to preserve the natural environment.

Collecting on private land is illegal without the express permission of the landowner. Trespassing to collect rocks can result in legal consequences.

If you’re unsure, contacting the local land management office or visiting their website can provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information.

The Best Places To Buy Quartz In California

Rock Stop rock shop in California where you can purchase and find various quartz crystal specimens

Even though it’s always fun, some people don’t like how dirty and hard it is to look for a piece of quartz outdoors. We will tell you how to find quartz without doing those things.

For buying and finding different types of quartz, these are some of our favorite rock shops in the area:

  • Chapman’s Gem & Mineral Shop – 66 Metropolitan Rd, Fortuna, CA 95540, United States
  • Desert Discoveries – 12131 Boron Ave, Boron, CA 93516, United States
  • Firerose Designs Rock Shop – 169 Butte Ave, Randsburg, CA 93554, United States
  • LA Gem Shops – 560 S Los Angeles St Unit 208, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States
  • Rock Stop – 1804 CA-128, Philo, CA 95466, United States

About Keith Jackson - Geologist

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He is an active Geologist with a wealth of experience and information from across the country that he loves to share with the Rock Chasing crew.

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