Rockhounding in Oregon is an absolute delight for any rock enthusiast. With its diverse geological landscape and rich mineral deposits, the state offers a treasure trove of opportunities for rock-hounding adventures.
From searching for agates on the picturesque beaches of the coast to unearthing thundereggs in the high desert, Oregon has something to offer every rockhound. The sheer variety of rockhounding options in Oregon is astounding. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a curious beginner, there are numerous locations to explore.
With some research and good ol’ rockhounding spirit, success is almost guaranteed in Oregon. The state has a long history of yielding fantastic specimens, and many locations are well-known among rockhounds. Grab your tools, pack snacks, and prepare for an exciting adventure!
What You Can Find Rockhounding In Oregon
We couldn’t possibly include all the rocks and minerals found in Oregon because of their extreme diversity. The majority of the rarer and more common specimens that rockhounds search for in the state include the following:
Rare rocks and minerals found in Oregon
More common desirable rocks, minerals, and gems found here
In-depth guides to finding specific types of rocks in Oregon
You should also look at the supplementary instructions we have developed to locate certain specimens if you’re seeking something specific.
With over 3,000 breathtaking areas to explore, we’ve curated a guide on finding rockhounds near you. To find out more about what treasure Oregon contains, keep reading this article.
The Best Places To Find Rocks and Minerals in Oregon
We wanted to start by mentioning some of our favorite rockhounding locations in Oregon. Despite having a lot of options, we focused on our top choices. You might enjoy exploring these areas and discovering some incredibly stunning rocks and minerals.
Agate Beach, located on the stunning Oregon coast, is a prime destination for rockhounding enthusiasts. This picturesque beach near Newport has a rich history of yielding beautiful agates, making it an ideal spot for rockhounding adventures.
Agate Beach has been a popular destination for rock enthusiasts since the early 1900s when visitors first discovered the abundance of agates washed ashore by the Pacific Ocean.
What makes Agate Beach particularly appealing for rockhounding is the consistent supply of agates that can be found along its shores. The constant churning of the ocean waves acts as a natural tumbler, polishing the agates and giving them their distinct beauty.
What you can find there
The area is known for its unique and diverse minerals like agate, chalcedony, jasper, and quartz.
The tools every rockhound will need
When you're out looking for rocks and minerals having the right tools for the job is really going to make or break your success. 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 rockhounds 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. 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 rockhounding 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:
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.
The park is famous for its namesake feature, Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States, and renowned for its vibrant blue color. The lake was formed around 7,700 years ago when a volcanic eruption caused the collapse of Mount Mazama, leaving behind a massive caldera.
Crater Lake National Park offers a unique opportunity to discover volcanic rocks and minerals. hese volcanic rocks present a striking range of colors and textures, making them a captivating find for rockhounding enthusiasts. Additionally, the area’s volcanic history means there is potential to find interesting minerals associated with volcanic activity.
What you can find there
The area produces a wide variety of minerals, such as agates.
Klamath Falls boasts a rich geological history, with a diverse range of rocks and minerals waiting to be discovered. The region was shaped by volcanic activity, resulting in fascinating formations such as lava flows, pumice deposits, and obsidian flows. This volcanic heritage, ancient lake beds, and river systems make Klamath Falls ideal for rockhounding adventures.
Klamath Falls provides access to various rocks and minerals, making it a paradise for rock-hounding enthusiasts. Whether searching for vibrant agates along the shores of nearby lakes or uncovering unique obsidian specimens, the area offers a wealth of collecting opportunities.
What you can find there
Many minerals, including agates, chalcedony, and jasper, are known to be produced near the Klamath Falls.
The Mutton Mountains are part of the larger Owyhee Uplands, known for their geological wonders and rich mineral deposits. The area has a storied history of volcanic activity, giving rise to a wide range of rocks and minerals that can be discovered while rockhounding in the region.
Mutton Mountains offer a treasure trove of rockhounding opportunities. The volcanic history of the area has resulted in the presence of various minerals and gemstones. The remote and rugged landscape of the Mutton Mountains adds to the allure, providing a sense of adventure and discovery for those willing to explore.
What you can find there
There are opportunities to locate additional rare geological specimens, like agate, chalcedony, and jasper, in the nearby woodlands and trails of Mutton Mountain.
The Umpqua River offers abundant rockhounding opportunities for those seeking unique treasures. The river has carved its way through ancient rock formations, exposing various minerals and gemstones. The constantly shifting river currents expose new rocks and minerals, providing a sense of excitement and discovery.
With its picturesque setting, ample collecting spots, and the possibility of finding beautiful and intriguing specimens, the Umpqua River is a fantastic destination for rock-hounding enthusiasts, offering a delightful blend of adventure and natural beauty.
What you can find there
The Umpqua River offers opportunities to find various minerals and crystals, including agate, chalcedony, carnelian, and jasper.
Our Other Favorite Spots Around Oregon
Oregon is home to many magnificent and unique rocks and minerals. You can explore the selections below and the top picks for additional specimens.
Rockhounding sites in Northern Oregon
Northern Oregon is a haven for rockhounds, offering many opportunities to explore its diverse geology and uncover fascinating rocks and minerals. This region has various geological formations, including volcanic landscapes, river valleys, and rugged mountain ranges.
From the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge to the majestic peaks of the Cascade Range, rockhounds are drawn to northern Oregon for its scenic beauty and the abundance of unique specimens waiting to be discovered.
|Location||Minerals & Rocks|
|Pacific Ocean Beaches||Agate, Bloodstone, Jasper|
|Nahalem River||Agate, Carnelian, Jasper|
|Clear Creek||Agate, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Jasper|
|Orofino Mine||Agate, Jasper|
|Lower Inmaha River||Agate|
|Bear Springs Forest Camp||Jasper|
|Warm Springs Indian Reservation||Jasper|
Rockhounding sites in Southern Oregon
Southern Oregon is a paradise for rockhounds, captivating them with its diverse landscapes and abundant mineral wealth. This region offers many rockhounding opportunities, from the Siskiyou Range’s rugged mountains to the High Cascades’ ancient lava flows.
Southern Oregon is renowned for its remarkable variety of rocks and minerals, including vibrant agates in a spectrum of colors, beautiful jaspers with intricate patterns, precious opals that shimmer with gorgeous iridescence, and striking serpentine with its unique green hues.
|Location||Minerals & Rocks|
|Rogue River||Agate, Garnet, Jasper|
|Cedar Springs Mountain||Azurite|
|Harney Valley||Agate, Geodes, Quartz|
|Warm Springs Reservoir||Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper|
|Green Springs Mountain||Agate, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Jasper|
|Jump-Off Joe Creek||Azurite, Calcite, Chalcopyrite, Chrysocolla, Galena, Malachite, Pyrite, Sphalerite|
|Althouse Creek||Agate, Garnet, Jasper, Quartz, Serpentine|
|Illinois River||Azurite, Chrysocolla, Galena, Malachite, Quartz|
|Klamath River||Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper|
|Glass Butte Recreational Rockhound Area||Obsidian|
|Crane Canyon||Agate, Jasper|
|Hart Mountain||Agate, Chalcedony, Geodes, Jasper, Opal|
|Mt. Pisgah||Agate, Calcite, Jasper, Malachite, Quartz|
|Willow Creek Reservoir||Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper|
|Sucker Creek Canyon||Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper|
Rockhounding sites in Central Oregon
Central Oregon is a captivating rockhound destination, offering a unique blend of geological wonders and stunning landscapes. This region is characterized by its volcanic past, featuring a range of volcanic formations and lava flows that have shaped the landscape.
Central Oregon is renowned for its rich deposits of sunstones, unique feldspar gemstones that display a stunning shimmering effect known as aventurescence. With its intriguing geological formations and a wealth of interesting rocks and minerals, central Oregon beckons rockhounds to explore its natural wonders and uncover nature’s geological treasures.
|Location||Minerals & Rocks|
|Shirttail Creek||Agate, Chalcedony, Jade, Jasper|
|Richland Valley||Chalcedony Geodes|
|Fulton Agate Beds||Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper, Opal|
|Commings Creek||Agate, Jasper, Moonstone|
|Calapooya River||Agate, Geodes|
|Chandler Mountain||Agate, Carnelian|
Where To Find Garnet In Oregon
Although garnets can be hard to come by, our state is lucky to have them. Because of their scarcity and beauty, garnets have long been prized; today, collectors and rockhounds place a high value on them.
Little Applegate River is our favorite place to look for Garnets
Situated in southwestern Oregon near Jacksonville, this area is known for its placer deposits of garnets. The riverbed and surrounding gravel bars can yield small to medium-sized garnets.
The Little Applegate River is a promising destination for enthusiasts seeking garnet gemstones. With its unique geological composition and rich mineral deposits, this picturesque river offers a fruitful opportunity to embark on an exhilarating garnet-hunting adventure.
Other good options to find Garnet
- Emerald Creek Garnet Area
- Rabbit Hills
- Saddle Mountain
- Twin Bridges
Where To Find Jade In Oregon
Although jade can be hard to find, our state is lucky to have them. Because of their scarcity and beauty, jade has long been prized. Today, collectors and rock hound lovers place a high value on them.
Crow Creek Recreation Area is our favorite place to look for Jade
Crow Creek recreational area is renowned for its jade-rich formations, making it a prime location to explore these coveted gemstones. As collectors explore the creek and surrounding areas, carefully sifting through gravel and sediment, they can unearth jade pieces of varying colors and qualities.
Located near Cottage Grove in Lane County, this recreation area is known for its green and black nephrite jade deposits. Visitors can search along the creek and surrounding gravel bars for jade specimens.
Other good options to find Jade
- Applegate River
- Biggs Jasper Beds
- Jade Cove
- Smith River
Where To Find Opal In Oregon
Despite its rarity, our state is fortunate to have access to opal. Because of its scarcity and beauty, opal has long been prized. Even today, rockhounds and collectors highly value them,
Opal Creek is our favorite place to look for Opal
Located in Morrow County, Opal Creek is renowned for its high-quality opals. The area has produced a variety of opals, including precious black opals, fire opals, and crystal opals.
Other good options to find Opal
- Opal Butte
- Squaw Butte
- Virgin Valley
Public Rockhounding Options For Kids
Although rockhounding can be fun and educational for youngsters, finding ideal rockhounding spots can be difficult. But finding kid-friendly rockhounding locations could be a great way to introduce kids to the activity.
The whole family will like these areas’ easier-to-access topography and opportunities for easy-to-find specimens.
- Double Eagle Mine – Lakeview, OR 97630
- Dust Devil Mining – Plush, OR 97637
- Richardson’s Rock Ranch – 6683 NE Hay Creek Rd., Madras, OR 97741
- Sand Master Park – 4981 Highway 101, Florence, OR 97439-8896
- Spectrum Mines – Plush, OR 97637
Oregon Rockhounding Clubs
Rockhounding clubs provide invaluable opportunities for newcomers and seasoned collectors in the world of rockhounding. For beginners, these clubs offer a supportive and knowledgeable community where they can learn from experienced members and gain insights into the best-collecting locations, techniques, and identification of rocks and minerals.
Rockhounding clubs often organize field trips to various collecting sites, providing newbies with hands-on learning experiences. For experienced collectors, these clubs offer a platform for sharing their expertise, discussing rare finds, and connecting with fellow enthusiasts who share their passion.
Rockhounding clubs in Oregon worth checking out
- Central Oregon Rock Collectors – Redmond, OR
- Clackamette Mineral and Gem Club – Oregon City, OR
- Columbia Gorge Rockhounds – Corbett, OR
- Far West Lapidary and Gem Society – Bend, OR
- Mount Hood Rock Club – Gresham, OR
Oregon Rockhounding Laws And Regulations
Rockhounding and collecting rocks and minerals in Oregon is legal and can be a rewarding hobby for enthusiasts. However, it’s essential to adhere to all local and state laws and regulations regarding collection, especially the ones by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.
Oregon has specific guidelines in place to ensure responsible and sustainable rockhounding practices. These laws help protect sensitive areas, preserve natural resources, and maintain the integrity of geological sites. Before embarking on a rockhounding adventure, it is crucial to research and familiarize yourself with the specific rules and restrictions that apply to the area you plan to visit.
It’s also important to respect private property rights and obtain permission from landowners if necessary. By following these laws and regulations, rockhounding enthusiasts can enjoy their hobby while preserving the natural environment and ensuring the sustainability of rockhounding activities for future generations.
Our Favorite Rock And Mineral Shops In Oregon
While some people enjoy searching for rocks and minerals in the wild, others prefer the convenience of purchasing specimens from trustworthy rock shops. The best rock and mineral shops in Oregon, where you may find various unique and top-notch specimens, are mentioned below.
- 5 Elements Gem and Mineral – 2100 W Broadway, Eugene, OR 97402
- Ed’s House of Gems – 7712 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97213
- Portland Rocks – 6658 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland, OR 97202
- Rooster’s Rocks – 3101 SE Ferry Slip Rd #233, Newport, OR 97365
- Visions Rock Shop – 6334 US-101 # 4, Lincoln City, OR 97367
Additional Places To Rockhound In Nearby States
If you’ve already tried all of our recommendations above or are planning a trip out of the state you should check out our guides for neighboring states:
If you have any recommendations we haven’t covered please leave them in the comments below!