Beachcombing For Agates & Jaspers – Oregon Coast

Beachcombing




The best time: November – April, after big storms and during outgoing high tide at low tide.

Rock Types: Variety of quality agates, jasper, petrified wood, and fossils.

The winter months are the ideal time to hunt for agates. Generally, between November and March, sometimes April. During the summer, agate deposits are covered by sand. The winter storms help remove the top sandy layers revealing the treasure beneath. Be on the lookout for loose gravel atop sand. The ideal time to hunt is after a strong storm and when the tide is outgoing; this is when the gravel has been freshly agitated, agates are split from cliffs, and new agate deposits are exposed.

Here you have it - an all-inclusive guide into the world of agate and jasper hunting. No real technique and no equipment, though gem scoop and geology pick can be helpful. All you need is a fun spirit and some water resistant warm clothing.

Along the Oregon Coast, there are multiple excellent spots for agate beachcombing. 



Beachcombing on the North Oregon Coast

A wide variety of agates, jaspers, Oregon Jade, petrified wood, and fossilized agate are found on the North Oregon Coast. The best places to hunt are located north of Pacific City - Tierra Del Mar, Netarts, Oceanside, Rockaway Beach, and Manzanita, north of the Cape Falcon and the stretch extending between Arch Cape and Cannon Beach which also includes the Arcadia and the Hug Point. Good-quality multicolored jaspers and sagenitic agates are found on the Tillamook beaches.

Between Cannon Beach and Manzanita

Minerals: agates, jaspers, petrified wood, and fossilized agate.

Access to the beaches:

  • Tolovana Wayside State Park is located at Highway 101, milepost 22
  • Arcadia Beach Recreation Site is at Highway 101, milepost 32
  • Hug Point State Park lies at Highway 101, milepost 33
  • Cove Beach is situated at Highway 101, milepost 37, Falcon Cove Road
  • Oswald West State Park is at Highway 101, milepost 39.
Rockaway, Netarts, and Oceanside Beaches near Tillamook

Minerals: agates including sagenitic and iris, jaspers, bloodstones, Oregon Jade, petrified wood, zeolite, and fossilized agate.

Access to the beaches:

  • Manhattan State Park is at Highway 101, milepost 49
  • Netarts and Oceanside - from Highway 101, take Highway 131 west in Tillamook
  • Short Sand Beach - from the south end of Oceanside, take Cape Meares Loop and drive about 1 mile north.
Pacific City and Vicinity

Minerals: agates and jaspers.
Access to the beaches:

  • Tierra Del Mar (from Pacific City) - Highway 101 at milepost 90.4, turn west to Brooten Road, cross the bridge and turn right onto Cape Kiwanda Drive, go north for about 3.5 miles.



Beachcombing on the Central Oregon Coast

The Central Oregon Coast provides great opportunities to find high-quality agates such as carnelian, black-blue, enhydro, moss and sagenitic, jaspers, petrified wood, Oregon Jade, fossilized agates. The beaches that stretch from the Road's End to Siletz Bay at Lincoln City, a coastline near Newport as well as between Yachats and Florence are considered to be the most productive areas for collecting gem quality minerals.

The over 7.5- mile beaches of Lincoln City produce agates, multicolored jaspers, and Oregon Jade. The Nelscott area in Lincoln City is a stunning and well-documented example of the unique quartz pieces finding. The 5-mile stretch of Moolack Beach from Otter Rock to Yaquina Head, roughly 3 miles north of Newport, is good for agate, carnelian, jasper, petrified wood, and fossils. Marine fossils such as shells and the bones of sea lions and whales have been found near at Beverly Beach near Newport. High-value bloodstones, carnelian, moss, and sagenitic agates containing needle-like inclusions are found south of Yachats. Check the areas along the mouths of creeks entering to the ocean - Big, Bob's, China, Cummins, Tenmile, and Squaw.

Note: Agate Beach State Park is not considered to be a good productive area for mineral collection.

Lincoln City

Minerals: agate, jasper, petrified wood, Oregon Jade, and fossilized agate.

Access to the beaches: There are numbers of the beach public access in Lincoln City along Highway 101. 

  • Roads End State Park in Lincoln - Highway 101, milepost 108, turn onto Logan Road
  • D River Wayside State Park in Lincoln City lies at Highway 101, milepost 115
  • Siletz Bay Park in Lincoln City is located at Highway 101, milepost 118
  • Fogarty State Park lies at Highway 101, milepost 125.
Newport and Vicinity

Minerals: agate, jasper, carnelian, petrified wood, and marine fossils.

Access to the beaches:

  • Otter Rock & Devils Punch Bowl State Park lies at Highway 101 between mileposts 131 and 133
  • Beverly Beach State Park lies 6 miles north of Newport at Highway 101, milepost 134
  • Ona State Park and Seal Rock State Recreation Site are located south of Newport at Highway 101, mileposts 149 and 150.9
Between Yachats and Florence

Minerals: agates and jaspers including prized moss and sagenitic agates, bloodstones, carnelian.

Access to the beaches:

  • Smelt Sands State Park and Yachats Ocean Road State Park are located in Yachats at Highway 101, milepost 164 and 166
  • Cummins Creek is at Highway 101, milepost 168
  • Neptune State Park (Gwynn Creek) lies at Highway  101, milepost 168.5
  • Strawberry Hills lies at Highway 101, milepost 169
  • Bob Creek State Wayside (Bob's Creek) - Highway 101, milepost 170
  • Stonefield Beach State Park (Tenmile Creek) is at highway 101, milepost 171.5
  • Muriel O.Ponsler Memorial State Park and Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park (Big and China Creeks) - Highway 101 between mileposts 175 and 176.



Beachcombing on the South Oregon Coast

Generally, the South Oregon Coast has some productive beaches producing a wide variety of fine agates and jaspers, Oregon Jade, petrified wood, fossils, and serpentine. There are wonderful sites including parks near Coos Bay and Bandon, Port Orford, Gold Beach, and Brookings.

Minerals: blue, white banded, iris, moss, and carnelian agates, flower jasper, petrified wood, and fossils.
Access to the beaches:

  • Merchants Beach at Seven Devils State Recreation Site on Seven Devils Road - from Highway 101, take the road west at milepost 257
  • Whiskey Run Lane - continue Seven Devils Road south to Whiskey Run Lane west
  • Cape Blanco State Park to Agate Beach in Port Orford is located at Highway 101 between milepost 296 and 300
  • Otter Point State Recreation Site and Gold Beach are at Highway 101 between milepost 324 and 329
  • Gravel Bars of the Pistol River - Highway 101, milepost 339
  • South Jetty of Chetco River - Highway 101, milepost 357
  • McVay Rock State Recreation Site - Highway 101, mileposts 363




How to Spot Agate on the Beach

The months from November to April, after big storms and after a high tide at low tide is the best time for agate hunting. A set of storms eroded a few feet of sand to enable access to agate and jasper deposits. A tide booklet is available at hotels, sporting goods stores, marinas, and the chamber of commerce.

Pick a rocky beach. Most of the time the gemstones are covered by sand but after strong storms especially winter storms the rock beds are exposed. Often you can find beautiful agates or jaspers on gravel beds, near ledges, and stream gravels. The main characteristics of agate such as transparency, color, and banding patterns will be helpful for its finding and identification. When the waters have freshly preceded, the sunlight will cause agates to sparkle making them easier to spot. Also, it is it is easier to see a brightly colored agate or jasper when it is wet.

Restriction: No more than 1 gallon per day and 3 gallons per year for collecting agates on the beaches.



Safety Tips

  • Before you go for beachcombing, check tides
  • Never turn your back to the ocean, the ocean conditions can change quickly
  • Watch for sneaker waves
  • Have your beach access available
  • Avoid logs and debris
  • Avoid slick rocks and stay away from cliff edges.



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