A popular 216-acre recreation area in Jackson County, Agate Lake County Park is located 12 miles northeast of Medford and 25 miles northeast of Ashland. The lake is formed by the 86-foot tall Agate Dam which was constructed in 1966. It impounds Dry Creek while also receiving water from Antelope Creek and Little Butte Creek via two canals. The accumulated water from all of those water sources is that made the Agate Lake.
The most popular recreational activities include rock collecting, boating, fishing, and of course picnicking. Swimming in the lake is not advised due to the fair water quality. Parking is free for Agate Lake County Park visitors. Concrete vault restrooms are available on-site.
Agate Lake is a great place for angling. The water in the lake is relatively warm in summers so warmwater fish including crappie, brown bullhead, yellow perch, bluegill, and largemouth bass can be found here. Only electric and non-motorized boats are allowed at the lake. A concrete boat ramp is available for visitor’s usage.
Part of the Agate Desert, Agate Lake is a fantastic place to collect a variety of minerals. Agate Lake and Ken Denman Wildlife Area are only destinations in the Agate Desert that open to the public and known for abundance and quality of agates. Besides agates, the most common minerals you can find are jasper, petrified wood, and chalcedony. A variety of agates and jasper might be of the prime interest for rock collectors since it is possible to find very different colors and patterns.
Agates at the lake are generally clear but might have slight blue banding or tint. Petrified wood is mostly in brownish natural tones, but some reddish examples can be found.
There is no specific place at the lake that would be best for collection, but there are some considerations to help you when collecting minerals. If you go to the lake when water levels are low, more lake gravels will be exposed. However, minerals are generally covered by the mud and are not easy to spot. Walking around and looking will get you minerals you want, if you are patient enough.
Walking through nearby Dry Creek brush can be a good place to spot good qualities agates including fine dendrtic and moss, but be advised that some of the land is private. Make sure you don't trespass. Inquire landowners for permission for rock hunting in advance. No public access allowed on the dam.
The Ken Denman Wildlife area that located nearby is a good place to collect great specimens. You should obtain a free collecting permit from the office at this location and pay a fee for parking.
Most agates which you can find in the Ken Denman Wildlife area are gray and blue tones. Some agates are banded and might contain some small quartz crystals. Jasper in this area is generally in green, brown, yellow and red tones. Petrified wood is generally in natural wood tones.
Agate Lake | General Description
Open: Year-round from dawn until dusk (for day-use only)
Managed: Jackson County
Location: Agate Lake County Park
Services: Boat ramp, vault toilet
Activities: Rockhounding, boating, fishing, picnicking
Accommodations: No camping or overnight parking in Agate Lake County Park
Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: Free
Dogs: Must be on a leash
Popularity: Low to moderate
Elevation: 1,500 ft (457 m)
Agate Lake is located:
- 12 miles northeast of Medford
- 177 miles southeast of Eugene
- 280 miles southeast of Portland.
Directions to Agate Lake County Park
From I-5 in Medford,
- Take exit 30 for Highway OR-62 East toward Crater Lake
- Drive 5.5 miles north on OR-62 to Highway OR-140
- Turn right onto OR-140 and go 3.5 miles to Antelope Road
- Turn right onto Antelope Road and follow 0.7 miles to Agate Dam Access Road
- Turn right onto Agate Dam Access Road and continue 0.9 miles to the destination.
Points of Interest Nearby