Bear Creek Rockhounding

• Bear Creek Rockhounding Area is well-known for an abundance of petrified wood

Rockhounding OregonCamping OregonWildlife Viewing

Bear Creek is designated by BLM as a recreational rockhounding area and included on the Central Oregon Rockhounding Map. For many years this place, located 13 miles north of the small town of Brothers, is popular among rock collectors for an abundance of petrified wood. The specimens are mostly black, brown, white, yellow, and gray. Agatized petrified wood may have yellow and red coloring.

Site 1 is easily accessed and therefore more popular. It covers 67 acres with fenced private land on the east side. Do not collect on private property.

Wood scattered everywhere is mostly low-quality but showing the growth rings, cellular structure, and external bark. Better materials are found from 2 to 5 feet below the surface. You should either dig a new hole or use an old one, digging deeper or around the edge. The soil is relatively soft and easy to dig in.

The road to Site 2 is more difficult, bumpy, and long. A high-clearance vehicle with four-wheel drive is recommended. Located on public land and surrounded by public land, the 474-acre site can be explored in all directions along one mile stretch of the road. Because Site 2 is not easily accessible, it does not have as many visitors as Site 1 and yield better materials.

Bear Creek: Camping, Lodging, & Vacation Rentals

Primitive camping is allowed throughout public BLM land.

If you're prefer for more comfortable accommodations, consider lodging in Prineville, 40 miles southeast or in Bend, 46 miles east.

Lodging in Prineville

Affordable vacation rentals for short and long term stay in Bend

Lodging in Bend

Bear Creek Collecting Area

Bear Creek Rockhounding

Bear Creek Petrified Wood

Bear Creek Rockhounding

Bear Creek Rockhounding Area | Facts

Best time: May through October
Managed by: Bureau Land of management (BLM)
Location: Ochoco National Forest

Rocks & Minerals: Petrified Wood
Tools: Shovel, geology pick

Activities: Rockhounding, camping, and wildlife observing

Distance from the parking: Vary
Road access: A high-clearance 4WD vehicle, the road can be inaccessible during wet weather
Day-use fees: None

Elevation: 4,000-4,250 ft (1,219-1,295 m)

Bear Creek Rockhounding Area is located:

  • 13 miles north of Brothers
  • 40 miles southeast of Prineville
  • 46 miles east of Bend
  • 175 miles southeast of Salem.

Adventures Nearby

Directions to Bear Creek Rockhounding Area

From Prineville,

  • Take Highway 27 and drive 33 miles to Bear Creek Road, 0.9 miles after you pass Little Bear Creek Road
  • Turn left (east) onto Bear Creek Road and drive 5.3 miles to a dirt road on the left
  • Turn left and follow 0.1 miles to the fork, bear right and continue 0.3 miles to a fence
  • Open and close the fence behind you and drive 0.1 miles to the next fork where rockhounding signs are posted.

Site 1. From the fork, bear right and continue 0.5 miles to the pits on the left.

GPS (Site 1): N 43°56.450' W 120°37.146' | 43.940833, -120.6191

Site 2. From the fork, take the road on the left and go 2.5 miles to the south side of the collecting area. The designed rockhounding area is stretched next 1 mile along the road.

GPS (Site 2): N 43°57.629' W 120°36.516' | 43.960481, -120.608601


  1. I attempted to go to Bear Creek to collect and I used the map I purchased (Central Oregon Rockhounding.) I attempted to go to site 2 first and I think I was in the right place but there was a closed wire fence across the road. I then attempted to go to site #1, and again found a closed wire fence.

    I didnt want to take a chance and go through a closed gate and I don’t see anything here mentioning a gate and I didnt see any signage.

    Was I in the right place? Was I supposed to open the gate and then close it behind me? According to the map, I was in the right place.

    It was a very long drive from southern Oregon to get there. If the closed gate is normal, please list that in this description.

    Thank you

    1. There are a fence before a fork from where you can drive to Site 1 and Site 2.

      I believe the fence prevents cattle from entering this area. No any ” No Trespass” signs.

      Just make sure to close the fence/gate behind you.

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