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 Rockhounding Area | General Description
Open: Best time: May-October
Location: Ochoco National Forest
Rocks & Minerals: Petrified Wood
Tools: Shovel, geology pick
Activities: Rockhounding, camping, and wildlife observing
Accommodations: Camping is allowed on BLM land
Distance from the parking: Vary
Road access: A high-clearance 4WD vehicle is recommended, 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.
Directions to Bear Creek Rockhounding Area
- 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.
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.