Chetco River - Social Security Bar

Rockhounding OregonSwimmingBoatingFishing OregonHiking Oregon

• Chetco River Rockhounding is a popular activity on the Oregon Coast
• White quartz and jasper are scattered throughout the gravels

The Chetco River makes its way from tributaries in the Klamath Mountains, flowing 56 miles through the remote southwestern region of Oregon, and finally empties into the Pacific Ocean at Brookings. The river carries minerals from the Upper Chetco River area that have numerous gold-quartz veins and serpentinite rocks.

The lower section of the river has numerous gravel bars with easy access and excellent materials. White quartz and jasper are plentiful here. Rarely, carnelian agate, petrified wood, and serpentine can be found.

Typically, quartz is milky-white and some pieces are with mineral impurities. Large pieces of green, brown, and red brecciated jasper are scattered throughout the gravels of the river.

One of the sites listed in rockhounding guides, Social Security Bar is a popular recreation area with a vast gravel bar. You can drive directly out to the riverbank. There are many other spots along the lower section of the Chetco where rockhounds may access gravels such as Alfred Loeb State Park, Miller Bar, Nook Bar, Redwood Bar, Gardner Bar, South Fork, and Low Water Bridge.

Other adventures on the Chetco River include fishing, swimming, hiking, whitewater kayaking, camping, and picnicking.

The river’s water is a hot fishing spot popular for the best in the state winter steelhead run that continues from December to February. The fall Chinook salmon fishing season is between September and December.

The river boasts numerous excellent swimming sites in the lower section with easy access to the riverbank. Some of the upper Chetco areas in Kalmiopsis Wilderness might require a tough hike to swimming holes.

Chetco River Rockhounding
Brown-green Jasper
Chetco River Rockhounding
Jasper & Quartz

Chetco River | General Description

Open: Year-round
Location: Southern Oregon Coast

Rocks & Minerals: White quartz, jasper, agate
Tools: Gem scoop, collecting bag
Accommodations: Lodging in Brookings, Redwood Bar Campground, Nook Bar Campground, South Fork Campground

Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any vehicle
Fees: None
Popularity: Low to moderate

Adventures Nearby

From Highway 101 in Brookings,

  • Turn north to North Bank Chetco River Road and then bear right staying on North Bank Chetco River Road
  • Travel 3.2 miles northeast to Social Security Bar on the right
  • Follow the next 8 miles to Miller Bar
  • Continue 3.4 miles to Redwood Bar.

GPS (Social Security Bar): N 42°3.853' W 124°13.799' | 42.064221, -124.229976

Get Google Maps Directions

GPS (Redwood Bar): N 42°9.327' W 124°8.724' | 42.155450, -124.145401

Get Google Maps Directions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.