Congleton Hollow is an appealing destination for rockhounds who wish to find various samples of petrified wood. Located 60 miles east of Prineville, this area is designated by BLM as a recreational rock and mineral site and listed on the Central Oregon Rockhounding Map which is available for purchase.
The 640 acres of the rockhounding area provide a great opportunity to find opalized petrified wood and limb casts with blue, pink, and green shades. The most prized find would be a larger tree trunk completely replaced with agate, jasper, or quartz. A specimen can have quartz crystal cavities, dendrtitic inclusions, and might be banded.
Limb casts formed when molten lava encased a tree and not completely burned the inside trunk forming a tree-shaped cavity. Later, jaspers and chalcedony from groundwater have been deposited in the cavities.
This site is well known and has been visited for decades, but you still can find tumbler-size materials on the surface.
GPS coordinates listed here are the central point and the first collecting site. The material can be obtained on the hill and in the creek bed. The creek is dry in summer. From the first site travel further next 0.7 miles, stop at any place, or take any branch road. Hike and explore around. Digging the ground will generally yield larger pieces of petrified wood.
The road is rough and bumpy and muddy when wet. Four-Wheel Drive is recommended.
The site is surrounded by BLM lands on the east, north and east. The south side of Congleton Hollow is private property. Another popular site that produces limb casts is Dendritte Butte.
Congleton Hollow Rockhounding Area | General Description
Open: Best time: May-October
Rocks & Minerals: Limb casts, petrified and opalized 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 ft (1,219 m)
Congleton Hollow is located:
- 60 miles southeast of Prineville
- 84 miles east of Bend
- 208 miles southeast of Salem.