One of the popular destinations of Central Oregon is the Maury Mountain Agate Bed located 30 miles east of Prineville. Agate Beds is one of the eleven recreational rock and mineral collecting areas included on the Central Oregon Rockhounding Map. The Maury Mountains is a small mountain range within the boundary of the Ochoco National Forest.
This site is well-known for its moss agate, a rare mineral containing embedded mossy or fern-like inclusions. The Maury moss agate occurs in red, brown, green, and gold shades. Botryoidal, dendritic and white plume agates might be found as well.
The parking area is located on the top of the hill of the northern slope of the Maury Mountains named Maury Agate Beds. The area of interest is the hillside just down from the parking, covered with sagebrush and ponderosa pine.
This place has been visited by rock collectors for many years, but float material is still available on the ground surface. To find a good piece of agate you should have more time to search the area. Another option to obtain a nice piece of moss agate is digging. If you find promising chips of material left by somebody else, continue digging out the existing hole or start a new pit. Avoid digging around tree roots. A soil contains clay and dirt sticks to materials especially when wet. So, a brush, spray water bottle, or bucket of water would be handy.
There are four campgrounds in the Maury Mountain area. Elkhorn Campground is the closest one, located 1.5 miles off the agate bed.
Maury Mountain Agate Beds | General Description
Open: Best time: May-October
Managed: US National Forest
Location: Ochoco National Forest
Rocks & Minerals: Moss agate
Tools: Rock hammers, picks, chisel, and shovels
Activities: Rockhounding, camping, hiking, and wildlife observing
Accommodations: Elkhorn Campground
Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any vehicle, seasonal closure during the winter
Day-use fees: None
Elevation: 4,800 ft (1,463 m)
Maury Agate Beds is located:
- 13 miles southeast of Post
- 39 miles southeast of Prineville
- 187 miles southeast of Salem.
Directions to Maury Mountain Agate Beds
- Head southwest on Highway 380 to milepost 33
- Turn right onto Drake Creek Road (Forest Road 16) and drive 4.4 miles to Forest Road 1680
- Turn right onto FR 1680 and drive 1.6 miles to FR 1690, then turn right and continue 0.4 miles to a fork
- Bear right and continue 0.2 miles to the Maury Mountains Parking Area.
Hike downhill for diggings.