Mineral Collecting - Central Oregon
Eagle Rock



Central Oregon just east of the Cascade Mountains is known to be a popular rock and mineral collecting area. Productive sites of Crook, Jefferson, and Deschutes Counties offer a variety of gem-quality minerals including famous thundereggs, petrified wood, limb cast, agate, jasper, and opal. Opal is found at Opal Butte in Morrow County but this area is closed to public diggings.

  • Jefferson County has popular minerals collecting sites including fossils, petrified wood, geodes, thunder eggs, agate and jasper.
  • Deschutes County is well-known for petrified wood.
  • The Warm Spring Reservation in Wasco and Jefferson Counties produces black and white colored agate.
  • Crook County is the most productive area with minerals such as petrified wood, limb casts, thunder eggs, agate, and jasper.

A wide variety of minerals, semiprecious gemstones, and rocks is available on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service. Also, there are privately owned mines, open to the public for fee digging. There may be private claims in some areas. Check it before you go.


Rock & Mineral Collecting - Central Oregon

Here is a list of the most popular sites, available for recreational rockhounding. But before accessing the sites and collecting any rocks, contact the local government agency to find out the most up-to-date information and regulations.

Bear Creek

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

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Eagle Rock

From Prineville, head southwest via Highway 380 to a free standing Eagle Rock, between milepost 14 and 15, and turn right just beyond the rock. Pass the cattle guard and turn left. Travel on a gravel road 1 miles to a fork. Bear right and go 0.4 miles to the next split of the road. Take a left and park your car. Hike up the hill 0.3 miles to the collection site. The Eagle Rock area produces beautiful but scarce red and black plume, dendritic, moss agate in a rhyolite base.

Rocks & Minerals: Agate
Tools: Rock hammers and chisel
County: Crook
Managed: BLM
Road Access: Not maintained; a high-clearance vehicle is recommended; seasonal road closure

Maury Mountains - Ochoco National Forest

Maury Mountain Agate Beds

Maury Mountains Agate Beds produces beautiful but scarce varieties of moss agates with gold, green and red hues. Sometimes dendritic and white plume agates are found.

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Congleton Hollow - South Fork Crooked River

Congleton HollowLimb Casts from the Congleton Hollow Rock Collecting Area is known for its green and pink hues.

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Dendrite Butte - South Fork Crooked River

Dendrite ButteDendrite Butte is known for its limb casts with blue, pink, and green shades.

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Whistler Springs - Ochoco National Forest

A shorter route (provided by Prineville Chamber of Commerce) with narrow and winding sections. From Prineville, drive east via Highway 26 to milepost 49, drive 0.4 miles after milepost 49 to Forest Road 27. Turn left and go for about 6 miles, turn left on Road NF 2700, then take NF 50 to Whistler Springs Campground. Do not use this route in wet weather.

A longer but more gentle route. From Prineville, drive east via Highway 26 to milepost 49, drive 0.4 miles after milepost 49 to Forest Road 27. Turn left onto NF 27 and drive 1.3 miles to Forest Roar 2730. Turn right onto NF 2730 and continue 9.5 miles (on the fork after 6 miles bear left) to Forest Road 200. Turn left onto NF 200 and continue for about 6 miles to Whistler Springs Campground. As the road goes left, take a primitive road to the right. Go down 0.3 miles. As you cross a cattle garden, park your car on the right. You will find a pit near the parking area if you hike west along the trail from a fire pit. Another digging spots are 0.1 mile south on the road that goes on the left.

Whistler Springs Rockhounding
Whistler Springs

Rocks & Minerals: Thundereggs
Tools: Rock hammers, picks, chisel, and shovels
County: Crook
Managed: US National Forest
Road Access: Maintained, seasonal road closure

Warning! The area is bounded from the southern end by Mill Creek Wilderness. Watch boundary signs.



White Fir Springs & White Rock Springs - Ochoco National Forest

White Fir Springs. From Prineville, take Highway 26 east to milepost 41, go 0.4 miles after milepost 41 to Forest Road 3350. Turn left onto NF 3350 and drive 4.9 miles (always take a left fork) to a dirt road NF 010 on the right. Look for signs. You can drive or park your car here and hike uphill 0.1 mile to the collection sites.

White Fir Springs Rockhounding
Jasper Thundereggs - White Fir Springs

White Rock Springs. From Prineville, take Highway 26 east to milepost 41, go 0.4 miles after milepost 41 to Forest Road 3350. Turn left onto NF 3350 and drive 5.5 miles (always take a left fork) to NF 300 on the right. Turn right and continue 1.3 miles to the a digging area on the left. Go about 7 miles to White Rock Springs. Look for signs.

The White Fir Springs and White Rock Springs areas produce thundereggs that are filled with yellow, beige or purple jasper. Some of them contains tiny pieces of quartz crystals.

Do not dig behind the wilderness boundary fence.

Rocks & Minerals:Thundereggs
Tools: Rock hammers, picks, chisel, and shovels
County: Crook
Managed: US National Forest
Road Access: Maintained, seasonal road closure

Warning! The area is bounded from the southern end by Mill Creek Wilderness. Watch boundary signs.

Ochoco Reservoir

From Prineville, drive 7.25 miles east via Highway 26. Park off the highway or at Ochoko Lake Park. BLM gravel road is located on the left of the highway, just before milepost 26. Hike 125 feet on a gravel road and then turn left on a dirt road. After 250 feet, turn right and continue uphill 775 feet. Walk toward cliffs, looking for rockfall piles.

Rocks & Minerals: Agate and jasper
Tools: Rock hammers, picks, and chisel
County: Crook
Managed: BLM



Fischer Canyon

From Prineville, travel 31 miles south via Highway 27 (Main Street). Turn left on a dirt road, just 0.15 miles after Salt Creek Road. Drive 0.5 miles to the base of hills.

Fischer Canyon Rockhounding
Fischer Canyon Minerals

Rocks & Minerals: Petrified Wood, agate, jasper, calcite, leaf fossils
Tools: Picks
County: Crook
Managed: BLM
Road Access: Not maintained, muddy when wet

Hampton Butte

Hampton ButteHampton Butte is well-known among rock collectors for its unique green petrified wood.

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Wheeler High School Fossil Beds

Fossils - City of Fossil
The ridge behind the high school is Oregon's only legally accessible fossil dig bed that produces plant fossils including metasequoia, the ancestors of sycamore, maples, oaks, rose, and alder. Also, you can find aquatic vertebrates, a bat specimen, and previously unknown species of salamander.

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Richardson’s Rock Ranch - Madras

Richardson’s Rock Ranch thunder eggsLocated northeast of Madras, the Richardson Rock Ranch is known for its famous Priday Plume Agate. The highly-prized in the world those agates have brilliant red and yellow plumes in the transparent matrix.

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Polka Dot Agate Mine

Polka Dot AgatePolka Dot Agate Mine is famous agate beds that produce agates with polka-dot patterns.

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Lucky Strike Mine

Lucky Strike MineA remote fee-digging Lucky Strike Mine is a popular site to collect stunning thundereggs.

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Oregon Rockhounding Map

DISCLAIMER

The Oregon Rockhounding Map provides information about some of the many rockhounding sites of the state of Oregon. Information is subject to change at any time, and Oregon Discovery team cannot guarantee that is either current or correct. Be aware that there are some mine claims and private lands near the public collecting areas. Determining the land status and minerals' collection rules at the site is your primary responsibility.

Currently, this map is incomplete but new rockhounding sites and related details will be added in the future.




Marli B. Miller. Roadside Geology of Oregon. 2014. Mountain Press Publishing Company Missoula, Montana.
William A. Kappele. Rockhounding Nevada: A Guide to the State's Best Rockhounding Sites. 2010. A Falcon Guide.
Lars Johnson. Rockhounding Oregon: A Guide to the State's Best Rockhounding Sites (Rockhounding Series). 2014. A Falcon Guide.
William A. Kappele. Rockhounding Nevada: A Guide To The State's Best Rockhounding Sites (Rockhounding Series). 2011. A Falcon Guide.
Dan R. Lynch, Bob Lynch. Rocks & Minerals of Washington and Oregon: A Field Guide to the Evergreen and Beaver States (Rocks & Minerals Identification Guides). 2012.


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