There are plenty of opportunities for rock collecting not far away from the large cities of the Willamette Valley such as Portland, Salem, and Eugene. The waters of the 187-mile long Willamette River and its tributaries carry mineral materials from volcanic deposits of the Cascade Mountains.

Due to all sites mentioned below being located along the river banks, the best collecting time is during the summer and early fall months when the water level drops and more materials are exposed. Before accessing the area and collecting any rocks, check with local agencies for the most up-to-date information, regulations, road conditions and closures.

Nehalem River & Clear Creek

Rocks & Minerals: Carnelian and plum agates, jasper"
Tools: Geologic picks
County: Columbia
Road Access: Maintained

From Portland, drive US 26 west to Timber Road. Turn right onto Timber Road and follow 5.1 miles, then turn left onto Clear Creek Road.

Jaspers, agates including carnelian and plume may be found in the gravel bars of the Nehalem River and Clear Creek and on the hillsides above the rivers. There are just a few public spots to access the river and creek because of private land and fish habitat. Check out river beds along Timber Road, Clear Creek Road, and Banks-Vernonia State Trail. Respect No Trespassing signs.



Willamette River

Rocks & Minerals: Agate and Jasper
Tools: Geology pick
Counties: Clackamas, Marion, Polk, Benton, Linn
Road Access: Maintained

A variety of gem-quality agates and jaspers may be found on the river gravels bed along the banks from Portland to Eugene. The best collecting area is running between the north of Salem to the south of Corvallis.

Calapooia River

Rocks & Minerals: Petrified Wood, Agate, Jasper, Geode
Tools: Geology pick
Counties: Linn
Road Access: Maintained

From Sweet Home, travel onto OR 228 to Upper Callapooia Drive and turn left. Silicified petrified wood, blue and carnelian agates, geodes, and colorful jasper may be found in the gravel bed along the Calapooia River Bank. Though public access to the river is limited, some collecting sites are available. Follow along the Callapooia River via Upper Callapooia Drive to find small pullouts where you can park and walk down to the river's bank. Follow the road until the pavement ends and look for public access to the river.

Update 2020-2021 provided by Linn County and fellow rockhounders:

There is no legal access to the river from the public road until you get into the national forest. There are active logging operations in the area on Upper Calapooia Road before milepost 25. There is no parking from the end of the pavement to the national forest boundary and law enforcement cites violators of parking restrictions.

Currently, the gate at mile marker 25 is closed because the Forest Service road is being closed after the 2020 wildfires. Updates on road closings are posted on the Linn County website.

There is no rockhounding allowed at McKercher County Park due to Linn County regulations.



Clackamas River

Rocks & Minerals: Petrified Wood, Cinnabar, Agate, and Jasper
Tools: Geology pick
Counties
: Clackamas
Road Access: Maintained

From Estacada, travel onto Clackamas Highway OR 224 East along the Clackamas River.

The river bed produces gem-quality petrified wood, cinnabar, common opal, and dark green bloodstone.

Quartzville Creek

Rocks & Minerals: Gold, Pyrite, Agate, Jasper, and Petrified Wood
Counties: Linn
Road Access: Maintained
Locations: Quartzville Creek Recreation Corridor from Rocky Top Bridge to Yellowbotom Recreation Site.

From Sweet Home, drive onto US-20 East/Main Street for about 19 miles to Quartzville Road, turn left onto Quartzville Road and continue roughly 13 miles.

Quartzville Creek is known for its quartz deposits. Also, collectors can find agates, jasper, petrified wood, and gold nuggets along the 9-mile recreation corridor. Recreational mining guidelines are available in BLM, Salem District. There are private claims in the area, be careful not to trespass.



North Fork and South Fork of the Santiam River

Rocks & Minerals: Agate, Jasper, and Petrified Wood
Tools: Geology pick
Counties: Marion, Linn
Road Access: Maintained

North Santiam River. From Salem, take Highway OR 22 and go east towards Detroit.

South Santiam River. From Sweet Home, go east onto OR 20 towards Sisters.

There are a few spots along the rivers with riverbank access and good gravel deposits.

Other Rivers and Creeks

  • Molalla River - Clackamas County
  • Clackamette River - Clackamas County
  • Collawash River - Clackamas County
  • Wilson River - Tillamook County
  • Ames Creek - Linn County

Oregon Rockhounding Map



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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 the 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 responsibility.

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




7 Comments

  1. Is there a place that you can purchase this map to view offline or is there a way to purchase a hard copy?

    1. Just screenshot it on your phone lol

  2. Love the idea of the map, but what do the different colors of icons mean? I don’t see a legend that explains the use of green, red, black and gold.

  3. Fogarty beach is the best place ever for agates fossils and petrified wood. The trick is getting there when the tide is low. Rocks everywhere!

    1. I like coastal Big Creek and Chine Creek between Florence and Yachats


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