Washington state rockhounding map

Washington state rockhounding map DEFAULT

Wandering aimlessly along the Washington coastline, cascade mountains or high desert can easily turn anyone into a rockhound.

Glaciers, active volcanoes, lava flows, caves, and petrified forests…the state of Washington definitely has something to offer everyone when it comes to rock collecting sites.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to focus on in this article….where go rockhounding in Washington state. Here’s a list of the top 10 areas around the state that are known for being excellent rockhounding locations.

Related:Where To Find Geodes (and More) In Washington State

Rockhounding In Washington

1. Damon Point

Rockhounding enthusiasts are probably familiar with Oregon’s beaches as the US’s best place to rockhound for agates. Yet, Damon Point is Washington’s ‘hidden gem’ when it comes to agates. It happens to be a perfect place for birdwatching too, if you’re interested in that as well.

The Southwestern Washington coastal beach area is basically a sand spit that flows into Grays Harbor over a distance of two and a quarter miles. It receives agates washed out by the sea gracefully forming pebble beds that are the destination of agate lovers from all over the world.

Damon Point isn’t limited to agates. You can find granite, jasper, and smoothed basalt there as well, so you’re in for a treat! Yet, it’s the agates that are abundantly present there, and that’s definitely what this area is known for.

Pro Tip: Be well prepared when it comes to clothes and equipment when you go to Damon point. It can get cold and windy. The surface of the terrain isn’t the easiest to walk on as well. Rubber boots and a rubber coat would be perfect companions.

Related:Collecting Rocks On Ocean Beaches: What To Look For and Where To Find It

2. Blanchard Mountain

Spread over 4,500 acres, the Blanchard forest -also goes by the names Blanchard Mountain and Blanchard Hills- is one of the most remarkable rockhounding sites in the state of Washington. 

Since 2007, the DNR has been actively working to protect the wildlife in the area, subsequently protecting fossils and minerals. That’s why you should have your Discover Pass ready with you when you go there. 

The available minerals there are calcite, pyrite, siderite, quartz, and most importantly, Stilpnomelane, a strikingly beautiful black mineral that’s crystalized and occurs in a zone of green chert.

Stilpnomelane is an extremely rare and complex hydrous iron aluminosilicate that can only be found in iron-rich rocks and only in the form of small disseminated crystals. For these reasons, Blanchard Mountain is the home of Stilpnomelane in Washington, and a lot of rockhounds take a deep interest in it.  

3. King County

While mountains are the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the combo (rockhounding and Washington), the Evergreen state has some hidden treasures in its lowlands. One of the most prominent sites for that is King County.

The superstar there is the Cadman quarry, a fifty-year-old quarry that’s situated with valuable minerals. Rockhounds love to go there for quartz and calcite mostly.

Calcite forms inverse rhombohedrons that are abundant in the Cadman quarry. The depth of the place allows for sharp-edged pieces to be formed deeply in there, which might be challenging for rockhounds when they try to extract them.

In the Eastern side of the Cadman quarry, quartz is abundant. It’s usually found in the form of blue agate. Another interesting area that contains various forms of quartz is the Cedar Ponds quartz deposit. 

Pro Tip: The best spot to rockhound in Cedar ponds is two miles away from the parking area there, along the cliffside. Yet, you have to prepare for walking through dense vegetation till you reach the prominent dig sites. The area is overwhelmingly vast, so you might need to bring a map.

4. Walker Valley Geodes

Located in Skagit County, 9 miles east of Mr. Vernon, Washington, Walker Valley Geodes is Washington’s best destination for hounding geodes. 

The area is rich in breathtakingly beautiful geodes that encompass clear quartz and/or purple Amethyst. Since they’re rare, finding purple Amethyst crystals is the primary purpose for rockhounds who aim to Walker Valley Geodes.

Pro Tip: The challenge here is not to find geodes but to extract them without ruining them. Use your rock hammer gently when digging the geodes out of their hard surrounding rock to avoid damaging them.

5. Ginkgo Petrified Forest

Petrified wood has been Washington’s state gem since 1975. Washington’s interior was fully made of swampy trees like oak, elm, and cypress in prehistoric times. Later on, some of these forests were preserved by lava flows, and they fossilized, producing the exotic petrified wood that Washington is known for now.

Ginkgo’s Petrified Forest is a state park that’s home to a collection of the rarest petrified wood specimens from 1932. The collection is preserved in an air-conditioned trailside museum that features more than 20 petrified logs.

As you probably know, rockhounding is banned in state parks, but we couldn’t help but mention the Ginkgo forest on this list. Hardcore rockhounds will pay the Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Center visit for the worth and scarcity of its elements. 

Related:3 Largest Petrified Forests In The World

6. Oak Harbor

Oak Harbor in Whidbey Island, Island County, Washington, is home to several types of jade. For instance, nephrite, a form of green jade that’s formed as a result of tectonic plates colliding. It’s mainly magnesium and calcium silicate intertwined in a solid fibrous structure. Nephrite is beautiful, insanely tough, and rare. One of the best places to find it is Oak harbor. 

Pro Tip: Oak Harbor has a treasure hunting club that can be helpful in guiding you to the best digging spots. It’d be especially helpful if you’re a newbie to rockhounding.

7. Okanogan County

Located in the Northeastern part of Washington, mainly composed of high mountains and narrow valleys in between them, Okanogan County is known for mining. The county has been a center of mineral production since the fifties. 

One particularly rich place in gems is the Last Chance mine. It literally oozes gemstones! Malachite, quartz, pyrite, and azurite. It also has vanadium, copper, silver, and gold. You name it, you find it! 

Gold panning is a common activity there. Since you’ll typically only recover small amounts of gold, panning here is totally free, and there are no permissions required by the state.

Suction dredges aren’t allowed, though.

8. Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach is a preferred destination for many hikers and rockhounds. This pebble-covered coast that’s located 14 miles west of Forks, Washington, is rich in gray basalt, jasper, and quartz. People who go there for rock collecting are usually after Orbicular Jasper, whose vibrant orange color makes it stand out among the overall grayish rocks it sits on. The bright orange orb pattern is why they call Orbicular Jasper ‘Poppy Jasper.’

It is possible that you can find agates here as well, However, we won’t say this is the best gemstone to look for on Rialto beach. Beachcombing for poppy jaspers is way easier there! 

Pro Tip: There are transparent remnants of mainland cliffs that have separated from land as a result of erosion long years ago called sea stacks. You can find these just right off the beach. 

9. Port Orchard

If you’re after sea glass, then Harper Beach, port orchard, Washington, might be the destination you’re looking for.

The beach is loaded with sea glass in various quality levels and colors. There’s green, amber, white, and aqua sea glass. 

In the southern part of the beach, there are grass-filled areas that seem to provide protection for the glass. Don’t give up easily; going through this grass will be rewarding when you manage to extract that sea glass stuck there.

As a result of long exposure to seawater, you’ll find that the older glass is frosted because of the water’s high Ph value. The presence of algae in the area might’ve played a role in the yellow/ greenish tint on the glass as well.

Related:How To Find Sea Glass (10 Tips For Collecting Sea Glass)

10. Ellensburg Area

The Ellensburg Blue Agate is the third rarest gemstone worldwide. To find them, head to Ellensburg Area in Kittitas County. There’s a 160-Acre land called Rock N’ Tomahawk Ranch, on the upper green canyon road. You pay $5, get a brief orientation session, and the place is yours to start rock collecting.

Pro Tip: The best time to do it is in the early summer days so that winter wind might’ve pushed the gems to the surface. In all cases, it’s a super rare gemstone, so don’t set very high expectations.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the 10 best spots for rockhounding in Washington state. There’s an abundance for everyone in agates, jades, quartz, and definitely, the state’s proprietary, petrified wood!

Make sure to check the DNR rules and prepare for any required permits before you go. This is for your own safety and to save your time, 

Sours: https://www.rockseeker.com/rockhounding-in-washington/

Washington is a fantastic state for rockhounding, both for its wide variety of minerals and its large number of prospective rockhounding sites. The state is divided by the Cascades, with beautiful ocean beaches noted for their agate hunting to the west, and large basaltic lava flows to the east which are largely responsible for much of the fossilized and petrified wood found in the region.

Due to the relatively recent and extensive volcanic activity in the area, Washington State is one of the best states in the entire U.S. for rockhounding. The basalt flows fossilized vast forests, creating enormous amounts of fossilized and opalized wood, and the void spaces left by gas pockets in the lava flows created countless agates and jaspers which are now highly sought after by rockhounds from all over the world.

The best places to rockhound in Washington are Pacific Ocean beaches, river and stream gravels, and countless mines found across the state. In particular, the beaches around Olympic National Park are famous for their beautiful agates, and the Horse Heaven Hills area produces many specimens of opalized wood.

State Symbols
State Mineral
State Rock
State GemstonePetrified Wood
State FossilColumbian Mammoth
Petrified Wood

Rocks & Minerals Found in Washington State

Washington sports a wide variety of minerals, particularly minerals in the quartz family. Due to its relatively recent volcanic activity in the eastern part of the state, agates, jaspers, and fossilized wood are bountiful all across the area. Other desirable rocks and minerals such as geodes and opal are also are fairly common if you look in the right locations.

The most commonly found minerals in Washington State are:

  • Agate
  • Jasper
  • Chalcedony
  • Chert
  • Quartz crystals
  • Opalized wood
  • Fossilized wood
  • Geodes
  • Opal

Rockhounding Locations in Washington State

Through quite a bit of research and cross-referencing of available literature, I have compiled this list of some prospective locations in Washington which I would recommend to people looking to do some rockhounding. These are mostly comprised of old mining prospects, streams, and historically known rock and mineral collecting sites. For additional reading, I’d highly recommend these books you can find on Amazon:

Please remember that rock collecting locations are constantly changing. Specimens may become depleted from other collectors, the location may have been built on or altered, locality information in literature may be inaccurate, and property ownership may have changed hands. Though there are many locations listed here, this list is far from exhaustive. A location’s listing here is not a guarantee of accuracy. Be safe, never go underground, and make sure to get permission from the landowner to search for and collect specimens.

If you’re planning on heading to the field, make sure you have all the gear you’ll need! To get started, you can check out my recommended gear page which contains my full reviews for every Geologist’s favorite rock hammer and the best hiking backpack I’ve ever owned.

NOTE: All the locations listed in these tables are clickable, and will take you to the location on Google Maps.

For ease of reference, I’ll break up the state into the four regions shown on the map below. Each region will have its own list of rockhounding locations with an accompanying map.

Seattle & Northwest Washington Rockhounding Locations

The best places to go rockhounding in Northwestern Washington are the beaches of the Pacific Ocean and the gravels of the many regional rivers and creeks. The ocean beaches are famous for their agates, jaspers, and other quartz minerals, while the banks of the rivers and creeks are often panned for gold.

If you’re looking for rockhounding locations close to Seattle or Tacoma, unfortunately, your best bet will be to either check out the sites I list below in southwestern Washington or to travel to the Pacific Ocean beaches to do some beachcombing. You can also try the area around Denny Mountain where specimens of rock crystal (exceptionally clear quartz crystals) have been found. The Seattle and Tacoma metro areas aren’t well known for their rockhounding, although you may be able to find some interesting specimens along the shores of the Puget Sound.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Shi Shi BeachGold, Iridosmine, Platinum
Dungeness, in river gravelsAgate, Jasper (Orbicular)
Lake Crescent, 1 mi. NW of W end of lakeJasper
Crescent Beach, area gravelsAgate, Chert, Jasper
La Push, area beach gravelsAgate, Jasper
Sol Duc River, in gravelsAgate, Chert, Jasper
Ozette River, in gravelsGold (placer)
Sappho, in Sol Duc River gravelsAgate, Jasper (Orbicular)
Thunder Creek District, area mining dumpsSilver
Hamilton, S bank of Skagit RiverHematite, Gold (placer)
Darrington, area stream & river gravelsGold (placer)
Gold Bar, sands along Skykomish RiverGold
Granite Falls, area gravels and streamsGold
Monte Cristo, area mining dumpsArsenic, Arsenopyrite, Azurite, Chalcopyrite, Malachite, Melaconite, Pyrite, Pyrrhotite, Realgar, Scorodite
Sultan, area mines & sands along riverGold
Pasayten Wilderness, numerous minesGold, Pyrite
Denny Mt., W side above creekRock crystal
Money Creek, area lode minesGold
Issaquah, E side of Fifteen-Mile CreekAmber

Central Washington Rockhounding Locations

Central Washington is home to a plethora of fantastic rockhounding destinations. This part of the state boasts a wide variety of minerals to be found, equitably distributed throughout the region. The best places to rockhound in Central Washington are the sands and gravels of the many regional rivers and streams, as well as select mountainsides and hillsides. The Horse Heaven Hills area is particularly notable for its opalized wood and petrified wood. The rivers and streams of this part of the state are also very popular for gold panning.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Horse Heaven Hills, area washes & drawsOpalized wood
Horseshoe Basin district, area minesChalcopyrite, Galena
Columbia River, area sandsGold (placer)
Bridgeport, area exposuresJadeite
Waterville, area excavations, gravels, diggings, etc.Opal (Common)
Cle Elum, areaAgate (Blue)
Red Top Mt. and Teanaway Ridge, both sides of roadGeodes (Blue agate)
Middle Fork Teanaway River, in gravelsAgate, Geodes (Chalcedony)
Ellensburg, N of town weathering out of lava flowsGeodes (Blue chalcedony)
Liberty, along Williams & other area creeksGold (placer)
Liberty, area 2 mi. toNEAgate, Chalcedony nodules
Petrified Forest State Park, outside boundariesOpalized wood, Petrified wood
Columbia River, gravels & sands S of VantageOpalized wood, Petrified wood
Bickleton, area W of townAgate, Carnelian, Jasper, Opalized wood
Lyle, hillsides2 mi. E of townPetrified wood
Klickitat River, 6 mi. upstream from LylePetrified wood
Cathedral Peak, area minesWolframite
Methow, area minesStibnite, Chalcopyrite
Osoyoos Lake, area mines S of borderCopper minerals, Pyrite
Tunk Creek, gravels of the mouthQuartz crystals, Corundum (blue, pink), Thulite, Plagioclase
Mary Ann Creek, placersGold (placer)
American River, placer deposits for many milesGold (placer)
Mabton, area draws, washes, hillsides, etc.Petrified wood, Opalized wood
Rattlesnake Mt., area on S sidePetrified wood, Opalized wood
Cairn Hope Peak, area on S sidePetrified wood, Opalized wood

Eastern Washington Rockhounding Locations

Eastern Washington boasts quite a few notably rockhounding destinations. The streams and rivers of this part of the state are well known for their gold placer deposits, and there are countless old mining dumps where a wide variety of minerals can be found. The Grand Coulee area is particularly notable for its opalized wood specimens, and there are several areas including Bald Butte where rockhounds can hope to collect their own quartz crystals.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Clarkston, area sand & gravel exposuresGold (placer)
Snake River, in sand barsGold (placer)
Lyman Lake, Crown Point Mine to WGold, Quartz crystals
Covada, the Longstreet Mine dumpStibnite
Nespelem to Coulee Dam, Columbia River sandsGold (placer)
Gold Creek, placer depositsGold (placer)
Ringold, area gravels near Columbia RiverAgate
Mattawa, Saddle Mountains areaOpalized wood (logs)
Grand Coulee, area lava outcrop debrisOpalized wood
Moses Coulie, area lava outcropsOpalized wood
Loon Lake Copper MineAzurite, Bornite, Chalcopyrite, Malachite, Pyrite, Quartz
Mondovi, NW in lava outcropsOpal, Fire Opal
Metaline Falls, Josephine MineSmithsonite
Newport, area gravels, streams, etc.Amethyst
Sacheen Lake, shorelinesGarnet
Daybreak MineAutunite
Chattaroy, gravels of Little Spokane RiverGarnet, Quartz crystals
Silver Hill, SE of SpokaneCassiterite
Copper King Mine, NE of ColvilleChalcopyrite
Deer Lake, area to the E in quartz veinsPyrite
Marcus, area placersGold (placer)
Snake River, area gravel & sand barsGold (placer)
Bald Butte, S sidearea washes & drawsQuartz crystals (smoky quartz)
Pullman, in lava outcrops to the NEOpal (fire opal)

Southwest Washington Rockhounding Locations

Southwestern Washington is perhaps the best region of the state in which to go rockhounding. Much like Oregon, this part of the state is especially famous for its agates and jaspers found along the Pacific Ocean beaches. In fact, many quartz family minerals can be found across Southwestern Washington including agate, jasper, amethyst, carnelian, chalcedony, and petrified wood. The Pacific Ocean beaches are the best places to rockhound, but for more diverse specimens including amethyst geodes you can check out the other locations on this list including Kalama and Mt. Adams.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Brush Prairie, in area sandsGold (placer)
Camas, in Columbia River sandbarsGold, (placer)
Washougal, area 2.5 mi. to NEAgate (moss agate), Amethyst
Kalama, area ~5 mi. EAgate (fortification agate), Carnelian, Chalcedony, Geodes (Amethyst geodes)
Sightly, areaBloodstone, Carnelian
Kelso, to S at base of cliffs along I-5Agate
Aberdeen, on beaches and in streamsJasper (flower jasper)
Moclips, N on beaches and in stream gravelsAgate, Jasper
Kalaloch, area beach gravelsAgate, Jasper
Queets, area beach gravelsAgate, Chert, Jasper
Lucas Creek, area E of AdnaAgate, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Geodes, Jasper, Petrified wood
McCoy Farm near Adna (fee)Carnelian, Petrified wood
Centralia, regional stream and river gravelsAgate, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Geodes, Jasper, Petrified wood
Doty, in Chehalis River gravelsAgate, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Geodes, Jasper, Petrified wood
Newaukum River gravels, near ForestGeodes, Nodules
Pe Ell, regional river and stream gravelsAgate, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Geodes, Jasper, Petrified wood
Toledo, area river and stream gravelsGeodes, Nodules
Willapa Hills, area gravels & road cutsAgatized fossil shells
Lebam, gravels of Willapa RiverAgatized fossil shells, Chalcedony
Long Beach, in beach gravelsAgate, Chalcedony, Quartz
Ocean Park, in beach gravelsAgate, Chalcedony, Quartz
Green Creek, N of HolcombAgate, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Jasper
Clay City, area ~1 mi. EAmethyst
Mt. Adams, areaAgate, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Jasper, Quartz crystals

Where to Find Agates in Washington

Agates are some of the easiest to find and most enjoyable specimens sought by rock collectors. The Pacific Northwest is world-famous for its agates, particularly along the beaches of the Pacific Ocean. A determined collector can likely find agates on nearly any ocean beach in Washington, but there are certainly some that are better than others. Beyond the ocean beaches, there are many rivers and streams throughout Washington where fantastic agate specimens can be found.

These agates form when the void spaces left by air pockets in cooling basalt lava flows are subsequently filled with microcrystalline quartz. This gradual process often produces beautiful banding and interesting patterns. The colors vary depending on the various impurities which precipitate into the void space along with the silica. After the basalt flows are weathered away, the exceptionally hard agates are left behind and transported in fast-moving water.

The best places to find agates in Washington are:

Tip: Check out my Complete Rock Tumbling Guide to make your rocks and gemstones really shine!

Where to Find Geodes in Washington State

Geodes are some of the most popular and attractive rock specimens sought after by rockhounds, and for good reason. They are a blast to find and even better to crack open to see what treasures they hold inside. Fortunately for you rockhounds in Washington, there are several places in the state when you can go to find your own. These geodes can be filled with a variety of minerals including chalcedony, agate, and amethyst. For more information on the Walker Valley geode location, I would highly recommend this site.

The best places to find geodes in Washington State are:

Tip:You can purchase your own geodes from Amazon

Where to Find Fossils in Washington State

Washington is home to a wide variety of fossils, ranging from ancient plants to mammoth bones (the mammoth happens to be the state fossil). Some of the most commonly found fossils are clams shells which have been opalized or fossilized and turn up along the shores of beaches and rivers. Quality fossil digging sites are hard to find in the state, but luckily there are a few locations that a open to the public where rockhounds can go with the hope of discovering their own quality specimens.

The best places to find fossils in Washington State are the Stonerose Interpretive Center & Eocene Fossil Site and the Ginkgo Petrified Forest. To see fossils on display I would recommend checking out the Burke Museum. For a wealth of information about the types of fossils found in Washington State and their localities, you can check out Fossils in Washington from the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Where to Find Jade in Washington

Luckily for rockhounds, Washington State is one of very few places where jade can be found in the U.S. Even so, jade is pretty rare and can only be found in a select few locations and will likely require some dedication and luck. If you get particularly lucky you might unearth something as spectacular as an 8-ton nephrite jade boulder.

The best places to search for jade are:

Washington State Rockhounding Laws & Regulations

One of the most common questions rockhounds have is whether or not they are allowed to collect at a certain location. It is the responsibility of each rockhound to obtain permission from a landowner to search and/or collect on a piece of property.

The ownership and status of land can and does change frequently, making it impossible to document accurate information on this page. However, I have compiled a list of resources here so that you may investigate and obtain permission for any locations (found here or elsewhere) for yourself.

Public Land Resources

I have written entire articles which cover the rockhounding laws and regulations for nearly every type of public land you can think of. I encourage you to check them out if you are curious about the legalities of rock and mineral collecting.

To determine what type of public land a particular location is on, I would recommend starting with the Washington Department of Natural Resources State Trust Lands Map and the Washington Non-DNR Major Public Lands Portal.

Private Land Resources

As with most states, each county in Washington will have records of who owns each piece of property. Unfortunately for rockhounds, the law in most states prohibits them from publishing their names or contact information online. You can usually get the landowner’s name and address by visiting the county records office. In Washington, I would recommend starting with the County Assessor‘s office.

Sources & Further Reading

The locations and information contained in this article are primarily derived from academic papers, online resources, and other outside sources. If you would like to read some of the source material for yourself I have listed them below. The majority of these locations are my interpretation of Robert Beste’s A Location Guide for Rock Hounds in the United States. Other sources include:

Sours: https://rockhoundresource.com/washington-state-rockhounding-location-guide-map/
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Rockhounding Washington State is definitely something for a rock collector’s bucket list.

Aside from the crazy beauty of the state (trees, rivers, mountains, beaches) you can find an extraordinary variety of unique rocks and fossils.

Due to years of significant volcanic activity in the state, you’ll be able to hunt for and find agate, jasper, opal, and even gold nuggets.

You may also get lucky and find some gems, such as amethysts and garnets.

Don’t forget fossils (crinoids, clams, snails, corals) or petrified wood, which is the Washington state gem!

There are too many amazing sites to choose from in Washington for rock hunting. Literally, there are hundreds of sites. Hundreds.

Here is a collection of some of our favorite sites and some need-to-know details.


The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.

Rockhounding Washington Rules and Regulations

Experienced rock hunters know that it is important to check the laws where you are before you collect anything or try to take it home.

They also know how important it is to know exactly where you are when you are hunting.

Sometimes half the battle is just knowing if you are on public or private land, and if it is public, which government agency’s rules control.

In general, each public site is going to have some kind of rules for what you can pick up and take home, as well as how much of it. Know before you go.

Places where you cannot hound/hunt in Washington

In Washington, you cannot rockhound or fossil hunt on the following lands:

  • tribal lands
  • national monuments (like Mt St. Helens)
  • national wildlife refuges
  • national scenic areas
  • national parks

Gold panning is not allows on State Trust lands.

Check out the Washington State Department of Natural Resources for the most up to date rules.

This interactive Minerals and Fossils of Washington map is also a great resource to ideas of where you can hunt and what you can find there.

Open Mines

We also want to specifically mention and ask you to avoid mines, mine tunnels, mine shafts, and mining claims, whether they are in good condition or abandoned.

If you aren’t running a risk of trespassing or theft, you might be risking your life, as old mines are extremely dangerous (think collapse). Please just avoid these, and keep your children out of them.

Special Rules for Fossils/Artifacts in Washington

For many reasons, as you see in many states, there are certain types of cool objects that you can’t pick up and take home.

Meteorites and vertebrate fossils cannot be collected without a permit, for example.

If you discover archaeological or historic artifacts (or anything that looks like it is Native American), not only should you not collect it and take it home, but you probably shouldn’t even mess with it, dig it up to look at it, or even touch it.

As our urban areas expand and swallow up rural spaces, more opportunities arise to stumble into these types of previously undiscovered sites of significant scientific value.

People don’t realize the damage that they do to the sites by satisfying their own curiosity.

Further, what you might be disturbing when you are poking around is a sacred space or burial ground.

Perhaps the site wouldn’t have scientific value, but it would certainly have spiritual, moral, and ethical implications to be digging in what is essentially a gravesite.

And if you are found messing around or doing any sort of damage to these types of sites (even as a casual tourist/prospector), you could be looking at criminal consequences.

Where to Rockhound in Washington State

Now that we have the preliminaries out of the way, here’s a few of our favorite spots that we think you should check out.

Washington Coastal Beaches

As in Oregon, the Washington coastline remains one of the easiest and most enjoyable places to hunt for beautiful rocks, petrified wood, and even sea glass.

While the coastline changes from year to year, you can always find agates and jasper on the beach, especially if you can time your visit right with low tide.

And if you find little or nothing, you can still enjoy the views and get in a good hike/walk.

Another thing to remember is that the Washington beaches are constantly pounded with waves and weather.

So even sites that seem very busy can still be good places to visit to hunt for rocks, as the beaches are constantly bringing in and taking out and moving material from the gravel beds around.

We think that you can find agates on just about any beach on the Washington coastline (like in the Olympic Peninsula), but here are a few well-known favorites:

  • Rosario Beach
  • Bowman Bay
  • Glass Beach
  • North Beach
  • Moran Beach/Whidbey Island
  • Rialto Beach
  • Damon Point
  • West Beach
  • Griffiths-Priday Ocean State Park
  • Grayland Beach
  • Roosevelt Beach
  • Westport Light State Park
  • Twin Harbors

Side benefit to making the trip to the beaches is that you will also be able to hike, walk, take great pictures, and in general enjoy the landscape.

Washington Rivers and Creeks

While we gave some suggestions above for cool places to go on the Washington coast, we can generally recommend just about every waterway as a potential place to be able to find agates, jaspers, and other beautiful rocks.

For example, it is fairly common for folks even along the mighty Columbia River to find good-sized agates on rock beaches at the waters edge the line the river up and downstream.

The key to this is to find rock beaches that are more out of the way and are less picked over, as they do not change or refresh in quite the way that the beaches do.

Make sure that the water you enter is not too deep or swift to walk in safely.

Other ideas for creeks/rivers to check out for rock hunting include:

  • Cedar River
  • Hansen Creek (one of the most popular places to hunt for amethyst)
  • Solo Creek
  • Hardscrabble Lake
  • Snoqualmie River
  • Satsop River
  • Bear Creek
  • Quillayute River
  • Lewis River

The further off the beaten path (main roads) you can get, the better chance you’ll have of finding something cool. Plus you won’t be stumbling over people while you hike.

I recently visited Crescent Bar, Washington, and collected some quartz!

Rock Hunting Under Stumps on Red Top Mountain

Red Top Mountain is a fairly well-known agate collecting area not far from Cle Ellum, Washington (100 miles or so east of Seattle).

This site is on USFS land, but the roads are decent enough that you can get up to the site without four-wheel drive (assuming no major rain or snow events).

Unlike hunting in the more exposed eastern part of the state, the drive up to Red Top Mountain is well forested and green, with lots of decent views (and sometimes deer or even herds of sheep).

Once you park, you can start digging near the car, or you can hike up to the established digging beds, check out the fire lookout (or stop anywhere to dig in between).

Bring some basic tools (hammer and chisel, shovel, spray bottle with some water to see clean to see what you’ve dug up), and a way to bring the rocks back (backpack, buckets, etc).

Due to the rock chips that can fly, some people like to wear protective glasses and work gloves.

While some places are good for surface hunting, this spot is better known for what you can find beneath the surface.

This is a great place to dig for geode crystals, as well as jasper and agates of all kinds of colors.

If you get up there, try digging around the base and underneath the roots of old stumps.

Sometimes you’ll only find small pieces, but other times you can find pieces weighing several pounds.

Unique Finds Blanchard Mountain/Blanchard Hill

Ever heard of stilpnomelane?

This is a phyllosilicate mineral, which often looks like biotite.

It was originally found in the Czech Republic, and now can be found in only a few places in the world, including Blanchard Hill, Washington, aka Blanchard Mountain.

There are several colors of stilpnomelane, but on Blanchard Mountain (not far from Bellingham, about 80-90 miles north of Seattle) the color black it is most often found crystalized as shiny rosettes, usually tucked in with green chert and white quartz veins.

People love to collect this unique mineral to take home and cut up, and shine up, for display, for art projects, and for jewelry.

This is the type of rockhounding generally done with hammers and chisels, gloves and protective eyewear.

Rather than digging into the dirt, you’ll be hammering into the rocky walls of the mountain. It’s challenging work, and a little dangerous.

Bruised knuckles and small cuts are a likely side product. The chert around the stilpnomelane is brittle, and tends to shatter.

But if you find some to take home, you’ll have a unique specimen that very few other rockhounders will have in their own collections.

Digging for Gems Robertson Pit, near Shelton, Washington

Robertson Pit (about 30 miles northwest of Olympia) is a quarry owned by Green Diamond Resource Company, which manages forest land in multiple US states.

With a Recreation Access Permit, you can enter the natural area, and find natrolite, calcite, and analcime, among other specimens.

While you can dig where you like, some more experienced rockhounds do their hunting in the walls (where you can see many weathered pockets exposed).

We find ourselves wary of recommending that people just walk up to a rock wall and start hanging away, as very enthusiastic work can dislodge loose material and bring it down on top of you or someone else.

If you are into gem hunting, other rockhounders suggest: Green Ridge, Rainy Mine, Rock Candy Mountain Road Cut, and Doty Hills.

Petrified Wood at the Gingko Petrified Forest/Wanapum Recreation Area

While you can’t take any petrified wood you spot at the 7,000 acres that is the Gingko Petrified Forest State Park, you’ll definitely learn to identify what it is and what it looks like.

The reason we recommend checking this place out is that we recommend it to everyone! It is just such a unique place, that also happens to offer camping, hiking, and boating opportunities.

Recommended Guidebook

In general, we don’t recommend that people invest or spend much (if any) money to enjoy rockhounding. Much of what you need to know you can access online.

That being said, when you are planning on going out into the woods or off the cell-tower grid, you are going to need to have information in hard copy.

If you are experienced and know where you are going, simply having a physical map of the area where you are driving/hiking can make all the difference.

If you are a beginner (or unfamiliar with the area), we suggest that you check out a book called Gem Trails of Washington.

(This is an Amazon affiliate link. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you).

Written by an avid rockhounder and geologist, this particular publication has easy to understand maps with collecting locations all throughout Washington, some of which you won’t find mentioned on the internets.

For more information

Washington is an amazing place to visit, even if you are a resident. If you are interested in geology, we also recommend that you visit the Mount St. Helens area to see the aftermath of an active volcano.

Wrap Up

We’ve created an ultimate guide to gifts for rockhounds with helpful links directly to Amazon to make looking for and checking out potential gifts quick and review easy!

Still not sure where to go? Check out our trip planning hub for more ideas about where to go rockhounding in Washington, near Boise in Idaho, and Oregon.

Categories Washington, RockhoundingSours: https://yesdirt.com/rockhounding-washington/


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Oligocene petrified wood. Image courtesy of Jim Pruske, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

*DNR is in the process of updating the rockhounding/goldpanning policy. Please check back for more detailed information.

Washington has an extraordinary variety of rocks and fossils. Collectors have the opportunity to find beautiful agates, amethysts, garnets, jaspers, opals, and even the occasional nugget of gold. Our state also has a plethora of fossils including crinoids, clams, trilobites, snails, corals, and at least one dinosaur. The state also has abundant petrified wood, which is the Washington State Gem, and has had over 40 Columbian Mammoth discoveries, which is the Washington State Fossil.

Where Can I Collect?

Before heading out on a rock-hounding or fossil-hunting expedition, there are a few important things collectors need to consider:

Who owns the land you intend to visit?
What are the specific rules about collecting rocks or fossils on this land?
Are there special rules in regards to gold panning?
May I collect vertebrate fossils, meteorites, or archeological artifacts?

Finding out where, how, and what you can collect can be complicated. Each land owner generally has its own set of rules for collecting activities. It pays to do your homework in this regard, as fines for collecting without permission can be hefty.

Before you set out, determine land ownership of your area of interest, learn the permissible collection activities and that owner's rules governing where you can collect, what you can and cannot collect, and how it may legally collected.

  • DNR-Managed Lands
  • Federal Lands
  • Private Lands
  • Eocene gastropods (Turritella), found near Tono, WA. Image courtesy of Jim Pruske, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

    DNR manages two types of land:

    1. State-owned aquatic land (the lands beneath navigable waters of the state);
    2. State Trust land that the DNR manages in trust to provide revenue for various public institutions, including K-12 schools, universities, counties, and junior taxing districts.

    The DNR authorizes non-commercial gathering of rocks/mineral/fossils for recreation, research, or educational purposes under the following conditions:

    1. Individual recreational rock hounding/mineral collecting on State Trust lands is authorized without a permit;
    2. Group recreational rock hounding/mineral collecting/educational activity is authorized by a non-exclusive land-use license for a fee (Contact Ana Shafer for permit 253-569-2307);
    3. DNR must have legal access which allows recreational use (e.g. do not block gates or roads);
    4. Recreational rock hounding/mineral collecting is not allowed in or near typed waters; also, the activity must avoid special habitats per DNR’s HCP (i.e., talus slopes, caves, cliffs, etc.); and
    5. No mechanized equipment (or explosives) is allowed for exposing, collecting, or transporting rocks/minerals to a vehicle.

    Gold panning is not allowed on State Trust lands. It may be authorized on State-owned aquatic lands, but the individual must obtain a use authorization from Aquatic Resources Division. If you get authorization, you will also need to have a copy of the Gold and Fish Pamphlet on you at all times. See the Gold Panning section for more information.

  • Public lands managed by the Federal Government which allow rock-hounding and fossil hunting or have designated sites for those activities are managed by either the USDA National Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. Contact local agency staff for specific information.

    The Oregon and Washington Office of the Bureau of Land Management maintains the records of mineral claims on federal lands. This office can field any questions about finding existing mineral claims or establishing new claims. Contact them by phone at 1-503-808-6001, ext. 2.

    Other federal public lands managed by the Federal Government which do not allow rock-hounding or fossil-hunting include:

    National Parks
    National Monuments
    National Wildlife Refuges
    National Scenic Areas
    Tribal Lands
  • If you own property and the associated mineral rights, then you have the right to collect on your property or to give permission to others to do so. If you are not sure if you own the mineral rights to your property, check the property deed, or contact the County Assessor’s office.

    Patented or unpatented mining claims are considered private lands, and you must obtain the owner's or claim holder's permissions before proceeding.

Gold Panning

The state’s streams that contain placer gold are also important for the plant and animal communities they support. To protect stream and streamside habitats, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) administers the Hydraulics Code (RCW 75.20.100). This requires that any person or government agency desiring to use, divert, obstruct, or change the natural flow or bed of any river or stream, or utilize materials from stream beds shall obtain a Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA). Anyone seeking to do this on state-owned aquatic lands must also receive a use authorization from DNR's Aquatic Resources Division. Gold panning is not authorized on DNR-managed State Trust land (i.e. non-navigable stream passing over DNR State Trust lands).

A formal HPA is not required for recreational panning and prospecting if you use a gold pan, mini-rocker box, or nonmotorized, small sluice box. However, you must have a formal HPA for sluicing and dredging.

Placer gold miners on Skookum Creek, circa 1918.

The DFW publishes the booklet, Gold and Fish, which provides details and definitions for use by recreational gold panners. You must carry this pamphlet with you whenever you are panning and learn and follow its rules. The booklet also lists the classes of different streams and seasonal restrictions to certain activities on the various streams. You must also find out if the area you have selected has any current mineral leases or existing prospects so that you don't inadverently jump someone else's claim. If you have any questions, contact the DFW.

While the Gold and Fish pamphlet is required, it is still vital that you obtain land owner permission and fulfill all of the requirements under that jurisdiction before you can begin to legally prospect for gold.

Gold miner panning on the Nooksack River, circa 1976.

For more information on gold in Washington, view the resources listed below.

Gold Panning Handbook
A listing of all DNR publications on gold in Washington
Mindat, an online mineralogical database (Washington)
Gem Trails of Washington 2014, by Garret Romaine
Gold Panning the Pacific Northwest 2015, by Garret Romaine

What and Where Not To Collect

Due to the rarity and the importance to science, meteorites, vertebrate fossils, or any archeological or historic artifacts cannot be collected without a permit. Permits will only be granted for scientific purposes. If you’ve discovered any of these items, please contact the appropriate agency (for example, Washington Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service).

More information on archeological permitting in Washington State and on Federal public lands can be found here:

Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
National Park Service

Rock-hounding or fossil hunting is not permitted on these lands:

National Parks
National Monuments
National Wildlife Refuges
National Scenic Areas
Tribal Lands

Gold panning is not allowed on State Trust lands.

Mineral and Fossil Map

Where Do I Start?

There are many ways to learn more about the amazing rock and fossil resources we have in this state. You can start by purchasing educational guides or textbooks that explain more about how rocks were formed, or the depositional environment which a fossil was preserved.

You can also visit museums like the Burke on the University of Washington Campus, in Seattle. Stonerose Interpretive Center is a great option for fossil hunting. For a small fee, you can likely take home some great fossil specimens of your own as it’s a designated area for this activity.

Lastly, you can get involved with your local rock and gem club, listed here and here.

Oligocene cephalopods (Aturia angustata), from the Lincoln Creek Formation near Raymond, WA. Image courtesy of Jim Pruske, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

For more information, view the resources listed below.

Gold Panning Handbook
A listing of all DNR publications on gold
Gems and Minerals of Washington, 1983
A listing of all DNR publications on paleontology
Mindat, an online mineralogical database (Washington)
Gem Trails of Washington 2014, by Garret Romaine
Fossils of Washington, Division of Geology Information Circular 35
Gold Panning the Pacific Northwest 2015, by Garret Romaine
Burke Museum
Stonerose Interpretive Center
Ginkgo Petrified Forest
Northwest Paleontological Association
Washington Minerals
Washington State Mineral Council

Sours: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/rockhounding

Rockhounding map state washington

Minerals and Fossils in Washington


Washington has an extraordinary variety of rocks and fossils. Collectors have the opportunity to find beautiful agate, amethyst, garnet, jasper, opal, and even the occasional nugget of gold. Our state also has a plethora of fossils including crinoids, clams, trilobites, snails, corals, and at least one dinosaur. The state also has abundant petrified wood, which is the Washington State Gem, and has had over 40 Columbian Mammoth discoveries, which is the Washington State Fossil.

Check out our rockhounding page to find out:

rockhounding_storymap.jpgOur Mineral and Fossil Story Map compiles known locations of minerals and fossils such as petrified and opalized wood, fossil crabs, cephalopods, gastropods, trilobites, pelecypods, braciopods, leaf fossils, gemstones, geodes, zeolites, and chalcedony and opal. It is best viewed in full-screen mode.

Be aware that this map may show locations where the minerals are amazing, but where rockhounding is not permissible. Determining land ownership and collection rules at that site is your first responsibility.

Before you set out, determine land ownership of your area of interest, learn the permissible collection activities and that owner’s rules governing where you can collect, what you can and cannot collect, and how it may legally be collected.

The consequences for collecting materials without permission are steep, as in most cases this would be considered trespassing and stealing.

You’re responsible for your own safety. Steer clear of open mine tunnels or shafts—they can collapse, crushing you or trapping you inside. No mineral specimen is worth your life.

Our “Where Do I Start?” tab provides links to:

  • Museums like the Burke Museum in Seattle or Stonerose Interpretive Center in Eastern Washington
  • Local rock and gem clubs
  • Handbooks and publications on gold
  • Other rockhounding websites
  • And many others





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2020 First Rockhounding Trip Agates~Common Opal~Quartz~SW Washington State GEMS FOUND!

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The state of Washington is among the best places for rockhounding. It is filled with all kinds of geologic activity from petrified forests, glaciers, giant lava flows, caverns, active volcanoes, or caves. If you ever wondered where to go rockhounding in Washington state, practically everywhere is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. But what can you find?

The best places for rockhounding in Washington State are the Horse Heaven Hills area, the Pacific Ocean beaches, stream gravels, rivers, the beaches around Olympic National Park, or the endless mines across the state. You can find obsidian, geodes, agates, opals, gold, fossilized wood, fossils, and more.

The official state fossil of Washington is the Columbian Mammoth, while the state gemstone is petrified wood due to its abundance. Most of it is found in the state’s eastern and western parts, particularly in the Columbia Plateau basalts or the Gingko Petrified Forest State Park in Vantage.

If you are interested in checking out the best book about rockhounding in Washington State you can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).

Rockhounding in Washington State: Where to Go & What to Find!

Where Can I Go Rockhounding in Washington State? Best Locations

There are no places better than the Pacific Ocean beaches or the gravels of rivers and creeks when it comes to rockhounding in Washington. Gold panning is common in the banks of the rivers and creeks, while agates, jasper, quartz minerals, and other specimens are also found.

Let’s dive right in and see exactly what can you find in the best of these locations!

Pacific Ocean Beaches

If you want to do some beachcombing, then Shi Shi Beach is where you can find gold, platinum, or even iridosmine. The river gravels of Dungeness are abundant in agate or jaspers.

The Crescent Beach in northwest Washington is filled with agates, chert, and jasper. The beach gravels of La Push are noteworthy for agates and jasper, and the same goes for Sol Duc River, Ozette River, or Darrington.

When it comes to southwest Washington, the beaches, and in the streams of Aberdeen, Moclips, Kalaloch, Queets, and Long Beach, you can find agate, jasper, chert, chalcedony, and quartz.

Mount Adams

An excellent place for gem hunting is Mount Adams, located in Yakima County/Skamania County. Here you can find agates, carnelian, chalcedony, jasper, quartz crystals, geodes, and more!

It is a beautiful place with many sights to see, and enthusiasts will love the diversity that comes with it. Prepare your tools, and head to Mount Adams for a unique rockhounding experience!

The Horse Heaven Hills

When it comes to opalized wood and petrified wood, the Horse Heaven Hills in Central Washington is a must! Here, the abundance of these specimens is overwhelming.

The rivers and streams here are also very popular when it comes to gold panning; however, you can also find chalcopyrite and galena if you are lucky.


In Cowlitz County, in the southwest of Washington, there is a city named Kalama. The areas around this city are abundant in specimens that are sure of interest to rockhounds. Here you can find agates (fortification agate), carnelian, chalcedony, beautiful and big geodes (amethyst geodes).

Columbia River

Part of the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, the Columbia River, runs through Washington, and some locations near it are great for collectors!

For example, in sand areas, you might find gold (placer) in the central parts, while also in the gravels and sand south of Vantage, you may find opalized wood or petrified wood. In the eastern parts, gold can also be found in the sands of Nespelem to Coulee Dam, Columbia River.

For agates, you can try the gravels near the river in the Ringold area. Southwest, in Camas, with a bit of luck, you might also find gold in the sandbars near the river.

Other Great Spots for Rockhounding in Washington

Rivers are great spots for rockhounding in Washington State

An honorable mention on our list is the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park in Vantage; however, few places allow specimens to be collected.

When it comes to quartz, amethyst, even amethyst crystals, Cedar Ponds is the perfect area! Another rich place for finding quartz in Washington is King County, especially around North Bend. Some of the most prized specimens are, however, located in Okanogan County. Along the Skagit River, or near Oak Harbor, the famous Washington jade can be found at Whidby Island.

What Rocks Can be Found in Washington State?

Washington has plenty of valuable rocks that can be a great addition to any collector. You can find plenty of geodes, agates, chert, and yooperlites, and obsidian in rare cases. Geodes are highly abundant in this state, so let’s see exactly where you can find them and others.

BTW: Do you want to know more about rocks and minerals identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):


Geodes are plentiful in Washington, and they come into different variants. In Central Washington, you can find (blue agate) geodes at the Red Top Mt. and Teanaway Ridge, on both sides of the road. Chalcedony geodes can be found in Middle Fork Teanaway River or in its gravels. Blue chalcedony geodes are in Ellensburg. 

Southwest Washington is the most abundant in geodes. You can find them in Kalama, Lucas Creek, area E of Adna, Centralia, in the regional stream and river gravels, Doty, in Chehalis River gravels, the Newaukum River gravels close to Forest, or in Toledo, in the river area and stream gravels.

TIP: Rivers in Washington State are full of beautiful rocks. Do you know what rocks you can most often find in and near rivers? Check out the most common types of rocks you can find in rivers in the article below:

Ten Most Common Type of Rocks You Can Find In Rivers


Agates are plentiful in the eastern part of Washington, or especially the beaches around Olympic National Park. In the northwest, you can find agates in the river gravels of Dungeness, the area gravels of Crescent Beach, La Push, in the gravels of Sol Duc River, or Sappho.

When it comes to Central Washington, agates are found in the Cle Elum area, in the gravels of Middle Fork Teanaway River, the western part of Bickleton, while in the eastern parts of Washington, agates are abundant in the area gravels near Columbia River, in Ringold.


You can find chert in the northwest regions of Washington. Chert is abundant in places such as in the gravels of the Crescent Beach area or in the Sol Duc River gravels. In the southwest region of Washington, you can find chert in the area beach gravels of Queets.

What Gemstones Can Be Found in Washington State?

Gem hunters will be pleased to know that in Washington, you can find opals, fire opals, amber, carnelian, and in rare cases, even pearls. Here are some of the best locations to find gemstones in Washington!


The best places to find common opal and fire opals in Washington are in the central and eastern areas. Common opal can be found in the gravels, excavation areas, or diggings in Waterville.

Both common and fire opals can be found in the lava outcrops northwest of Mondovi. The lava outcrops in Pullman are filled with fire opals.


Amber is quite rare, even when it comes to Washington. However, there is a place in northwest Washington where you can find it. Search for amber in the E side of Fifteen-Mile Creek, in Issaquah.

TIP: Amber is one of my favorite gemstones because of its beautiful orange-yellow color. Do you know the value of amber and which varieties are the rarest? Find out all about the value of amber in the article below:

How Much is Amber Worth? Costs per Carat and More!


Carnelian is abundant in Washington. This semi-precious gemstone can be found in Bickleton, Central Washington; however, southwest Washington is the most productive.

Here, you can find carnelian in places such as Kalama, Sightly, area E of Adna in Lucas Creek, McCoy farm near Adna, Centralia, Doty, Pe Ell, the Mt Adams area, or north of Holcomb in Green Creek.

What Minerals Can be Found in Washington State?

Minerals are abundant in Washington, as you can find various specimens such as jade, opalized wood, fossilized wood, chalcedony, gold, and perhaps even turquoise.

Gold is found in many places throughout the state, but here are some of the best locations and minerals that you should hunt for in Washington!


Jade is quite rare to find in Washington; however, with a bit of luck, you might just spot it.

Jade can be found near Oso, in Deer Creek, the rocky exposures in Bridgeport, the Nooksack River, Whidbey Island near Keystone Ferry Terminal, Clallam Bay beach, or near and around Port Townsend beaches.


Gold is abundant in Washington; you can pan for it in many places.

Near Seattle and the northwest region of Washington, you can find gold on the Shi Shi Beach, gold (placer) in the gravels of Ozette River, Hamilton, S bank of Skagit River, the area stream and gravels of Darrington, Skykomish River, or the gravels of Granite Falls.

In Central Washington, you can find gold in the Columbia River, Liberty Creek, Mary Ann Creek, or the American River. In Eastern Washington, gold is found in the gravels of Clarkston area, Snake River, Gold Creek, or in the Marcus area placers.

Southwest Washington is also abundant in gold, in places such as Brush Prairie, in area sands, or in Camas, in Columbia River sandbars.

Opalized Wood

Opalized Wood

Probably the most famous location for finding opalized wood in Washington is the Horse Heaven Hills area.

In Central Washington, you can also find opalized wood in the Petrified Forest State Park, where it is permitted, the gravels and sands south of Vantage, the area draws, hillsides of Mabton, the southern side of Mount Rattlesnake, or in the south of Cairn Hope Peak.

In eastern Washington, the best location to find opalized wood is in the Grand Coulee area. You can also find it in Mattawa, the Saddle Mountains area, or in the lava area outcrops of Moses Coulie.

Fossilized Wood

Since Washington had a good amount of volcanic activity, even relatively recently, fossilized wood is plentiful all across the state. A type of fossilized wood, namely petrified wood, can be found in the Petrified Forest State Park and can be collected in certain places.

The gravels of Vantage, Columbia River, hillsides of Mabton, Rattlesnake Mountain, Cairn Hope Peak are also significant central Washington areas to look for fossilized or petrified wood.

Southwest Washington is also great for finding them, in places such as Lucas Creek, McCoy Farm near Adna, Centralia, Doty, or in the regional rivers and steam gravels of Pe Ell.


When it comes to chalcedony, in Central Washington, you can find it in places such as in the gravels of Middle Fork Teanaway River, in Ellensburg, Liberty, or you can go to southwest  Washington.

Here, you can find chalcedony in Kalama, Lucas Creek, Centralia, in the Chehalis River gravels near Doty, the gravels of Pe Ell, Lebam gravels fo Willapa River, in the beach gravels of Long Beach or Ocean Park, or in Green Creek north of Holcomb, and Mt Adams area.

TIP: Do you like rocks that look wet? Many people like it when the rocks look wet. But do you know how to achieve this? Check out these 7 simple ideas on how to make your rocks look wet in the article below:

7 Simple Ideas: What to Put on Rocks to Make Them Look Wet

What Crystals Can be Found in Washington State?

Crystals are a bit rare to find in Washington; however, there were some instances where the diamond was found. Apart from this, there are also plenty of places where one can find quartz crystals or even amethyst.


When it comes to diamonds, there is no exact location to find them; however, they occur randomly in association with volcanic rock. You might discover diamonds in such areas in Washington.


Amethyst can be found in eastern Washington in the area gravels, streams, of Newport. The southwest of Washington is, however, the richest in amethyst.

You can find amethyst in places such as Washougal, Kalama, or Clay City, or the Mt. Adams area. Most Pacific Ocean beaches are abundant in amethyst geodes.

Quartz Crystals

When it comes to quartz crystals, the best place to find them in Washington is in Denny Mountain. In Central Washington, you can find them in the gravels of Tunk Creek.

Eastern Washington is the richest in quartz crystals. You can go and hunt for them in places such as Lyman Lake, Loon Lake Cooper Mine, Chattaroy, the gravels of Little Spokane River, or in Bald Butte.

In southwest Washington, you can find quartz in the beach gravels of Long Beach and Ocean Park or in the Mt Adams area.

TIP: Quartz has a lot of different varieties. How many of them do you know? Find out more about all quartz varieties in the article below:

Complete List of Quartz Varieties: Know Them All!

Where to Find Fossils in Washington State?

There are various types of fossils to be found in the state of Washington. We’ve already talked about fossilized wood. It is predominantly found in the eastern and western parts of Washington, especially in the Columbia Plateau basalts.

However, the Gingko Petrified Forest State Park in Vantage is the best place for viewers to admire these ancient tree remnants. Let’s see what other types of fossils you can find in Washington!

Agatized Fossil Shells

Let’s start with agatized fossil shells. They are found predominantly in the southwestern parts of Washington. If you search in the road cuts and gravels at Willapa Hills, you might just find them. You can also try the gravels situated in the Lebam region.

Dinosaur Bones

Plenty of ancient plants and dinosaur bone fossils can be found throughout Washington. The most common fossil is probably fossilized clamshells. However, there is a particular animal that has been crowned the official state fossil of Washington due to its predominance, namely, the Columbian Mammoth.

Over 40 such specimens have been discovered throughout the state. It inhabited this region in the Pleistocene Epoch about 1.6 million years ago, and it probably went extinct around 10,000 years ago.

The most common mammoth fossils found in Washington appear to be large molar teeth. Plenty of such specimens have been discovered in the western part of the state, on the Olympic Peninsula.

TIP: Did you know that fossils are often found in sedimentary rocks? And do you know why? Find out the answer in the article below:

Fossils Can Be Often Found in Sedimentary Rocks & Here’s Why

FAQ about Rockhounding in Washington State

Still did not find the answer to your answers about rockhounding in Nevada? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:

What is the State Gemstone of Washington?

Petrified wood is the state gemstone of Washington since 1975. These specimens grew during the Miocene Epoch, between 12 to 5 million years ago. These trees grew near volcanoes, and when they erupted, they preserved the wood through different processes.

What is the State Fossil of Washington?

The Columbian Mammoth is the official state fossil of Washington since 1998. These giant animals roamed here 10,000 years ago and as far back as 1.6 million years ago. They stood thirteen feet tall or more and weighed around ten tons. Plenty of fossilized large molar teeth can be found in the western portion of the state.

TIP: Have you ever wondered if rocks have their own DNA? It might seem clear that they have no DNA of their own. But what if? Find out more in the article below:

Do Rocks Have DNA? I Have to Disappoint You, But..


The state of Washington is a fantastic place for rockhounding, beachcombing, and gem collectors. The state unveils its richness in its abundance of gemstones, minerals, crystals, and fossils. Plenty of areas allow visitors to collect these specimens, and some require you to have a permit. 

If you ever visit Washington, don’t miss out on collecting geodes, petrified wood, jade, or even try your luck at gold! You won’t regret it, as you will indeed find amazing and unique specimens wherever you may roam!

BTW: Check out this amazing metal sign (Amazon link) which is perfect for everyone who loves rockhounding in Washington State!

TIP: And it’s rockhounding time now! But do you know what tools you need for rockhounding? Check out the list of all needed tools and equipment for rockhounding in the article below:

The Complete Guide: All Tools You Need for Rockhounding

Sours: https://howtofindrocks.com/rockhounding-in-washington-state/

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