Area Status: Open
There are only two places in the world you can find Star Garnets - India and right here on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests! The garnets found here are called "star garnets" because of a unique property that causes some of them to display a reflection like a four or six pointed star. India is the only other place in the world where star garnets like these are found in any quantity.
The 12-sided (dodecahedron) crystals found here range in size from sand particles to golf-ball or larger size. Gem quality faceting material is also found at the Garnet Area.
The Forest Service has developed the Garnet Area as a place where the public may collect these unique gems in a safe and environmentally friendly way. In the past, people would dig in the stream bed in search of the garnets. Now, due to concerns for water quality, aquatic habitat, and public safety, the Forest Service provides a stockpile of garnet bearing gravels from which people can gather material to run through one of two sluice boxes in search of garnets. Click here to learn what to bring, get detailed directions, view photo galleries, and more!
At a Glance
OPEN: Friday through Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; CLOSED: Wednesday and Thursday; Opens each year the Friday before Memorial Day and closes after Labor Day.
Permits are available at the site and cost $10 for adults and $5 for children age 6-12, under 6 is free. The fee is payable by cash and check only. The permit is valid for one day and includes equipment.
||Permits are required for anyone washing or screening gravels. You may take up to five pounds of garnets with your daily permit. If you want to remove more than five pounds of garnet during the same day, you can buy another permit for each additional five pounds or fraction thereof. You are limited to six permits.
||Friday Prior to Memorial Day
||Pets and motorized equipment are not allowed in the Garnet Area. Please leave your pets at home because there is no shade in the parking lot and vehicles get extremely hot in the sun. The Forest Service is not responsible for your pets.
||None - bring your own drinking water.
From St. Maries, Idaho, follow Highway 3 south 24 miles to Road 447. Proceed southwest 8 miles on Road 447 to the parking area. Permits, information, and the sluice area are a 1/2 mile hike up 281 Gulch. Be aware that there is considerable logging traffic in the vicinity of the Garnet Area. Please drive with care!