Public Rockhounding Sites

Privately owned rockhounding sites are also available in and around central Oregon. There are places where, for a fee, rocks may be dug from beds of known and proven quality. Those who do not care to dig may prefer to visit the many commercial rock shops where similar materials may be bought in any stage of preparation from freshly dug rock to finished jewelry. Many people also attend the annual rockhound pow-wows held in the area during late June and early July.

Here is a list Public Rockhounding Sites in Central Oregon:

Bear Creek

Rock Type: Petrified Wood

Site Description: An abundance of petrified wood can be found at this site. Most of the wood is low grade, but has good preservation of growth rings and wood grain. Rockhounds willing to put forth the extra time and effort may find some colorfully agatized wood that will take an excellent polish. Small clusters of quartz crystals, agate and red and yellow jasper may also be found in the area.

Directions: Available on Central Oregon Rockhounding Map, Purchasing Info

Road Access: Not Maintained

Site Information: Muddy when wet. 4x4 vehicle recommended.

Agency: Bureau of Land Management 

Visitors to the Bear Creek rockhounding site during the spring months may observe blooms of bitterroot and other high desert wildflowers.

Petrified wood from the Bear Creek collection site. Some of these specimens are colorfully agatized. 

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Paulina (Dendrite Butte/Congleton Hollow)

Rock Type: limb casts, opalized wood

Site Description: Both of these sites have been a popular destination for rockhounds for many years so very little material remains on the ground surface. Rockhounds willing to take the time and effort to dig still find some fine limb cast specimens. Look where other rockhounds have been digging for potential leads.

Directions: Available on Central Oregon Rockhounding Map, Purchasing Info

Road Access: Not Maintained

Site Information: Muddy when wet. 4x4 vehicle recommended.

Agency: Bureau of Land Management 

Clarno Formation debris flow deposit at Congleton Hollow. This deposit formed as a mixture of mud, rocks, and wood debris moved as a fluid across the landscape before hardening into stone. Erosion has exposed much of the petrified wood and limb casts that formed in the mudflow deposits. 

Various limb Casts from the Dendrite Butte/Congleton Hollow area. The most prized limb casts have pink or green hues. 

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Eagle Rock

Rock Type: varied agate

Site Description: Moss and dendritic agate in a rhyolite matrix can be found at this site. Thick seams of black chalcedony also occur. Plenty of agatized rhyolite can still be found scattered on the ground but hard pick and chisel work is required to remove any material that is still in place in the cliffs.

Directions: Available on Central Oregon Rockhounding Map, Purchasing Info

Road Access: Not Maintained

Site Information: Seasonal road closure. Contact BLM.

Agency: Bureau of Land Management 

Eagle Rock is an erosional remnant of a welded tuff (hardened volcanic ash deposit) along Hwy 380 near the Eagle Rock rockhounding site.

Rockhounds collecting at the Eagle Rock agate beds.

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Fischer Canyon

Rock Type: petrified wood, agate, jasper

Site Description: While there is no concentrated amount of material at this site, lucky rockhounds can find scattered pieces of petrified wood, agate, and jasper as they enjoy a hike through central Oregon’s high desert.

Directions: Available on Central Oregon Rockhounding Map, Purchasing Info

Road Access: Not Maintained 

Site Information: Muddy when wet.  4X4 vehicle recommended.

Agency: Bureau of Management 

Rockhounds are treated to scenic views of the high desert while collecting agate, jasper, and petrified wood at Fischer Canyon.

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Glass Butte

Rock Type: varied obsidian

Site Description: Glass Butte offers rockhounds a wide variety of gem quality obsidian. Rainbow, black, pumpkin, mahogany, midnight lace, gold sheen, silver sheen, fire, and double flow varieties can all be found in the area. While many rockhounds choose to dig for preferred material, plenty of obsidian is readily available for collection on the ground surface.

Directions: Available on Central Oregon Rockhounding Map, Purchasing Info

Road Access: Not Maintained

Site Information: Muddy when wet. 4x4 vehicle recommended.

Agency: Bureau of Land Management 

Obsidian from Glass Butte. Obsidian types clockwise from upper right are rainbow, black, pumpkin, mahogany, gold sheen, and double flow. The center piece is also gold sheen. 

Glass Butte is a volcano that formed about 4.9 million years ago and is part of series of volcanic domes that are aligned in a northwest direction. Most of Glass Butte itself is composed of rhyolite flows. In the low lands about 3 miles east of Glass Butte and on Little Glass Butte 4 miles to the southeast, several eruptions produced the obsidian flows that rockhounds collect from today.

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Hampton Butte

Rock Type: petrified wood

Site Description: Hampton Butte is widely known for the unusual green petrified wood that can be found there. In addition, red, yellow, and other unusual colors can be found at this site. Very little material is left on the ground surface, but fine specimens are still available to rockhounds willing to dig.

Directions: Available on Central Oregon Rockhounding Map, Purchasing Info

Road Access: Maintained County Road

Site Information: Hike-in access off county road.

Agency: Bureau of Land Management 

Rockhounds visiting the Hampton Butte Rockhounding site during the spring and summer months are likely to observe sagebrush lizards.

Green petrified wood from the Hampton Butte collection site.
Some specimens exhibit a glossy desert varnish.

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Maury Mountains

Rock Type: moss agate

Site Description: This site is popular for its red, green, and yellow moss agate. As with most well-known sites, very little material is available for collection on the ground surface. However, nice pieces of moss agate can still be found by rockhounds willing to take the time and effort to dig.

Directions: Available on Central Oregon Rockhounding Map, Purchasing Info

Road Access: Maintained

Site Information: Seasonal closure, snow.

Agency: U.S. Forest Service 

Slabs of Maury Mountain moss agate. The moss-like inclusions found at Maury Mountains come in colors of red, yellow, brown, and green. 

Visitors to the Maury Mountains rockhounding site during the spring months may observe the blooms of a variety of wildflowers.

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North Ochoco Reservoir

Rock Type: Agate and jasper.

Site Description: Access to this site requires a rugged ¼-mile hike through scenic high desert country. Colorful agate and jasper can be collected on the ground surface below the cliffs overlooking the site. Many specimens have cavities filled with drusy quartz. The agate and jasper is often attached to boulders of lava rock, so a rock hammer and some chipping tools are useful for removing the desired material.

Directions: Available on Central Oregon Rockhounding Map, Purchasing Info

Road Access: Hike in access.

Site Information: Park away from highway.

Agency: Bureau of Land Management 

Rockhounds collecting agate and jasper at the North Ochoco Reservoir site.

Rockhounds can expect to find relatively large samples of multi-colored jasper at this site. This sample is about 10 inches wide. 

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Whistler Springs

Rock Type: thunder eggs

Site Description: Although this site has been worked by rockhounds for many years, quality thundereggs can still be found by determined rockhounds. Digging through the tough rhyolite matrix can be difficult so be sure to bring hand tools adequate for breaking rock. Look for chips and pieces of agate where other rockhounds have been digging for potential leads.

Directions: Available on Central Oregon Rockhounding Map, Purchasing Info

Road Access: Maintained

Site Information: Seasonal closure, snow.

Agency: U.S. Forest Service 

Thunder eggs similar to these can be found at Whistler Springs. 

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White Fir Springs

Rock Type: jasper thunder eggs

Site Description: This site offers thundereggs that are filled with colorful jasper. Shades of red, yellow, and tan are available as well as a creamy white color. The thundereggs can be difficult to remove from the hard rhyolite matrix, so bring hand tools adequate for breaking rock. Look for chips and pieces of jasper where other rockhounds have been digging for potential leads.

Directions: Available on Central Oregon Rockhounding Map, Purchasing Info

Road Access: Maintained

Site Information: Seasonal closure, snow.

Agency: U.S. Forest Service 

Access road and sign leading to the White Fir Springs thunder egg site. 

Rough jasper-filled thunder eggs from the White Fir Springs collections site. 

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