It is unquestionably something to put on a rock collector’s bucket list to go rock-hounding in Washington State. Besides taking in the state’s breathtaking natural beauties, rivers, mountains, and beaches, you may also discover a remarkable array of unusual rocks and fossils since the state has had extensive volcanic activity throughout the years.
You may also be fortunate enough to come upon certain gemstones, like garnets and amethyst; also, don’t forget to look for fossils (such as crinoids) and petrified wood (which is the state jewel of Washington) on your trip.
There are too many wonderful locations to pick from for rock hunting in Washington. There are hundreds of locations to choose from. Hundreds. Here is a list of some of my favorite sites and some important information about them.
Regulations for Rock-Hounding in Washington State:
Experienced rock hunters understand that it is critical to research the regulations in your area before collecting anything or attempting to transport it back home. They also understand how critical it is to pinpoint your whereabouts when hunting.
Sometimes the most difficult part is just determining if you are on private or public land and on public property, which government agency’s guidelines apply.
In general, any public place will have some set of regulations about what you may pick up and take home and how much of it you can take home with you. Know what you’re getting into before you go.
Where to Go Rockhounding in Washington State?
Please see below a list of some of my favorite sites that I believe you should visit.
Washington Rivers and Creeks:
Even though we provided some ideas above for fascinating spots to visit on the Washington coastline, I can typically recommend just about any waterway as a potential location to locate agates, jaspers, and other lovely rocks.
For example, in the case of the huge Columbia River, it is rather typical for people to come upon large agates on rocky shores at the water’s edge that border the river’s length up and downstream.
Because they do not vary or renew in the same manner as beaches, finding rock shorelines that are more out of capacity and less crowded is crucial to achieving this. Take care to ensure that the stream you enter is not too deep or rapid to walk safely across it.
Washington Coastal Beaches:
Aside from the Oregon coast, the Washington shoreline continues to be one of the most accessible and fun sites to search for gorgeous rocks, petrified wood, and even sea glass.
While the shoreline changes from year to year, agates and jasper may always be found on the beach, particularly if you arrive at the proper time of day when the tide is at its lowest point.
Moreover, even if you come up with little or nothing, you may still take in the scenery and go for a walk. Another thing to keep in mind is that waves and inclement weather continuously batter the beaches of Washington.
As a result, even spots that appear to be quite crowded can still be excellent places to go rock hunting since the beaches continually bring in and take out and shift material from the gravel beds surrounding them.
In Yakima County and Skamania County, Mount Adams is a fantastic spot to go gem searching. Jasper, agates, quartz crystals, carnelian, geodes, chalcedony, and other gemstones can be found in this section.
Beautiful scenery and several places to view abound, and travelers who enjoy variety will appreciate the opportunities presented by this location. Prepare your equipment and prepare to travel to Mount Adams for an unforgettable rock-hounding adventure!
The Horse Heaven Hills:
Visiting the Horse Heaven Hills in Washington is a must for anybody interested in opalized wood and petrified wood. The number of these samples is staggering at this location.
It’s also a popular place for gold panning; however, you could be lucky enough to stumble across some chalcopyrite or galena as well.
If it comes to Washington jade, just one name keeps coming up repeatedly: Whidby Island, Washington. It should be noted that not everyone who goes rock-hounding on the island returns with a piece of jade.
On the other hand, most individuals locate agates along the shorelines. The agates found on this beach are typical of those on Washington beaches: carnelian agate predominates, with white agates of varying clarity levels present. Gravel beds are a good place to look for them.
If you have a keen eye, though, you can come across some fantastic jade treasures in this area. Although it is extremely rare and difficult to detect in the field, a focused search may be able to help you add some to your collection.
It’s similar to gold prospecting in that you shouldn’t expect to get rich. Even though Washington Jade is beautiful and excellent for collectors, it is not worth the high prices that most people associate with jade.
The Saddle Mountains are home to a significant amount of petrified wood, making it one of the most popular destinations for recreational rockhounds. In contrast to the Gingko Petrified Forest, you will be able to take specimens home from this area.
The wood in this area is usually brown; however, it can occasionally be opalized. As opposed to the exterior cast, which is typically a harder mineral, opalized wood is white and smoother in appearance. Here you’ll discover limb casts, but you’ll also come across fractured bits of rock.
That is not to argue that this region does not produce something distinctive. Some individuals have discovered Petrified Cyprus Root, which has an incredible interior structure that is black and white. Like other petrified wood sites, the specific mineral makeup may significantly impact the final appearance.
Walker Valley is a geode gathering location where public members can participate in the collection. Most rockhounds would be off their feet at that point, but let’s take a closer look at what makes that region so special.
You’ll need to travel around Nine miles east of Mount Vernon to reach there. Fortunately, because this is a public website, you have to click on a link to access a map.
This is a difficult rock-digging job. At the absolute least, bring a shovel, a pick, and a rock hammer with you. A hammer and chisel are other useful tools to have on hand. You could use a chisel to detect geodes in the wild, but I recommend waiting until you have access to a rock saw that can properly cut through the specimens.
Thundereggs may be lower information if you tear down the brown rock with your hands. In contrast to the carnelian agate that may be found near the shore, the chalcedony found here is frequently blue with golden needles running through it.
These thundereggs are beautiful examples to have on display. Walker Valley is a must-see for geode enthusiasts, and it’s also a convenient location for those who prefer to be on the go.
What is the Washington State Gemstone?
Since 1975, petrified wood has been designated as the official gemstone of Washington. These fossils were formed during the Miocene Epoch, which lasted between 12 and 5 million years. These trees grew near volcanoes, but the wood was preserved in various ways when they exploded.
Wrapping It Up:
If you enjoy rock-hounding, beachcombing, or gem collecting, Washington State is a terrific spot for you to visit. The profusion of minerals, gemstones, crystals, and fossils found in the state demonstrates the state’s wealth. There are several locations where tourists can gather these samples, and some of them need you to acquire permission.