Oregon Rockhounding


Brooke Buchanan

Orange Carnelian Agate found in Dutchman Butte, South Myrtle Creek.


Many people enjoy going out into nature to find beautiful agates, crystals, and cool rocks. If you’re one of those people, this article could be helpful for you! For years, people have been searching the rivers and mountains of Oregon to find beautiful gifts from the earth such as agates, geodes, and stunning crystals. Oregon is very rich in geological history, causing people to settle here many years ago in search for gemstones or gold to bring them wealth.

Agates form from a mix of a molecule called silica and volcanic activity. Silica, also known as silicon dioxide, is composed of one silicon and two oxygen atoms. Silica is a very common mineral found in the Earth’s crust. Materials like stone, sand and concrete contain silica. Silica forms into agates by sitting in a bubble of lava, and hardening into a rock form over millions of years.

Rockhounding is a fun and soul-cleansing activity that is done by lots of people in Oregon. Many crystals and minerals can be found in our state such as quartz, amethyst, opal and more. The most beautiful aspect of finding crystals in nature is that the pretty rock that is now in hand, has been forming in Earth’s crust for millions of years. The crystals that we find have been around for thousands of years before we were here, and will likely be here for years after we are gone. If anyone ever has a full gas tank, a few tools and a craving for an adventure, check out the amazing rockhounding spots of Oregon!

Rivers of Oregon are always a good place to search for rocks, mostly agate. Agates are mostly transparent, quartz-like rocks that take 50 million years to form. They are commonly found in river beds lined with rocks. You can spot them by looking for a slight, light glow amongst the rock bed in the water. However, always be careful around the rivers of Oregon. If the agate looks like it’s in a dangerous area in the river, leave it; that agate belongs to the river for now. One of the best rivers to search for crystals in is the Nehalem River in Columbia County. Beautiful rocks such as carnelian agate, plume agate, and jasper can be found there.

For those looking for a more beachy approach, Agate Beach in Newport, Oregon, is an amazing place to go search for agates while enjoying the beautiful view of the ocean. Agate beach is a state park located between the new and old Highway 101, and can be accessed by going through a tunnel that goes under the old Highway 101, opening up to a large, sandy beach. Many amazing agates wash up onto the shore of that beach, making it an amazing place to rockhound. Implied by its name, various types of agates can be found on that beach. Be ready for some digging, though!

The last location we are going to talk about is Linn County, Oregon. This county has numerous locations where several types of stones can be found. Many of the best rocks found in this county are found in the gravel beds of rivers. In Quartzville Creek, Linn County, you can find various types of minerals and stones such as gold, pyrite, agate, various types of quartz and petrified wood.

Rockhounding is an amazing experience and is something we should all try in our lifetime! So, if you are ever on the road driving by one of these locations, be sure to check them out.