New Webpage Available: Rockhounding


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:

Minerals and Fossils in Washington

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.

The Rules

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.

ger_rockhounding_adit.pngSafety First

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.

Where To Start

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