Adventures in rockhounding.
Many locations can be found in this book we purchased:Rockhounding California, a Falcon Guide by Gail A. Butler. (I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you if you purchase from this link.)
Here are the places we've gone:
Rockhounding West Cuesta Ridge (do not dig into this serpentine soil as it contains asbestos)
Rockhounding Hwy 46 for thunder eggs: super sketchy because you park on the side of the highway and scramble along the steep hillside. I tried it with the kids and Joy was too young to be there. Please be so careful if you go and know that it's your choice to be there, it's not as safe as rockhounding on the beach, and it's unstable ground. Here are the coordinates that you can paste into Google Maps for directions: 35.548266,-120.930742
Please be aware that you're operating in a legal gray area. There aren't laws that allow this or specifically forbid it. If you'd like to collect a bit for personal use without impacting the environment, most agencies will look the other way.
If it's just for your own personal use, most Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service land allow you to collect a bit (about a backpack's-worth at the most) without a permit, with some restrictions. Some areas are designated with higher protections and you cannot collect anything there. Check before you go by contacting the agency or looking up the area on a map and seeing how it is designated and what protections it has. Some people have mining claims in certain areas you would not know about unless you reach out.
You cannot make an impact to the environment (for example by digging) or otherwise destroy the natural area. If you want to take a lot, then you need to reach out to your local office and request a personal use permit.
If you plan to sell your stones or have a commercial operation, then you must reach out to the BLM or USFS for permits and permissions.
Otherwise, if you want to collect and sell stones and have property or friends with property, then start there. If you have a private land owner's permission, then that's the best.
I hope to eventually have a more informative section here so that you can head outside and start searching.
Rockhounding, also known as amateur geology, is a hobby that involves collecting rocks, minerals, and fossils from their natural environments. This popular activity has a rich history, dating back centuries to the earliest human civilizations that used stones for tools and weapons.
Early rockhounding was driven by the practical needs of people. For instance, ancient Egyptians prized certain minerals like malachite and lapis lazuli for their beauty and ornamental value, while also utilizing others, such as obsidian, for tools and weapons. Later on, minerals like salt and coal became important resources for industrial purposes, leading to the development of mining and mineral extraction as an industry.
Rockhounding as a leisure activity gained popularity in the 19th century, as scientific curiosity about the natural world grew. Naturalists and geologists began collecting minerals and fossils as a way to better understand the earth's geology and its history.
Today, rockhounding remains a popular pastime for people of all ages and backgrounds. It can be an excellent way to get outdoors, explore new environments, and learn about geology, history, and science. Rockhounds use a variety of tools, such as rock hammers, chisels, and shovels, to extract specimens from the ground or from exposed rock formations.
Many rockhounds collect specimens to add to their personal collections, while others may sell or trade their finds with other enthusiasts. Some may even turn their collections into art, creating unique displays of polished stones or jewelry.
Whether you're a seasoned rockhound or a beginner, this fascinating hobby offers something for everyone. So grab your hammer and get ready to explore the fascinating world of rocks, minerals, and fossils!