Hansen Creek is located west of Snoqualmie Pass on Humpback Mountain in Washington.
This is among the best places in Washington to collect the beautiful Purple Amethyst and the fully terminated, water-clear Quartz Crystals.
Here are 7 tips for a successful rockhounding trip to Hansen Creek.
Hansen Creek Rockhounding (Washington): Let’s Go
1. Check the government’s regulations on rockhounding
It’s important to find out from your local government offices if you are actually allowed to collect rocks such as crystals around the location at Hansen Creek you intend to visit.
The best place to get this information is the local government website.
This is critical since some of the hounding areas are privately claimed, which means you are not allowed to collect.
In other areas, there are restrictions as to the number of rocks you can collect.
2. Get the directions right
The last thing you want is to head out for your rockhounding trip without any idea of where exactly it is, especially if this is your first time there.
To get to Hansen Creek, take the Interstate on the south side and head off east (I 90) for roughly 50 minutes towards the Pass.
After getting off I 90, take two turns to the right, and then the first left.
Stay on this road for a while until you get to the place where it bends sharply left.
Shortly after taking the curve, you will find another curve that leads to the parking area, which marks the start of your trail.
You can also get your Google map out and navigate to the following GPS coordinates: 47°23’29″N, 121°31’46″W”.
3. Confirm the locality of the minerals before you leave
There are two mineral areas in Hansen Creek: breccia exposure or breccia-derived slump zones.
There are several collecting areas within Hansen Creek.
For those that are privately claimed, you won’t be allowed to collect.
If you intend to collect, first establish whether the areas you’ve targeted are privately claimed or open for all.
4. Look out for the Amethyst Scepter Crystals
Let’s just say this is one of the most exquisite rocks Washington has to offer, and you will most likely find it in Hansen Creek.
While this beautiful purple crystal is rare to find, you can be sure every rock hunter who comes here comes looking for the Amethyst.
So, if you find one, you are in luck.
The purple color of the Amethyst at HC is usually very light, which makes it a challenge to identify.
You will have to clean your pile of dirty crystals to discover the Amethyst.
To increase your chances of landing on this rock, keep everything you find; then, thoroughly clean and assess each of the crystals. Hopefully, this is your lucky day!
5. Bring the right tools
While some rock hounds prefer going through loose dirt with just their hands, others prefer a tool of some sort.
And there are many in the market to choose from.
The beauty of using your hands in loose dirt is that you might just find a crystal that someone else overlooked in a previous hunt.
However, with the right tools, you are more likely to find better quality crystals. So, here are a few recommendations.
- Rock Hammer: Go for a Rock Hammer if you plan to hound in upper Hansen Creek. Of course, this tool is not needed to discover crystals on the surface and in the loose dirt. This is for those who literally want to “break” into new rocks for the biggest, freshest, virgin crystals.
- Shovel: The other tool you will need is a shovel. Here, you can bring a full-size shovel, but most veteran hounds will tell you that nothing beats a good mini-shovel to navigate the tightest of spaces, where big shovels cannot get to.
- Classifier Screen: You will also need a classifier screen to filter the dirt and keep the crystals in. While you might not catch all 100% of your crystals, by using a screen to filter out the dirt, you will get close. The dirt at Hansen Creek can conceal even the largest crystals. Therefore, screening the dirt ensures that most of your crystals don’t disappear into dirt.
- Headlamp: To get into some of the most productive holes, where only the most adventurous hounds venture, you need a headlamp. Some of these holes can be found treacherously hidden ten feet or more under tree stumps, which makes a headlamp quite handy.
- Water, Food, and Snacks: Depending on how long you plan to stay at the Creek, bring enough water to stay hydrated, and food and snacks, especially if you’re bringing the kids along. A hard hat, knee pads and gloves are other important accessories to bring along.
6. Go higher
The best approach to finding the best crystals is to hike as high as possible.
To get the rarest of crystals, go where few go.
You see, most people are content digging in the lower ground that is not as challenging to reach. The further up you go, the fewer hounds you will find.
Keep going higher and your chances of finding exquisite crystals will improve.
7. First time? Hound near the bottom
If this is your first time rockhounding, stay near the bottom.
Resist the temptation to “go up higher” until you have thoroughly understood the terrain. Those “show-offs” hammering away at the top have been here countless times.
They begun where you are before climbing their way up.
On your next trip, you can go a little higher, and so on until you get to where the big boys and girls come to play.
You should also consider lower ground if you are accompanied by kids or older people who may not have challenges getting higher up.
Rockhounding in Hansen Creek may only be just an hour from Seattle, but a successful rock hunting trip requires adequate preparation.
The very success of your next rockhounding trip to this area depends on whether you are adequately prepared for it, or not.
In general, we don’t recommend that people invest or spend much (if any) money to enjoy rockhounding. Much of what you need to know you can access online.
That being said, when you are planning on going out into the woods or off the cell-tower grid, you are going to need to have information in hard copy.
If you are experienced and know where you are going, simply having a physical map of the area where you are driving/hiking can make all the difference.
If you are a beginner (or unfamiliar with the area), we suggest that you check out a book called Gem Trails of Washington.
(This is an Amazon affiliate link. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you).
Written by an avid rockhounder and geologist, this particular publication has easy to understand maps with collecting locations all throughout Washington, some of which you won’t find mentioned on the internets.
We’ve created an ultimate guide to gifts for rockhounds with helpful links directly to Amazon to make looking for and checking out potential gifts quick and review easy!
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