Rockhounding Alameda County, California: 7 Places To Hunt Rocks, Crystals, and Fossils  

Are you looking for some places to hunt for rocks and crystals in Alameda County, California?

Let’s go over seven areas in Alameda County, California to help you get started hunting for rocks.

Rockhounding Alameda County (Let’s Go)


The information provided in this article by is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.

Alameda Creek

The Alameda Creek runs through Union City and is a large perennial stream that flows through most of the San Francisco Bay Area.

A flood control channel and Niles Canyon connect the creek to the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay over a 42-mile (68-km) length.

Alameda Creek offers wildlife habitat, water supply, flood water channeling, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits along its route.

In addition, there is a 12-mile trail called the Alameda Creek Regional Trail that follows the creek’s banks.

You can use the path to help you find places to dig for rocks and other minerals.

There are several access points to the trail in Newark, Fremont, and Union City.

Three-wheelers are not allowed on the trails, but you can ride e-bikes on the paved paths.

The trail is open from 5 am to 10 pm unless posted otherwise, and there is no fee to enter the trail.

Some of the minerals people have found on the trail are agate, clinoptilolite, and goethite.

Lake Chabot in Castro Valley

In an unincorporated area known as Castro Valley, there is a man-made lake called Lake Chabot.

In the 1800s, Lake Chabot Reservoir was built as a primary water source for the East Bay.

In the 1960s, the East Bay Municipal Utilities District began operating the lake and opened it to the public for recreational use.

The lake now serves as a backup water supply in case of an emergency.

Therefore, to prevent water pollution, specific regulations are in place.

So, when visiting this area, it’s essential to keep this in mind and keep the land as clean as possible.

The parking fee is $4 per trailered vehicle and $5 per regular vehicle, and the hours of operation are 5 am to 10 pm.

In addition, there is a $2 fee per dog if you bring them.

The rocks and minerals you can find in the area are aggregate and cretaceous marine rocks.

Del Valle Lake

The lake resort of Del Valle Lake is on the south side of Livermore, about 10 miles from the city.

Most of the area’s recreational activities are water-related, including swimming, windsurfing, fishing, and boating.

Additionally, there are 4,395 acres of land for hiking, horseback riding, and exploring the outdoors.

You can take the 28-mile hike on the Ohlone Wilderness Trail to find places for you to go rock hunting.

There are different operating hours during holidays, but the park is generally open between 5 am and 10 pm. So, you’ll have to double-check if you plan on going during a holiday.

You must pay a parking fee of $6 per vehicle and a tailored car parking fee of $4. If you plan on walking the trail, there’s a $2 fee per person.

You cannot drive any kind of vehicle on the trail and can only walk or ride a horse on it.

The rocks and minerals found within the area are actinolites, lepidolite, and tourmaline.

Hayes Ranch Deposit

Hayes Ranch Deposit is a magnesite mine located at approximately 1,841 feet.

The mine is located on the eastern slope of Rocky Ridge west of Mendenhall Springs. You can find the exact location of the mine on Google Maps right here.

Large boulders of high-grade ore are scattered around the site.

Some of the other local rocks in the area are ultramafic rocks, magnesite, Mesozoic rocks, and peridotite.

Edward T. Sachu owns the deposit, which is located on private land. If you plan to rockhound in the area, ask for permission ahead of time.

Livermore Mining District

There are eighty-eight mines you can explore for rocks, crystals, and other minerals in Livermore.

Some of the mines open for visiting are Newhall Mine, Black Jack Mine, and Kelly mine.

Of course, some of these mines may be on private property, so you’ll have to ask for permission before exploring, but many of the owners do not mine for people to go rock collecting in these areas.

Some of the rocks and minerals found within the district are aragonite, calcite, clinoptilolite, limestone, and magnesite.

There are reports of halotrichite and hydromagnesite in the Black Jack mine area.

Also, people have found clay, manganese, silica, and sulfur around the Kelly mine area.

Lookout Point

In Oakland, California, Lookout Point is located in Joaquin Miller Park.

Coastal Redwood trees flourish in the park, and its residents can escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

The park’s highest point, known as Lookout Point, provides a spectacular view of Oakland.

You can hike several trails to find spots to look for rocks, crystals, and other minerals. Some of the trails include the Cinderella Trail and the Big Tree Trail.

There are no entrance fees or parking fees to enter the park.

Also, if you plan on bringing a pet, it’s recommended to keep them on a leash.

Some of the rocks and minerals found in the area are zaratite, asbestos, chert, and rhyolite.

Cedar Mountain Ridge

Cedar Mountain Ridge stretches for six miles along the southeast shore of Lake Del Valle, originating in hills east of the lake.

Two deep, narrow canyons rise from steep slopes on either side of the ridgeline; the Arroyo Valle to the west and the Arroyo Mocho to the east.

The ridge’s highest point is Cedar Mountain, and it’s also the third-highest peak of Alameda County.

Unfortunately, the mountain is located on private property, so you must contact the owner if you would like to hike there legally.

The rocks and minerals you can find in the area include chromite, albite, clinochlore, chromium, magnesiochromite, quartz, and uvarovite.

California Rockhounding Resources

If you like to have a physical book in hand (like when there’s no cell service), here’s a few popular options:

Rockhounding California: A Guide To The State’s Best Rockhounding Sites

Gem Trails of Southern California

Gem Trails of Northern California

Smithsonian Rocks and Minerals Identification Guide

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