I just returned from a spur of the moment trip to Crescent Bar, Washington.
I hadn’t planned to hunt for rocks or to try and collect rocks at Crescent Bar….but you know how it is.
I couldn’t help myself.
Rockhounding Crescent Bar
What Is It Like At Crescent Bar?
First and foremost, Crescent Bar, Washington is basically in central Washington.
The Columbia River Gorge twists and turns dramatically before it heads south to cut to the sea between Oregon and Washington.
The area in the summer is dry, hot, and can be extremely windy.
The landscape is brown, unless there is irrigation happening.
Crescent Bar is a small newish resort community that is tucked in along the water on the banks of the Columbia River, built up against the stark basalt cliffs.
The river is 100% the dominant feature, with multiple access points available for people to enjoy the water (with no parking or day use fees).
The parks and beaches overall were pretty small, and without much in the way of interesting features or services.
When I was there (recently in 2021), there was a lot of construction happening (building single family homes), and most of the people visiting were there to play golf, relax by one of the many small swimming pools, or head out in water craft on the river.
There was one restaurant, an ice cream/coffee shop, and a pizza joint which we didn’t try.
The night life mostly consists of people zipping around the neighborhoods in their golf carts.
What Rocks Did I Find At Crescent Bar?
I usually spend most of my time rockhounding the beaches and creeks where the sand meets the Pacific Ocean.
I am used to being on the lookout for light colored rocks in the hope that they are agates, in addition to jasper, petrified wood, pretty shells, and the like.
I enjoyed getting to explore a different kind of landscape.
At Crescent bar, there is a ton of basalt in the this area, much of it having broken off due to erosion and weathering from the cliffs surrounding the town.
The basalt cliffs were very interesting for their geology, but basalt itself was not anything I was interested in collecting, so I did not spend loads of time exploring the base areas of the cliffs where piles of rocks could be found.
The banks of the river yielded much more enjoyment.
On the east side of town, there are some islands which push out into the river.
I expected these areas to be good for rock hunting, since most people didn’t go out there.
My first day out there, I tried the north sides of these islands, where the water was smooth and calm. I was wrong, as the banks of these islands were covered in a thick later of silt.
Any pretty rocks were covered in the gunk.
I had better luck in the river front areas exposed to the wind and waves of the main channel.
Along the frontage of the town, where you see a few public spaces, the waves from the constant boat traffic have done a lot of good to disturb the silt and expose lots of stones.
It was there, on my second day in Crescent Bar, actually laying on my stomach on my paddle board, that I first found tons of beautiful white quartz pebbles.
Some were the size of a fingernail, while others were the size of my fist.
I also found beautiful pieces of granite (white with black flecks) rounded into perfect balls, as well as other interesting green and red stones of no particular variety (just pretty), and some shells.
I also found some pieces that had the look of petrified wood.
On my third day, I went back to the east side of town, out towards the easternmost point of Crescent Bar, well beyond any house, golfer, or well-groomed socialite.
I hunted along the south side of the island, facing the main channel.
Again, I found more beautiful white quartz.
I walked home with pockets full.
Tips For Finding Rocks At Crescent Bar
The main beach areas that get the most foot traffic were picked over pretty well, but even on the busiest beach areas, I still found stones if I looked beyond the water line.
I found the best rocks after walking a foot or two into the water, but not deeper than my knees.
Any deeper than the knees and the small rolling waves had no impact on the silt, and those stones out there were completely covered.
Instead, when I took my paddle board and just moved west down a few rocky beach spots to some inlets where the public trails didn’t reach quite as easily, I had both privacy and the pick of the stones.
These little “inlets” were sometimes no bigger than a few feet, and surrounded by lots of wild shrubbery.
I laid on my paddleboard and gently disturbed the silt on rocks that I could reach, and managed to find some neat pieces that were definitely overlooked because of the gunk.
It was a pretty darn enjoyable afternoon and I took home way more white quartz than I was planning to.
Overall Impressions Of Crescent Bar
I spent a good portion of my time in Crescent Bar sitting on the balcony of our rental house checking out the view.
The view in Crescent Bar is truly stunning, from just about anywhere in the town.
Crescent Bar is a good place to visit if you want to relax, or play on the river. But it’s not the best if you love DOING lots of things, as there isn’t much else to do in Crescent Bar.
We actually drove out to the Ancient Lakes Trailhead and got in a beautiful hike one day, and then drove in to Wenatchee another day for lunch to change things up.
The golf is pretty mediocre, but still something enjoyable to do with friends and family.
Take a water bottle whenever you go out for a walk….because in the summer it is pretty darn dry and hot.
Not sure where to go hunt for rocks? Check out our Rockhounding Washington articles for some ideas.