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

Fresno County is known for many things, one of which is California’s Agricultural Heartland.

However, many people don’t know that the county is a hot spot for rock collecting and crystal hunting.

If you are looking for places to dig for crystals, here are seven locations where you can go rockhounding in Fresno County, California.

Rockhounding Fresno County, California: 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.

Clark Valley

One of the best places to go rock collecting in Fresno County, California, is Clark Valley.

It is a basin or a relatively low area with high land enclosed around it and has an elevation of 564 feet.

It’s five miles from Minkler, California, situated southeast of Tivy Valley and White Tank Spring.

Historically, at the North end of Clark Valley, large crystals of epidote have been found there, and you have a high chance of still finding plenty there in the area.

In Clark Valley, pegmatites have also formed.

During your adventures in Clark Valley, you can discover apatite and andalusite crystals.

Jacolitos Canyon

At the height of 1,109 feet, Jacalitos Canyon resides high in the mountain terrain of Fresno County, California.

If you’re looking for an area to explore, the canyon and creeks in the county are great places to find crystals and rocks.

Below are some of the common crystals, rocks, and other minerals people have seen in the area:

  • Baryte
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Cinnabar
  • Gypsum
  • Metacinnabar
  • Opal
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Sulfur

Jacalitos Creek is about 0.6 miles north of Andrew Peak and is another spot to go rock collecting.

Within the creek beds of the canyon, you may be able to find Jasper, Fossilized Coral, and Petrified Wood.

New Idria Mining District

If you’re not afraid of visiting an 1880s ghost town in California, consider making a stop at the New Idria Mining District.

In the 1800s, the district became popular for mining due to finding a larger deposit if Cinnabar.

About five miles west of the Cinnabar deposit, the New Idria Mining Company developed the Aurora Mine after believing they had found silver within the area.

Although once they began operations, they quickly discovered it wasn’t silver and was Chromite and abandoned the mine.

You can still go digging around the old Aurora Mine to find Coalingite, Cinnabar, Hydrolacite, Lizardite, and Quartz.

You may even be able to find high-quality Serpentine within the area of the old mine. But remember that since the mine is an old one, it’s on private property, so before you start digging, make sure you ask permission from the Idria store owners.

1.5 Miles South of Hawkins School in Watts Valley

Hawkins School is a historic school located in Watts Valley.

It’s not far from Humphreys station, and you can find it on a map here.

About 1.5 miles south of the school is where you can dig for crystals, rocks, and other minerals.

Some of the minerals you can find in the area are listed below:

  • Biotite
  • Calcite
  • Chromite
  • Grossular
  • Muscovite
  • Sericite
  • Quartz
  • Rhodonite
  • Vesuvianite
  • Spessartine

The school is currently closed, and the digging area may be on private property, so when you’re on the hunt for crystals, be sure you’re not on private property.

If you’re on private property, remember to ask for permission before you start hunting for rocks, crystals, and other minerals.

Area 54

Area 54 sounds like a creepy spot meant for UFO sightings, but you’ll be surprised to know it’s a wonderful spot for you to go collect different kinds of crystals and rocks.

It is located in Little Panoche Creek, a former canal district gravel pit.

The site is in the western part of Fresno County and about 1.5 miles away from I-5.

It’s just under a couple of hours away from the Bay area of California.

Area 54 is located on private property, so you may not be able to dig exactly in the location.

However, many people have gotten lucky by digging around the dirt roads leading up to the area, especially along Panoche Road.

The crystals and rocks found along the roads are Agate, Breccia, Chalcedony, Jasper, and Quartz.

Dinkey Creek Mine

Dinkey Creek Mine, located at 5440 feet in height, was primarily used for mining tungsten.

You can find the mine within the mountain range of Mount Diablo, and you can see its location on Google Maps here.

Of course, if you like, you can go rock collecting in other areas of Mount Diablo, but many people have found the best of luck within Dinkey Creek Mine’s location.

People also enjoy rockhounding in the area due to seeing some of the oldest rocks in California.

Some of the rocks and minerals found are Greenstone, Chert, and fossils of different animals.

China Creek Park

The China Creek Park is located just off Highway 180 in Centerville.

It is 120 acres of savanna and woodlands along the Kings River floodplain.

China Creek Park resembles what the area of California would look like before settlement in the 1800s.

Many people take advantage of the China Creek Trail to find spots around the undeveloped park to dig for crystals and rocks.

Some of the crystals and stones found in the area are Asbestos, Chromium, Pyrite, and Quartz.

Admission to the park is free and is open to the public year-round.

During the winter months, hours of operation are October 1st to March 31st, opening at 7 AM and closing at 7 PM.

The hours of operation during the summer months are April 1st to September 30th, opening at 7 AM and closing at 10 PM.

Wrapping Up

There you have it, and these are the top seven places in Fresno County, California, for you to go hunting to find your favorite crystals, rocks, and other minerals in the area.

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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Rockhounding Fresno County