Rockhounding Imperial County, California: 5 Places To Hunt Rocks, Crystals, and Fossils  

Imperial County, California, is one of the best places to go rockhounding for geodes.

Although before you visit the county, you’re going to need to know what spots you should go digging to find the geodes and other minerals.

In the following article, you’ll discover five places to go rockhounding in Imperial County, California.

Rockhounding Imperial County, California


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.

1. North Black Hill Geode Beds

A site known for decades by true rock hound lovers North Black Hill in Imperial County offers an abundance of the mineral geode.

In the 1950s, rock collectors found large geodes that were the size of basketballs.

And you know what else? It’s still possible for you to find geodes there at this size.

The geodes formed in the Black Hills when crystals grew slowly in holes in the igneous and sedimentary rocks of the region.

During the Tertiary period, volcanic bedrock deposited crystalline lumps.

Blessing rock hound lovers to explore the area to find nature’s most beautiful minerals in the world.

When you plan on visiting the site, keep in mind the region is remote, and there’s a possibility you may not see anyone for weeks.

Before leaving, make sure your car is in good condition and that you have plenty of supplies.

To ensure you don’t get stuck, try bringing a four-wheel-drive vehicle in case anything happens.

The area’s main attraction is the thundereggs(geodes and nodules), but there are other minerals you can find.

Some of the other minerals you can find are black agate, red jasper, and brown jasper.

You can also find amethyst, calcite, gypsum, hematite, and quartz.

2. Hauser Geode Beds

Another area known to rock hound lovers, the Hauser Geode Beds, is an hour away from the city of Blythe.

In 1937, Joel Hauser found the site while traveling around the North Black Hills geode beds.

The best way to get to the area is by taking Interstate 10 and getting off on Wiley’s Well Road South.

After coming off the road, you’ll drive for 30 minutes on a paved road and another 30 minutes on a dirt road.

Some very beautiful geodes of various types have emerged from the Hauser geode beds.

For example, there are geodes with amethyst crystals lined inside and some with calcite crystals lining.

Some of the other minerals you can find are agates, jasper, gold, and quartz.

This is another area that is considered remote, so keep this in mind when traveling here to go rock collecting.

Bring extra tools, supplies, and water when visiting the Hauser geode beds.

3. Imperial Valley

The Imperial Valley lies mainly in Imperial County, California, apart from the Colorado Desert.

The valley stretches southward for 50 miles from the Salton Sea to Mexico.

This region was once within the Gulf of California, but is now mostly below sea level, with the lowest point being -232 feet.

There is an extreme desert climate in the valley with daily highs of 100 degrees and little to no rain throughout the year.

So, when visiting the area, be sure to bring extra water to help you stay hydrated.

Some of the main attraction of the area includes the following below:

  • North Algodones Dunes Wilderness
  • Imperial Sand Dunes
  • Fossil Canyon
  • Osborne Overlook
  • Oyster Shell Beds
  • Painted Gorge

Although, the best place to go rockhounding within the valley is at the Mesquite Mine Overlook Trail, on the trail is the second largest gold mine in California.

Some of the minerals you can find are gold, baryte, copper, lead, and quartz.

4. Clapp Springs

On the northeast flank of the Palo Verde Mountains, there is a small oasis of fan palms surrounded by mesquite trees called Clapp Spring.

Near Palo Verde, California, is approximately nine miles away and only ten miles west of the Colorado River.

With some caves on the south overlooking it once used by Indians and a web of animal trails convergent at its center, it’s an enthralling location.

The area is full of wildlife native to California; some of the animals you may see are mountain lions, coyotes, deer, and burros.

When rockhounding, it’s vital for you to keep this in mind in case wild animals attack you.

If you happen to see a mountain lion remember to stay calm and do not run.

By running, you’ll make the animal see you as prey and want to chase after you.

So with this in mind, bring a first aid kit and several people during your rock collecting trip.

Some of the minerals you can find within the area include thundereggs, jasper, agate, chalcedony, and quartz.

In the area, you can also find an abundance of geodes.

5. Joshua Tree National Park

A protected area within Imperial County, California, Joshua Tree National Park is home to over 3,000 trees.

Joshua trees are twisted and bristling in the region, giving the park its name. A striking desert landscape and rugged rock formations characterize the land.

The Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert straddle the park.

There are hiking trails through the Hidden Valley’s boulders.

Some of the trails include Hi-View Nature Trail, Panorama Loop, and Arch Rock Trail.

The park is open throughout the year and the most popular time to visit is during the fall and spring. There are fewer people during the summer due to the heat.

The entrance fee is $30 for a 7-day pass with a vehicle. For those walking, it is a $15 fee to enter the park.

The park’s main attractions include Skull Rock, Black Rock Canyon, Cottonwood Springs, and Covington Flats. You can explore these areas or the hiking trails to find places to go rock collecting.

Joshua Tree National Park offers rock hound lovers a variety of gems to find within the soil.

While some of the minerals you can find are ankerite, baryte, calcite, galena, gold, hematite, pyrite, and quartz, it is generally illegal to remove any materials from national parklands.

Instead, collect your materials nearby (but off) national park property.

Wrapping Up

Imperial County, California, is widely known for its many beds of geodes.

Some of the other places you can visit include the potato patch and straw bed, which contains geodes beds.

Also, there are plenty of other places you can go rockhounding in Imperial County, California. The ones on the list are just considered the best spots to go digging.

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 Imperial County