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

Inyo county in California has a rich indigenous history and was once legendary for its mining production.

Due to the county land’s rich history and resources, it’s a beautiful area for you to dig for rocks, crystals, and other minerals for your collection.

In the following section, you’ll discover seven places to go rockhounding in Inyo County, California.

Rockhounding Inyo 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.

1 Inyo Mountain Range

The Inyo Mountains are a high, vast desert range, where bears roam freely in pristine wilderness.

At about 11,000 feet, Keynot Peak marks the high point.

The mountains separate the Owens Valley(west) from the Saline Valley(east).

Westgard Pass marks the end of the White Mountains, and from there, this range stretches approximately 70 miles (130 km) in an SSE direction until it reaches the eastern edge of Owens Lake.

There are 22 named mountains in the Inyo Range, including the highest and most prominent mountain, Waucoba Mountain.

On the highest mountain, it’s a great place to go hunting for rocks and crystals.

Some of the rocks and minerals you can find in the area are agate, vesicular volcanic rock, amygdules filled with quartz crystal, and sagenite.

2 Inyo National Forest

California’s Inyo National Forest is home to 200 million acres of untouched wilderness and a variety of natural wonders.

The forest contains the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, which protects Great Basin bristlecone pine trees.

The Inyo Mountain Range is located within the forest along with these other natural wonders:

  • Ansel Adams Wilderness
  • Hoover Wilderness
  • Golden Trout Wilderness
  • Boundary Peak Wilderness
  • White Mountains Wilderness

If you’re looking for obsidian, then point your interest towards the top of Glass Mountain.

Consider taking the Sawmill Meadows Road to reach the trail to get there.

The other rocks, crystals, and minerals you can find are dragons blood and rainbow obsidian.

If you decide to visit Glass Mountain, it’s best to during the spring, summer, and fall.

In the winter, weather conditions tend to be too harsh for digging and hiking.

3 Darwin Hills, Darwin Mines, and surrounding area

Located in Darwin, the Mines are in a ghost town of 54 people.

A silver discovery was made at Coso, nine miles from the Darwin Mine site, by Dr. Darwin French, who led an expedition in 1860.

The Darwine Mines, Darwin Hills, and surrounding areas are wonderful places to go rock collecting and finding other minerals.

The area is famous for being a hot spot for scheelite crystals.

Some of the other rocks and crystals you can see in the area are Calcite, Baryte, Galena, and Malachite.

You may also be able to find Chalcopyrite, Franckeite, and Pyrrhotite.

4 Death Valley National Park

It’s important to note that it is illegal to go rock collecting in Death Valley National Park without a permit.

But it is still a worthwhile visit for rock enthusiasts.

There are a lot of topographic contrasts to be seen in Death Valley, the largest national park in the lower 48 states.

Explore Telescope Peak, which towers 11,049 feet, and Badwater, the lowest point in North America, at 282 feet below sea level.

The diverse geological resources and exposed, complex tectonics of Death Valley National Park are known around the world.

Its boundaries are home to a mixed rock record throughout most of the geologic time.

In Death Valley, you can find rock layers dating back 1.8 billion years in the Black Mountains and more recently deposited playa sediments in the valley basins.

The key to understanding Death Valley’s geology is recognizing that it is a dynamic process that occurs continuously.

The park is still shaped by the winds, water, and plate tectonics on a daily basis.

Some of the minerals you can find in Death Valley are dolomite, sandstone, shale, siltstone, and quartzite.

You may even be able to find silver, copper, quartz, and tungsten.

5 Telescope Peak

The highest point in Death Valley is Telescope Peak, which is also part of the Panamint Range.

Many people take the 12.70-mile Telescope Peak Trail to go rock collecting within this area.

The hike is tough and can take seven hours and twenty-two minutes to complete.

Throughout the year, the trail is open, but June through October are the best months to visit. Death Valley National Park does charge a fee to enter, which you can learn more about here.

There is an old mine on the peak known as the Hornspoon Mine, where people have the best luck finding rocks, crystals, and other minerals.

Some of the minerals found within the area are gold, limonite, and quartz.

6 Furnace Creek

Located within Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek hosts the visitor center, museum, and headquarters.

If you haven’t realized already, Furnace Creek is actually a small town with less than two-hundred people living there.

There are campgrounds and park services within the town.

The town is known to hold records for having the highest temperatures on Earth.

For example, in 1913, the highest temperature was 134 °F.

With that being said, when you go rock collecting within the area, be sure to bring extra water with you to stay hydrated.

The area contains rocks and minerals dating back to the Miocene period.

There are also limestone deposits and saliferous playa in Furnace Creek.

7 Lee Mines

The Lee Mine was a mine where silver was the main commodity during the 1800s.

Some of the rocks, crystals, and other minerals found in Lee Mines are listed below:

  • Acanthite
  • Anglesite
  • Baryte
  • Chlorargyrite
  • Chrysocolla
  • Copper
  • Galena
  • Hemimorphite
  • Malachite
  • Quartz
  • Smithsonite
  • Sphalerite

You can find the extract location for the mine on Google Maps here.

If you plan on rock collecting here, remember that it may be on private property since it is an abandoned mine.

Also, you may need a permit to go rockhounding on the lands.

Wrapping Up

There are more places to go rockhounding in Inyo County, California.

But these are the seven places you will have the best of luck finding rocks, crystals, and other minerals within the county.

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 Inyo County