Rockhounding can be a fun way to spend a day outdoors for those who don’t mind hiking and getting a little dirty.
And what better place to do it than Kings County, California, as this county is home to some of the best rockhounding spots in the state.
Check out these 10 top spots to find rocks, crystals, and fossils in the area.
Rockhounding Kings County, California
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Mist Falls Trail
This trail is located in the Sequoia National Forest and is a great place to find agates.
The nearly nine-mile trail is moderate to difficult, so make sure you’re prepared for a good hike.
It typically takes around 4 hours to navigate, though this can be longer if you are searching for agates, gems, or fossils.
It’s recommended to visit from May to October, though there is a fee to enter the park.
San Andreas Fault
The San Andreas Fault is a geological fault that runs through California for over 800 miles.
While the fault line does not run directly through the county, it is just four miles west of the county line shared between Kings and Monterey County.
Rockhounding along the fault line can be dangerous, as there have been numerous earthquakes along the fault throughout history.
You are most likely to find jasper, agate, and quartz in the area.
Coalinga Mineral Springs
Coalinga Mineral Springs is a beautiful spot located in the foothills of the Coast Range mountains.
The springs are surrounded by lush vegetation and offer a refreshing swim.
The minerals in the water are said to have healing properties, and the springs are also a great place to find agate, jasper, and petrified wood.
Visiting the mineral springs requires a short hike, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear.
There are no facilities and limited directional signs at this park, so remember to take your time and plan your visit.
Hospital Rock is a popular spot for rockhounding as it’s home to a variety of rocks, minerals, and crystals.
It is located in the Sequoia National Forest and is believed to date back to nearly 1350 A.D.
Some of the rocks and minerals you can find here include obsidian, jasper, quartz, and agate.
The petroglyphs at this location are rich in history and are only a short hike to the attraction, making it a great choice for beginners or rockhounds with young children.
The best time to visit is in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler.
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is one of the largest national parks in the United States.
The park is home to various landscapes, including mountains, forests, and rivers.
Visitors can hike, camp, and fish in the park, and there are also many opportunities for rockhounding.
Some of the most popular minerals to find in the park include agate, jasper, and obsidian.
If you plan to visit the park, be sure to wear appropriate footwear and clothing, as the weather can be extreme and unpredictable.
Sequoia National Park
Just over an hour away from King’s County, Sequoia National Park is another large national park located in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
The park is home to the world’s largest tree, the General Sherman tree.
Visitors can also hike, camp, and fish in the park, and there are many opportunities for rockhounding.
Some of the most popular minerals rockhounds tend to find in the park include quartz, amethyst, and jasper.
Rockhounds should visit the rock formations when searching for gems.
Sierra Nevada foothills
The Sierra Nevada foothills are a great place to find rocks and minerals.
The foothills are home to many rivers and streams, and there are also many hiking trails.
Rockhounds are known to frequent this area for its abundant agate, jasper, and, most popular, gold.
When rockhounding in the foothills, you should expect a difficult landscape, so wear appropriate clothing and bring enough supplies to keep yourself prepared for any scenario.
Tule Elk State Natural Reserve
Just an hour’s drive from Kings County, the Tule Elk State Natural Reserve is home to a variety of different animals, including tule elk, mule deer, and bighorn sheep.
The reserve also offers many different hiking trails and is a great spot for birdwatching.
Rockhounds can find agate, jasper, and quartz in the area, among countless fossils and petrified wood.
There is little to no shade throughout the reserve, so remember to pack plenty of water and sunscreen.
Temperatures are known to fluctuate quickly, so it’s recommended to layer clothing in case of storms.
This canyon is located in the Mojave Desert and is a great place to find petrified wood.
The best time to visit is in the spring or fall when the temperatures are cooler.
You’ll need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to access the canyon, as it is located off of a dirt road.
Rockhounds enjoy this remote location and its solitude while searching for wood or fossils.
This is a remote area, meaning you will need to bring water, sanitary supplies, and a first aid kit.
Remember to pack plenty of water and food as there are no services in the immediate area.
The Kings River is a river located in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
The river is a great spot for fishing, camping, and hiking.
You can expect to find agate, jasper, and obsidian along the river banks.
Visitors can also find petrified wood in the river, though they should try to bring waterproof boots as the river can be quite muddy.
If you plan to visit Kings River, be sure to check the water level beforehand as the river can flood during heavy rains.
Rockhounding is a fun activity for people of all ages and interests.
The best way to find the perfect rock or gemstone is by visiting Kings County, California’s many nature preserves, parks, and other locations that offer scenic views.
Remember to always pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks, and follow Leave No Trace principles when rockhounding to minimize your impact on the environment.
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:
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The desert and mountain region is one of the best places to rockhounding.
We have a trip to go rockhounding near Sacramento planned soon, we’ll let you know how it goes!
Let’s start digging!
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