Rockhounding Madera County, California: 6 Places To Hunt Rocks, Crystals, and Fossils  

Are you currently looking for some places to go rock collecting in middle California?

In this post, we have six spots for you to go rockhounding in Madera County, California.

Rockhounding Madera 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. Yosemite Lakes

The Yosemite Lakes Park is approximately thirty-eight minutes away from the city of Madera.

The park offers miles of land for you to explore and find places to go rock digging.

In the middle of the park is Blue Heron Lake, the most popular destination for many visitors.

At the lake, people enjoy fishing and boating activities during the spring and summertime.

If you prefer to go when fewer people are there, then consider going during the fall months.

There a several trails you can hike within the park. The most popular trail is the Revis Mountain Trail.

The trail takes you through the mountains ending at a panoramic view of the park.

Some of the rocks and minerals you can find are fossils containing animals, gold, quartz, and agates.

2. Devils Postpile National Monument

A unique rock formation of columnar basalt and a 101-foot-high rainbow waterfall combine to form the Devil Postpile.

By the president’s proclamation in 1911, the rock formation was designated a national monument for protection.

In the geologic world, this formation is rare, ranking among the world’s finest examples of columnar basalt.

With columns rising to 60 feet, the formation displays striking symmetry.

If you enter the monument from the Reds Meadow Valley, you can take the shuttle bus during its operating season.

The operation season is from early spring through late fall, with the hours between 7 am to 7 pm. There is a cost to use the bus, which is $15.00 for adults and $7.00 for children 13 and under.

If you decide to drive, it’s best to come between the hours of 10 am to 2 pm since the parking lot fills up quickly. There is a fee of $10.00 per vehicle for parking space.

There are trails to take to hike along the monument to find places to dig for rocks.

Some of the paths you can take include The Devils Potpile Loop, The Minaret Falls Trail, and The Pacific Crest Trail.

Spring and winter are often the worst times to visit the area due to the rainy season.

The best time to visit is during the fall season, as the weather is perfect during this period.

Some of the minerals you can find are agate, jasper, iron, gold, and silver.

You can also find fossils containing prehistoric animals, magnetite, and quartz.

3. Bonadelle Ranchos-Madera Ranchos

Bonadelle Ranchos is an unincorporated area of Madera County with a high elevation of 640 feet.

Right at the foothills of the Sierra foothills, it is part of the Valley-Foothill transitional zone.

All throughout the area are large rolling hills with multiple creeks flowing through.

Some of these creeks include Bonadelle Creek, Cottonwood Creek, Little Dry Creek, and Root Creek.

These creeks tend to filter down near the foothills during the winter months.

When rock collecting within this area, remember some of the lands may be private property. So check for signs to see if you can dig in the area.

Some of the rocks and minerals you can find here are arsenopyrite, azurite, biotite, and gold.

You can also find malachite, pyrophyllite, and pyrrhotite.

4. Chowchilla

Chowchilla is a city in Madera County with a population above 18,000.

It is located about 15 miles northwest of the city of Madera and is an 18-minute drive.

In the city, there are plenty of hiking trails you can go on to find places to dig for rocks.

Some of the trails you can travel on are The Hite Cove Trail, Lewis Creek Trail, and The Angel Falls Trail.

It is recommended to wear hiking boots on the Angel Falls Trail due to the slippery rocks near the waterfall.

Also, if you prefer to go when no one is around, it is best to go during the fall season.

The Hite Cove Trail is within the Yosemite area and is a popular area to go digging for quartz and agate.

Along the other trails, you can find chromite, pyrrhotite, and zaraite.

5. Madera

It’s only right for you to go digging for rocks in the county seat of Madera County, California.

The city of Madera has a population of 61,000 and has plenty of locations for you to go rock collecting.

There’s an old mine near the city where you can find gold, chromite, pyrrhotite, quartz, and zaratite.

You can also visit the Nelder Grove, that’s located in the Sierra National Forest, which is only a 49-minute drive from the city.

You can visit the forest year-round, although the best time to visit is between late spring and early fall.

Some of the rocks and minerals you can find are petrified wood, agate, jasper, and quartz.

6. Oakhurst

Oakhurst is another large unincorporated area located 12 miles south of the Yosemite Lakes Park.

You can find the area right under the foothills of the Sierra Mountain range.

Some of the areas you can explore to find digging spots are Marisopia Grove, Eastman Lake Trail, and Bass Lake.

You can take the Way of the Mono Trail that admires the beauty of Bass Lake.

You can also explore the Rancheria Creek or the China Creek that’s right within the city limits of Oakhurst.

Some of the minerals you can find along the creeks are agate, jasper, petrified wood, and quartz.

Wrapping Up

These are not the only places you can go rockhounding in California.

These are just the best six spots for you to go rock collecting in Madera County, California.

If you’re looking for more places to explore, type in the search bar for the state you want to find places to go rockhounding.

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 Madera County