Rockhounding Monterey County, California

Monterey County, California is a beautiful coastal region south of Santa Cruz and west of Fresno.

It is home to approximately 22 different rocks and minerals in the Bedell Deposit, Big Sur River, Castroville, Cholame Hills, Chualar, Gabilan Range, areas, to name a few.

The locations that I have listed are detailed below.

Some locations and findings within these locations are well documented, and others are wide open for curious discovery.

Rockhounding Monterey 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.

Bedell Deposit

The Bedell Deposit is home to magnesite and a serpentine subgroup.

It is in the SE portion of the county and its longitude and latitude coordinates are 35° 53′ 57” North and 120° 21′ 33” West.

This deposit is southwest of Avenal and is between highway US 101 (to the right going northbound) and CA 33 (on the left going northbound).

Magnesite ranges from colorless, white, greyish-white, yellowish, brown, faintly pink, lilac-rose and is a member of the calcite group.

It is considered brittle and maintains a hardness between 3.5-4.5 on the Mohs scale.

Serpentine ranges from multicolored green, gray, blueish-black and is a member of the Kaolinite-Serpentine Group.

It is considered a soft rock and has a distinctive dull to greasy luster and feel.

Big Sur River

The mouth of the Big Sur River is home to Garnet Group minerals.

The mouth of the river is SE of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and its longitude and latitude coordinates are 36° 16′ 50” North and 121° 51′ 36” West.

The mouth is located between the Andrew Molera State Park beach (west) at the northern most point of the beach and the headlands trail (east).

The Garnet Group is a group of minerals comprised of Almandine, Pyrope, Spessartine, Andradite, Grossular, and Uvarovite.

The colors range from red, red to purple, orange to red to brown, green, yellow, black, pink, and clear.

It is perhaps best known as the birthstone of January.

It’s hardness ranges from 6.5-7.5.

Unnamed stone pit – Castroville

This unnamed stone pit located in Castroville is home to various aggregate minerals.

The stone pit is in NE Castroville and its longitude and latitude coordinates are 36° 47′ 57” North and 121° 44′ 16” West.

The stone pit is located to the right on Dolan Road (traveling west) across from Dolan Place (between both Dolan Place roads).

Aggregate minerals are masses of medium-grained rock material mainly used for construction purposes and are among the most mined minerals in the world.

Construction aggregates include basalt, dolomite, granite, gravel, limestone, sand, and sandstone.

This location is cool because it is rather a mystery and open for discovery!

Parkfield Area, Cholame Hills

Mineral specimens, Calcite and Sand Calcite can be found in this unnamed sand calcite occurrence in the Parkfield area of Cholame Hills.

This area is located to the left of Vineyard Canyon Road (eastbound) and is near the intersection of Vineyard Canyon Road and Slacks Canyon Road.

Its longitude and latitude coordinates are 35° 55′ 40” North and 120° 32′ 3” West.

Calcite and Sand Calcite are members of the Calcite Group and range from white, yellow, red, orange, blue, green, brown, and grey in color.

They have a vitreous, sub-vitreous, resinous, waxy, and pearly lustre, are considered brittle, and are a 3 on the Mohs hardness scale.

They come in all sorts of forms, shapes, and sizes, and this unnamed sand calcite is open for discovery!

Unnamed K-Feldspar occurrence – Chualar

This unnamed K-Feldspar occurrence is home to Feldspar and Orthoclase.

It is located NW of Chualar and its longitude and latitude coordinates are 36° 34′ 51” North and 121° 34′ 37” West.

It is next to the Salinas River and at the western end of Somavia Road between River Road and El Camino Real.

Feldspar is a group of minerals and commodities such as Mica, Silica, Beryllium, Uranium, Rare Earths, Gemstones, and Lithium.

They are generally white to gray to pink to very dark grey in color and have vitreous lusters.

They are divided into two main groups; Potassium Feldspar (K-spar) and plagioclase (plag) and have a hardness of 6 on the Mohs hardness scale.

Orthoclase is a tectosilicate mineral that ranges from colorless, greenish, greyish, yellow, white, and pink colors.

It has a vitreous, pearly cleavage surface, a luster with white streaks.

It is transparent to translucent and measures 6 on the Mohs hardness scale.

Orthoclase has been found in igneous rocks found on the Moon and Mars.

Gabilan Peak Deposit (Freemont Park Deposit) – Gabilan Peak (Freemont Peak) – Bardin Ranch, Gabilan Range

The Gabilan Peak Deposit is home to a bedded baryte deposit in silicified limestone with dolomite.

It is located on the SW flank of Gabilan peak, south of Monroe Canyon Road and East of Monroe Creek, in between Reliz Canyon Road (to the right going northbound) and Thompson Canyon Road (to the left going northbound). Its longitude and latitude coordinates are estimated at 36° North and 121° West.

Baryte is a group of minerals that comprise the Bayte Group.

They are colorless in transmitted light, white, yellow, brown, grey, blue, and can appear to have a tint to them.

They maintain a vitreous and pearly luster and measure as a 3 on the Mohs hardness scale.

They are unusually heavy for a non-metallic mineral.

Harlem, Gabilan Range

This unnamed W prospect is home to Tungsten, Epidote, Scheelite, and Garnet Group minerals and commodities.

It is located NE of Harlem off Ramus Road, next to Jackson Canyon.

Its longitude and latitude coordinates are 36° 25′ 9” North and 121° 12′ 44” West. Take a left onto Ramus Road when traveling southbound on CA 146 Shirtail Canyon Road.

Tungsten is an element found in Silver, Copper, Gold, Lead, Molybdenum, Tin, Zinc, and Antimony.

Tungsten is naturally a silvery grey color and is a very dense and hard metal.

It measures as a nine on the Mohs hardness scale and has the highest melting point of all elements.

The epitode is yellowish-green, green, brownish green, to black in color.

It has a vitreous luster to it and measures as a 6 on the Mohs hardness scale.

It occurs in marble and schistose rocks of metamorphic origin.

Scheelite is tan, golden-yellow, colorless, white, greenish, dark brown, and colorless in transmitted light.

It has an adamantine and vitreous luster and measures between 4.5 and 5 on the Mohs hardness scale.

It is a primary mineral found in high-temperature hydrothermal veins.

These locations detailed above are just a few of the many rock finding expeditions that await in Monterey, California.

Remember to have fun and keep a curious eye open. Good luck on your travels and happy rock hunting!

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 monterey county