Despite most people’s knowledge, the Yakima area is rich in naturally occurring gemstones and there are so so many rockhounding locations you can explore.
If you are curious about the rockhounding sites near Yakima, Washington this article will reveal seven popular options within two hours of the city that you can try out.
Rockhounding Near Yakima (A Visitor’s Guide)
The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com 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.
Washington has so many minerals, rocks, geodes, and crystals because it was a hotbed of volcanic activity occurring in the Cascade Mountains thousands of years ago.
The volcanic activity in this area caused an explosion of specimens for collecting, cutting, and anything else you might want.
1) Horse Heaven Hills – 0 minutes – 46°07’53.8″N 119°50’46.7″W
The specimens found here are opalized wood, petrified wood, chalcopyrite, and galena.
These stones will be mostly in the draws and the river washes.
Other than rockhounding, this area is full of picnic areas and stunning scenery.
This area is typically dry and windy, so make sure to bring plenty of water when visiting this area.
Also, there are a lot of hiking opportunities, so you will have lots of space for rockhounding without the fear of going onto someone’s private property.
When coming from Yakima, first you get on I-82 E and then follow I-82 E to WA-223 W in Granger.
Then take exit 58 from I-82 E for 23 min and then continue into WA-223 W and Indian Church Rd to WA-22 E in Satus.
After that, turn left onto WA-22 E and follow for 20 minutes to S Ward Gap Rd. Drive and then to Sellards Rd.
This area is in Prosser, WA.
2) Petrified Forest State Park – 57 minutes – 46°57’36.8″N 119°59’18.3″W
While you should know that it is generally illegal to collect or take home rocks/stones from state parks, this is a great place to visit if you are as obsessed with rocks as we are.
You’ll find Opalized Wood and Petrified Wood in this park, along with the many amazing petrified wood formations.
However, if you are interested in taking home specimens, you can scour the grounds outside of the state park itself, as many of the specimens you’ll find in the park (with the exception of the large pieces of petrified wood) can be found in the areas around the state park lands.
Not only is the forest absolutely amazing, but there is also an interactive Interpretive Center, 30 varieties of petrified wood, an RV Park, a campsite, and 3 different hiking trails.
When driving from Yakima, get on I-82 W and follow I-90 E to Kittitas County.
Then take exit 136 from I-90 E and then continue on Vantage Hwy and then Recreation Dr. This area is in Kittitas County, PA.
3) Cairn Hope Peak- 40 minutes – 46°33’58.1″N 119°58’36.8″W
Here you’ll find Petrified Wood and Opalized Wood for your collection.
Most of the stones here will be found on the south side. In the nearby city of Selah, Washington is a powerhouse of culture and vibrancy
. This city has several wineries, museums, scenic views, golf courses, large city parks, and popular biking trails.
Get on I-82 E for 30 minutes and then WA-24 E for 27 min straight to your destination. This area is in Selah, Washington.
4) Cle Elum – 53 minutes – 47°12’19.8″N 120°56’07.6″W
This is one of the only places in Washington that you can find Blue Agate.
When coming from Yakima, drive onto I-82 W for 6 minutes and then follow I-82 W and I-90 W to WA-970 in Kittitas County.
Take exit 85 from I-90 W for 51 min and then take WA-903 to Deer Creek Rd for 7 min. This area is within Cle Elum-Roslyn, WA.
Cle Elum-Roslyn, WA has amazing things for you and your loved ones when not out rockhounding.
This city has unique and fun activities like ATV & Snowmobile Rentals, horseback riding, spas, a golf course, and unique museums.
5) Bickleton – 1 hour 12 minutes – 46°01’11.6″N 120°30’54.6″W
Agate, Carnelian, Jasper, Opalized wood can be found here.
Get on I-82 E from Yakima and then follow US-97 S to Tomith Rd for 48 min. Next, turn onto Tomith Rd in Klickitat County for 21 min.
This area is within Goldendale, Washington.
In this area, there are lots of opportunities for off-roading, camping, and going to local museums and historic areas.
Also, this city has a famous annual town picnic and rodeo competition that happens at the oldest rodeo and ranch in the state of Washington.
6) Ellensburg – 45 minutes – 47°05’21.3″N 120°31’04.3″W
This place has a large number of Geodes of all different types and sizes.
Get on I-82 W from Yakima and follow I-82 W to Thrall Rd in Kittitas County. Take exit 3 from I-82 W 26 min.
Finally, get on Number 6 Rd to Wilson Creek Rd for 17 min. The area is located in Ellensburg, PA.
You will be able to find the geodes on the northern side of town.
For when you’re done rockhounding, Ellensburg has a rodeo, a renewable energy center, several museums, wineries, and several agencies offering tours of the beautiful wildlife.
These are just a few activities in the area that will make your trip even better.
7) Klickitat River – 1 hour 52 minutes – 45°45’11.5″N 121°12’30.7″W
Along the riverbanks, you can find a lot of Petrified Wood.
Get on I-82 from Yakima and follow US-97 S to WA-142 W/E Broadway St in Goldendale for 1 hr 10 min. Then turn right onto WA-142 W/E Broadway St for 41 min and your destination will be on the right. This area is located within Kittitas County, WA.
A unique and fun thing to do in Klickitat is Adventure Fishing.
Other great local activities in this area are the Farmer’s Market, archery, hunting events, and frequent motorsports competitions.
Also, there are a lot of hiking opportunities in this area.
That once again means that there will be lots of space for rockhounding without the fear of going onto private property.
These are just seven of the many rockhounding areas to explore in the Yakima Washington vicinity, but there are lots of places around the state to do so.
Here are some general guidelines for where to get certain stones from around the state.
- Jade can be found near Oso, Bridgeport, the Nooksack River, Whidbey Island, and Clallam Bay Beach.
- Gold is found in the northwest region of Washington, on Shi Shi Beach, the Ozette River, Skagit River, Darrington, or the Granite Falls.
- Opalized wood can be found in the Horse Heaven Hills area, the Petrified Forest State Park, Mount Rattlesnake, Cairn Hope Peak, and the Saddle Mountains area.
- Fossilized wood, or petrified wood, can be found in the Petrified Forest State Park, the Vantage, Columbia River, Lucas Creek, Rattlesnake Mountain, Cairn Hope Peak, and Pe Ell.
- Chalcedony will be in the Middle Fork Teanaway River, Ellensburg, Kalama, Willapa River, Ocean Park, and Green Creek.
The most common rockhounding finds in Washington State are:
- Quartz crystals
- Fossilized wood
- Opalized wood
If you are interested in having a book for over fifty explicit locations and a comprehensive guide to Rockhounding in Washington state, you are in luck.
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The Yakima, WA area has lots of productive rockhounding sites within a two-hour radius that are free to access.
All these sites are also great tourist stops with killer scenery, swimming holes, and unique experiences, so you and your loved ones can make the most of the occasion.