Spectrum Sunstone Mine (Oregon): 12 Insider Tips To Make The Best Of Your Trip  

The Spectrum Sunstone Mine is a privately owned 20-acre mining property situated 27 miles northeast of Plush, Oregon.

Plush is a small rural town in Lake County, near the California border.

The deposit produces up to one kilogram of colored Oregon sunstones per cubic yard of earth, making it one of the most prolific colored sunstone deposits in the world.

The mines are accessible to the public for free-roaming and collecting, but there is a fee for mining. Visitors can come, dig it up, and shake away the dirt to discover the gemstones.

It is an incredibly beautiful place for a mining experience in the United States.

Meanwhile, there are certain recommendations that may assist you in making the most of your visit to Spectrum Sunstone Mine.


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.

1- Take a high clearance vehicle

The roads leading to the collecting site are not in good condition, so a high-clearance vehicle (SUV) is strongly encouraged.

It can be hard on axels and CV joints in a sedan.

We recommend going from June to October, since the dirt and gravel roads become inaccessible in wet circumstances, even for an SUV.

2- Keep your gas tank full

It is also suggested that you maintain your fuel tank when traveling to the Sunstone Mine.

The place is remote, and the nearest petrol station is quite a bit away.

It can keep you stress-free during your visit. Although you can use your car for other purposes, like charging your phone.

3- Wear suitable shoes and clothes

As previously said, the roads and surfaces in the region are not smooth.

It is advised that you wear or carry decent quality shoes to avoid slips and ankle twists.

The shoes need to be fully covered like joggers.

It is also recommended that you wear summer-friendly light fabric clothes during the daytime, because you will be sweating a lot while digging up the sunstones.

4- Bring plenty of water and food

It’s also worth noting that the sunstone location is exceedingly isolated, with a 30-mile dirt road connecting it to the nearest town of Plush.

So, have extra food and water on hand.

The mini-shop there can provide water, but it charges a premium. Extra water will keep you hydrated as it gets very hot during the day.

5- Prepare to battle the sun

The place is extremely hot. It is recommended to bring sunscreen, an umbrella, a hat, or a bandana to save yourself from the scorching heat.

As already mentioned, extra water to keep you hydrated is also very important. Also, bring refreshing drinks to beat the heat.

6- Have a power back up

The crucial thing to remember is that it is a remote area and there is no electricity.

Keep that in mind before you plan to visit. It is also recommended to bring a fully charged mobile phone or keep a power bank with you.

You can have solar plates or solar water bottle chargers. You can use your car for charging purposes as well.

7- Bring an insect repellent

It is a remote, deserted area, so it is always common to witness desert animals or insects.

You are advised to bring your insect repellent tools like insect repellent lotions, sprays, candles or wipes.

A good quality insect repellent will keep you safe from the desert insects and mosquitoes as well, so you can have a comfortable sleep at night.

8- Don’t forget the safety equipment

Come well prepared to have a fun adventure while digging. You are advised to bring good quality gloves.

It will save you from getting hurt or from developing a sand allergy.

Second, bring a mask to cover your mouth. It will save you from any ore or chemical allergies.

A knee pad would be helpful for you while you sit on an uneven surface for digging.

9- Bring your tools for digging

There are a few things available, like sifters, which are free of cost, but the rest of the tools are not available and you will have to bring the digging tools.

The digging tools that you will need are a shovel, bucket, plastic bags, pick-axe, hammer, and screwdrivers.

If you want to bring bucket-sized sieves, it is optional.

The small sifters can save your efforts and time in taking the sand from one place to another.

It is advised to bring multiples of these tools if you are visiting with family or friends.

10- Learn ways to collect sunstones

The area is full of natural gems.

It has treasure, and your techniques and methods can help you find and discover valuable sunstones.

There are three ways to collect sunstones. You can easily just walk around the area and look around for the gems that are glowing on the surface.

Another way is that you can shovel the sand from the ground, take it to the sifters, screen it and find the crystals from it.

The third way is that you can dig a deep hole around 4 feet deep and reach the decomposed layer and find the sunstones attached to the cap rocks or basalt.

11- Understand mining techniques

There are various types of gems hidden in these mines.

While you are digging up, make sure you are hitting on the lighter part of the cap rock, not the hard part or darker color.

If you are looking for a colorful range, dig at the lower portion, and if you are in search of something bigger in size, look at the upper portion of the cap rock.

Not only should your eyes be active, but be attentive to the sound while hitting the cap rocks.

The glass sound effect means you are hitting on the gemstone. You can find sunstones from 1 carat to more than 100 carats at Spectrum Sunstone Mine.

12- Save energy and use a conveyor belt

There is another premium option of a conveyor belt run. The belts run for one hour for around $200.

Approximately 6 tons of ore are processed throughout the hour, and numerous stones can be discovered.

Water is used to clean the ore that has been processed on the conveyor belt.

Things you need to know:

  • There is no fee to visit the Spectrum Sunstone Mine. You can walk and collect the stones as much as you can. The charge is $100 per person for one day of digging. 2 people can dig for 2 days for 300 dollars. Kids younger than 12 years old are free.
  • It is open from May 15th to November 1st, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The rental cabins and tipi accommodation are available to stay in at night. The charges vary according to the facilities provided.
  • The camping is free. Bring a sleeping bag if you want to sleep comfortably.
  • The parking is totally free of charge.
  • The sole amenities on the property are picnic tables, a pit toilet, and a shade shelter.
  • The area is remote and there is no internet or network coverage. As is already mentioned, there is no electricity either.

Final thoughts

You can find valuable gemstones in this place.

The unique red labradorite gemstones can only be found in Oregon.

These limited gems are available in dichroic, red, watermelon, green, schiller, and even purple and blue. The most valuable colors are green, red, and dichroic.

Check out our content about rockhounding Oregon for more information about unique and off the beaten path places to visit. You might also like:

Spectrum Sunstone Mine