Where to Find Oregon Agates: 3 Not So Secret Locations
Why Oregon Agates
Oregon is, without question a rockhound’s paradise. A huge variety of rocks, minerals and fossils just wait to be found all over the state. Oregon boasts of over 300 miles of Pacific Ocean shoreline, just as many miles of the Cascade mountain range and countless numbers of rivers and streams.
All of these miles of Pacific Northwest beauty produce incredible quantities of rocks, minerals and fossils. But one of the most coveted precious stones that can be located here in the state of Oregon are none other than the beautiful Oregon made agates.
3 Favorite Places To Find Agates in The State of Oregon
Ona State Park is located about 8 miles south of Newport, which is about halfway between Newport and Waldport. In addition to being an excellent surf perch fishing location, Ona Beach is also known for being a great destination to find Oregon agates. If agates aren’t easy to come by while you’re visiting Ona Beach, then fossils can easily be found here as well.
Beverly Beach / Moolack Beach
Beverly Beach and Moolack Beach are approximately 5 miles north of Newport. Both of these beaches are phenomenal locations. In my opinion, they are two of the better beaches to be able find Oregon agates.
There are multiple rock piles and streams that feed into the Pacific Ocean along these beaches. Look in the stream beds and near the rock outcroppings. In addition to agates, many fossils can be found on these beaches. Look in the cliffs where Hwy 101 is, and it won’t take you long to find 20 million year old imprint fossils of ancient clams and snails.
Agates In Oregon Rivers
The Willamette River
In my opinion, the Willamette River and its tributaries are by far the best place to find agates in Oregon and hunting Oregon agates. The Willamette River is my top secret destination for locating large numbers of these precious gemstones. Every year we spend several days canoeing down the Willamette River. And every year, we come home with pockets crammed full of large beautiful agates.
The Willamette river is a 300 mile long river that begins its path high up in the cascade mountains southeast of Eugene. The river winds its way through forests, farmland and cities before joining the Columbia River in Portland. In addition to agates, you can find fossils and arrowheads along the way.
The Willamette River may be the best place to find agates in Oregon, but it’s definitely not the only place to find agates. Agates in Oregon rivers can be found in many other locations. I have had excellent luck finding agates in the Mollala River and other Willamette River tributaries like the Santiam River and the Clackamas River.
What Are Agates?
Agates are those translucent rocks you find on beaches and gravel bars. Agates are a variety of microcrystalline quartz. They’re typically used as a semiprecious stone when it’s a desirable quality and color.
Agates typically form by the deposition of silica from groundwater in the cavities of igneous rocks. This is why sometimes some of the larger agates you find have smooth, round surfaces. Essentially, the igneous rock the agate formed inside of was a mold for the agate. Fortunately, the state of Oregon is prime for creating incredible looking agates.
Where Have All The Oregon Agates Gone?
There are many places that agates can be found in the state of Oregon. One of the most popular places that people look for them are along the hundreds of miles of public beaches. Oregon is special in the fact that all of the beaches in the state are open to the public, which makes them a great destination for rockhounds from all over the world.
Some beaches have been known to produce so many agates that they’ve even named the beach after that fact. For example, there’s a beach just north of the town of Newport called Agate Beach. This beach used to be littered with agates. Unfortunately, agates are rarely found on that beach these days.
Sadly, this is the case with many of the popular agate hunting locations along Oregon’s coast. This prompted me to come up with an updated, more current list of several of the more successful locations you can find Oregon agates. As a bonus, I will even throw in one of my secret locations in Oregon where large quantities of agates abound!
If you’re planning on spending much time at all looking for agates, you may want to take a look at my article, 5 Reasons To Use A Sand Dipper.
I highly recommend one to every beachcomber. You’ll never have to bend over again to grab those agates!
Now that you have 3 great locations to find agates, get out there and start looking! If you would like further reading and information on rockhounding, take a look at my article listing what I believe to be The Best Rockhounding Books, for beginners and experts alike.
You also may want to take a look at my recent post Gifts For Rock Collectors and Mineral Lovers: The Ultimate Guide if you want help finding your rockhound the perfect gift.
Have you spent much time searching for beautiful Oregon agates? If so, where is your favorite place to go? Do you have a “secret” location you are willing to share with us?
Share your story by commenting below! We would love to hear all about it!
Happy Rock Seeking!
Enjoy this excellent video about hunting for Oregon agates along Oregon Coast.