Where to Find Agates: The Ultimate Guide
Agates are beautiful and unique rocks. They are also among the most prevalent rocks on the planet. It means that if you know where to look, you can find them almost anywhere in the world! There are numerous varieties of agates, and some can only be found in specific locations. In contrast, others can be found in many different places. So where can you find agates?
They’re common in the United States in Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, Idaho, California, Washington, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Utah, Colorado, and Arkansas. They may also be found in Australia, Germany, Brazil, Czechia, Botswana, Mexico, Morocco, Afghanistan, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, and China. Over 40 other countries worldwide.
But because they are so widespread, you need to know exactly where they are found in each country and state to save time and effort. There are specific spots known for having agates, and those are the locations you need to start from. Some are public, but others are private and prohibit rockhounding (or, in some cases, a fee needs to be paid).
Where Can You Discover Agates in America?
One of the most renowned agates in the world may be found in the United States and Canada. The Lake Superior agate is exclusive to the Lake Superior shoreline.
Lake Superior Agates
This lake is accessible from three states: northwestern Wisconsin, northeastern Minnesota, and northern Michigan. It is also found in Canada near Thunder Bay. Thunder Bay is on one of the shores of Lake Superior.
Its red, orange or yellow bands can distinguish this agate from other agates. The colors usually have white bands in between them. The redness comes from iron that leeches into the agate from other rocks and oxidizes. Oxidation and iron concentration are the primary factors determining the bands’ colors and intensities.
Below are some of the most significant places in all three states to find agates from Lake Superior.
State Best Locations
- Michigan Whitefish Point
Little Girls Point
Muskellunge Lake State Park
- Minnesota Lutsen
- Wisconsin Saxon Harbor
St. Croix County
Another type of agate found in the United States is fire agate. This variety of agate can be found in Mexico, Arizona, California, and New Mexico regions.
Fire agate is a type of stone that has a reddish-brown color. But looking at it from different angles, you can see beautiful colors like orange, gold, and green. It is called iridescence. People often compare the iridescence in fire agate to opal.
There are many types of rocks near the south-eastern border of Arizona and Mexico. These rocks include agates, obsidian, carnelian, thundereggs, jaspers, azurite, rhyolite, malachite, and chrysocolla. In other parts of Arizona, you can find peridot, amethyst, jade, opal, petrified wood, and turquoise.
It can be found in various locations, some of which are private mines that may not be accessed. Others are public rock-hunting locations where you can excavate whenever you wish.
Private land areas allow people to search for rocks and minerals. You have to pay an entrance fee to get in, and then you can look for rocks and minerals. The federal government manages these areas through the Bureau of Land Management.
Here are some of the more visible locations:
- Arizona’s Saddle Mountain (Rockhounding site and recreational area)
- The city of Opal Hill, California (Mine, pay-to-dig)
- Located in Arizona’s Black Hills (A public rockhounding site managed by the BLM)
- The community of Round Mountain, Arizona (Public rockhounding site, BLM)
- Slaughter Mountain, Arizona (Mine)
- Oatman, Arizona (“Cuesta Fire Agate Mine,” pay-to-dig, admission fee of $30 to $50)
You can find rocks at these sites, but you don’t have to worry that you won’t find any agates. Annual rainfalls help to reveal new rocks every year. And since these places are so significant, there are probably areas that haven’t even been explored yet.
There are many public rockhounding sites in Oregon. Most of these sites are managed by the BLM and open to rockhounds. These sites include:
- Eagle Rock is a location where one can find moss, dendritic agate, rhyolite, and several forms of chalcedony. A hammer and chisel may be useful here.
- Fischer Canyon has agate, jasper, and petrified wood.
- Moss agates are well-known in the Maury Mountains (they come in different colors). Because most of the rocks on the surface have already been collected by other rockhounds, you will almost certainly need to do some digging.
- The North Ochoco Reservoir is rich in agate and jasper. A hike is involved, and instruments (such as a rock hammer) may be required.
Oregon is a great place to find rocks. It is because it is close to the ocean. The ocean has brought in a lot of rocks and minerals over time. You can find rocks in many places, including those mentioned above.
In Oregon, the Willamette River and its tributaries flow through forests, deserts, and the coast. It is a great place to find all sorts of rocks like agates, thundereggs, jaspers, petrified wood, fossils, obsidian, and more. You can even see a map that tells you where to look for rocks in Oregon.
Montana Moss Agate
The “Montana Moss Agate” is an exciting agate that can be found in the Yellowstone region, especially in Yellowstone National Park. It is translucent and orange/brown with black dendrites.
Montana is quite famous for its agates, which have been one of its official state gemstones since 1969.
Another type of agate found in Montana is the “Dryhead Agate.” It is often seen as nodules, balls of the stone, with red, orange, white, and brown fortification banding around darker colors. They are usually found near the Big Horn River and the Pryor Mountains.
Another type of agate is the “Mojave Blue” agate, found in California’s the Mojave Desert. It is commonly used in jewelry and has a blue/blue-grey tint. Agates are very abundant along the California coast. This map shows the main locations.
The best rockhounding Colorado agates are Wolf Creek Pass on route 160, Felch Creek, and Houselog Creek.
Where in Europe and the Rest of the World Can You Find Agates?
Agates can be found in almost every European country. The chart below shows where agates have been found in the past.
Australia is well-known for its unique agates. These agates have brilliant colors and patterns, many of which come from Agate Creek in Northern Queensland. Some of the agates from this area have different colors depending on which side the rock is illuminated from.
The majority of agates come from Brazil and Uruguay. They are primarily found in the Rio Grande do Sul region of Brazil. Other Brazilian states that produce a lot of agates include Minas Gerais, Goiás, Pará, Piauí, Paraíba, and the Tocantins.
Mexico is also a producer of agates. You can find fire agates and Laguna agates in different parts of the country. Fire agates are mainly found south of Arizona. In contrast, Laguna agates are common in Estacion Ojo Laguna in Chihuahua.
Where Should You Look for Agate?
When hunting for agates, a few factors must be kept in mind. Generally, you will want to search in areas where they have been found. But there are other things to keep in mind as well.
- Agates are frequently discovered around coastlines/shores, though most are concealed in the sand and must be dug out.
- Agates can be discovered in gravel pits, dirt roads, road cuttings, construction, and other areas where mountainsides, soil, and other land are cut and exposed.
The appearance of the sea itself is also crucial – storms frequently expose rocks and minerals by removing large amounts of sand from beaches and altering topography. Areas, where erosion is occurring should be observed as well.
To learn more information about Agates, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Where to Find Agates
Agates can be discovered on ocean and lake beaches, along road cuts, and in regions with exposed gravel. Agates are most commonly found on the Great Lakes shores, the Pacific Coast’s beaches, and in the deserts of many western states.
Check the surface of the stone for pit marks. Agates sometimes form in igneous rock and are surrounded by softer rock that erodes, resulting in surface pitting. If you feel waxiness, this is a sign of an agate.
Fire agate is a type of gemstone only found in specific areas in the desert. Nobody knows where it came from, but it is always seen near volcanoes. The site where people can discover fire agate is open to the public without any fees or permits.
Rockhounds can collect small amounts of rocks on Bureau of Land Management land without paying. However, if someone wants to collect rocks to sell them, they need special permission from the bureau.