It's a passion for some and a hobby for others, and the Eastern Sierra can fill any rock hounds sample books with a ton. There are over 200 different rocks and minerals listed for Inyo County in the California Mineral book published by the State of California. Some areas are private land and thus you need their permission before you can pocket a few samples. Protected areas are marked, so please don't remove pieces of nature if you are asked not to.
Mammoth is made up of craters, volcanoes, obsidian glass, lava and a lot of granite. Here are some places where you can see and uncover some good sites and perhaps samples for your collections.
Rock Hound Trails
Going South from Mammoth on Hwy. 395
Rossi Mine - 10 miles. Follow Sunland St. Minerals found - Garnets, Epidote, Geodes, Molybelemum.
Round Valley - 25 miles - Bishop Tuft. Minerals found - Garnets, Epidote.
Owens Valley Gorge - 30 miles. Minerals found - Monzonite.
Swall Meadows - 40 miles - Past houses. Minerals found - Garnets, Granite.
Crowley Lake - 45 miles - East side. Minerals found - Obsidian, Pumice.
Casa Diablo - 55 miles - Turn East at Junction of Hwy. 395 and 203. Minerals found - Chalcedony, Agate, Red and Black Obsidian
Red's Meadow - 70 miles - Go to end of Hwy. 203 into canyon. Minerals found - Silver, Galena, Sphalrite, Tramolite, Cirrusite.
Agnew Meadow - 75 miles - Go to end of Hwy. 203, then to Agnew Camp, follow Shadow Lake trail 1 mile, left 1/2 mile. Minerals found - Rhodochrosite, Hematite, Garnets, Diopside, Epidote, Actiniolite, Galena.
Mono Lake - 75 miles - South shore. Minerals found - Thinolite, Schist.
Mono Craters - 75 miles. Minerals found - Pumice, Obsidian.
Bodie - 75 miles - Turn East at signs, 12 miles to ghost town, go beyond. Minerals found - Jasper, Agate, Gold, Geodes, Obsidian, Galena, Hematite.
Aurora - 105 miles - Continue East past Bodie. Minerals found - Cinnabar, Pyrites, Pink Opal, Geodes, Chalcopyrite, Quartz, Rose and Lilac Chalcedony, Jasper, Smokey Crystals.
From Big Pine, Going North on Hwy. 6
Jeffery Canyon - 40 miles - Champion Spark Plug Mine. Minerals found - Pyrophylite, Lazulite, Andalusite, Corrindum, Sillimanite, Rutile.
Hammil Valley - 45 miles. Minerals found - Wulfenite, Pyrophylite.
Black Rock Mine - 45 miles - Turn West, 5 miles to mine. Minerals found - Garnets, Pumice.
Benton - 50 miles - Turn West, old mining dumps. Minerals found - Quartz, Pyrite, Galena, Marcasite, Epidote.
Montgomery Pass - 60 miles - McQueen Mine past Janie's Ranch. Minerals found - Obsidian, Schist.
Coaldale - 90 miles - To the sump. Minerals found - Petrified wood, Jasper, Fossils, Agate, Obsidian,- White, Chalcedony.
Gabbs Valley - 90 miles - Turn North at Hwy 95 then East at Mina, into mountains. Mineral found - Agate, Jasper, Fossils, Opalized Wood, Geodes, Nodules, Lace Agate, Green Petrified Wood.
Ione - 95 miles - Past Gabbs Valley. Minerals found - Opalite, Leaf Imprints in Diatomaceous Earth.
Jasper Mountain - 105 miles - Turn North at Blair Junction, go to Gilbert, go past Devils Post Pile, past two stone chimneys. Minerals found - Monte Cristo Agate, Variscite, Agate.
Candelaria - 105 miles - Turn West at Blair Junction, past old cemetery to Pick Handle Gulch to Columbus Salt Marsh. Minerals found - Mexican Blue Agate.
East and Northeast of Big Pine
Bristlecone Road - 13 miles - Turn East on Hwy. 168, watch for signs, turn North, go to end of road. Minerals found - Flourite with Muscovite, Mica, Dolomite, Coral-like fossils.
Silver Canyon - 20 miles - Through Bishop, past Laws into White Mountains. Minerals found - Quartz crystals, Garnets.
Poleta Canyon - 20 miles - Turn East on Line St. in Bishop. Minerals found - Calcite.
Black Rock Canyon - 22 miles - Turn East on Line St. Minerals found - Slate.
Deep Springs - 25 miles - East on Hwy. 168, turn North at first cattle guard, 1/2 mile off hwy, then East 10 miles. Turn South at first cattle guard, go 18 miles. Minerals found - Smokey and Clear Crystals, Analcime, Epidote, Garnets, Calcite, Natorolite, Sulfur, Variscite, Clear Quartz.
Marble Canyon - 25 miles - Turn East on Hwy. 168, South on Saline Valley road, watch for signs. Minerals found - Gold Nuggets, Fluorite.
Eureka Valley - 30 miles - Hwy. 168 to Death Valley Rd. Minerals found - Sulfur Ore.
Saline Valley - 35 miles East from Death Valley Rd. Minerals found - Quartz Crystals.
Fish Lake Valley - 50 miles - Over Westguard Pass. Minerals found - Petrified Wood, Apache Tears, Fossils, Agate, Red Cinnabar.
Lida - 60 miles - Over Westguard Pass. Minerals found - Quartz Crystals.
West and Northwest from Hwy. 395
Coyote Hills - 10 miles. Minerals found - Garnets, Green Epidote.
Red Hill Road - 20 miles West on Line St., Bishop. Minerals found - Red Cinder.
Tungsten Hills - 20 miles - West on Line St., Bishop. Minerals found - Garnets, Quartz.
Bishop Creek - 25 miles - West on Line St. in Bishop. Minerals found - Tourmaline.
Buttermilk - 25 miles - West on Line St. in Bishop, Near Mt. Tom. Minerals found - Amethyst Crystals, Clear Quartz, Limonite.
Long Lake - 40 miles - West on Line St. in Bishop to South Lake, hike 2 miles to Chocolate Peak. Minerals found - Cabalite.
South along Hwy. 395
Independence - 25 miles - East on Colosuim Rd. , 3 miles, follow power lines 5 miles, South 2 miles to Crystal Ridge, continue into Inyo Mountains. Minerals found - Clear and Smokey Quartz, Amethyst with red tint, Hematite, Snail Fossils.
Kearsarge - 35 miles - Turn West on Market St. in Independence. Minerals found - Wulfenite, Jasper, Turquoise, Hematite.
Lone Pine - 45 miles - Turn East on road past railroad station, cross river, to next railroad, turn South 1/2 mile to Kern Knob Gem Valley. Minerals found - Crystals, Obsidian, Beryl, Orthoclase.
Mazourka Canyon - 45 miles - East on Mazuourka Canyon Rd. Many mines. Minerals found - Green Dendrite, Opalite.
Kennedy Meadows - 50 miles - Turn West at Lone Pine. Minerals found - Agate, Quartz.
Cerro Gordo - 60 miles - Turn East at Lone Pine to Keeler, into mountains. Minerals found - Gold, Silver, Amazonite, Opalite.
Owenyo - 60 miles - East of Lone Pine. Minerals found - Barite, Fossils, Pink Orthoclase.
Keeler - 60 miles - East of Lone Pine to Jackass, Dobbs and Goldbelt Springs. Minerals found - Azurite, Malechite, Galena, Anhydrite, Silver, Gold, Quartz, Chalcopyrite, Talc, Anglesite, Stibnite.
Darwin - 65 miles - Turn East at Lone Pine on Hwy. 136. Go 12 miles. Minerals found - Iceland Spar, Garnets, Wulfenite, Erussite.
Darwin Mines - 65 miles - Turn East on Hwy. 190 at Olancha, go 5 miles South to Ophir Mountain, many mine dumps. Minerals found - Scheelite, Pyrite, Iceland Spar, Silver. Over 60 minerals available.
Lee Mines 70 miles - Turn East on Hwy. 190 at Olancha, go 7 miles. Minerals found - Lazurite, Agate, Jasper, Chalcedomy, Obsidian.