Rock Discoveries

Unearthing Thundereggs and Agate in Little Naches/Quartz Creek: A Rockhounders’ Guide

Rockhounding in Little Naches/Quartz Creek: Finding Thundereggs and Agate

Rockhounding enthusiasts looking for unique and beautiful rock specimens should consider visiting the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area in Washington state. This region offers an exciting opportunity to find Thundereggs, a variety of agate found in volcanic rock formations, and other precious stones.

If you’re planning a rockhounding trip to this area, this article will provide essential information about how to access the dig site, the distance and difficulty of getting there, and coordinates accuracy.

Thundereggs as a Primary Attraction

The Little Naches/Quartz Creek area is famous for its Thundereggs, which are distinguished by their spherical shape and banded or crystalline internal structure. These unique agates are formed by volcanic eruptions where gas bubbles were trapped within lava flows.

As the volcanic material cooled, mineral-rich solutions filled the cavities, forming agates. Today, Thundereggs can be found in the same locations where volcanic eruptions took place.

Collecting Agate as an Alternative

If you can’t find Thundereggs in the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area, you can always collect agate, which can be found throughout the region. Depending on their location, agates can come in various sizes and colors, including blue, pink, white, and brown.

Agate is a highly sought after rock due to its translucent beauty, and it is also commonly used in jewelry-making. If you’re lucky, you may even come across some rare and valuable specimens that have formed in distinctive geologic features.

Accessing the Dig Site

Once you’ve decided to explore the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area, you’ll need to know how to access the dig site. The first thing to consider is the distance and difficulty of getting there.

Distance and Difficulty of Hike to the Site

The Little Naches/Quartz Creek area is remote and inaccessible by vehicle, which means you’ll have to hike to reach the dig site. The closest town to the area is Yakima, which is approximately 45 miles west of the site.

From there, you’ll have to drive east on Highway 410 to Forest Road 1906, head south, and continue on Forest Road 1900 until you reach the trailhead.

The hike from the trailhead to the dig site is approximately three miles.

The trail is moderately difficult, with several steep uphill sections that require adequate fitness and hiking experience. Additionally, the trail is not accessible during the winter months, and adjacent roads may also be closed due to snow.

It’s always important to check current road and trail conditions before making the journey.

Important Note about Incorrect Coordinates

It’s crucial to emphasize that some online resources may provide incorrect coordinates for the dig site. This can lead to confusion and even potentially dangerous situations on the hike.

Before setting out on the trail, be sure to verify coordinates with reliable sources, such as the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).


If you’re looking for an exciting rockhounding experience, exploring the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area is sure to deliver. With Thundereggs and a variety of agate specimens to collect, the possibilities are endless.

Although the hike and trail to the dig site can be challenging, the beautiful landscape around you will make it all worthwhile. Whether you’re new to rockhounding or an experienced hobbyist, venturing out into this exciting new frontier is sure to be an unforgettable adventure.

Recommended Equipment for Rockhounding

Once you’ve decided to explore the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area, you’ll need to equip yourself with the right gear and tools for rockhounding. While you don’t need to go overboard with expensive equipment, having the basic essentials can help make your trip more efficient and enjoyable.

Basic Equipment for Rockhounding

One of the most essential tools for rockhounding is a good quality rock hammer. A rock hammer is specially designed to break rocks and cut through hard materials quickly and efficiently.

It’s an essential tool for breaking open rock formations and collecting samples. Another useful tool to bring is a sturdy backpack.

A backpack allows you to carry your gear, water, snacks, and the rocks you collect with ease.

You’ll also need a few other items, including a geological hammer to split rocks and pry them apart, a hand lens for studying specimens in greater detail, a chisel, and a sturdy shovel for digging in the soil.

Thick gloves protect your hands from sharp edges and provides a comfortable grip on your equipment. Don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather, with layered clothing, sturdy hiking boots, and a hat for sun protection.

Dig Site Tips

If you’re heading to the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area for rockhounding, you’ll want to know how to find the best spot to dig and locate the clay layer where Thundereggs can be found.

Finding the Best Spot to Dig

The Little Naches/Quartz Creek area is massive, and the rocks are spread out all over the place. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, try focusing on certain areas for spotting rocks.

Rock formations such as cliffs, boulders, and outcroppings can be perfect places to find a treasure trove of rocks. Also, keep an eye out for areas where erosion has worn away parts of the landscape, revealing new rocks previously concealed beneath the surface.

Once you’ve identified an area with promising rock formations, it’s time to start digging. Look for areas with loose soil first, as it is easier to dig through.

Shovel lightly and check your hole for rocks frequently, so you don’t break anything at the bottom.

Locating the Clay Layer and Thundereggs

Once you’ve found a promising digging spot, it’s time to locate the clay layer where Thundereggs are found. This layer is usually buried beneath several feet of dirt, so you’ll need to dig down until you reach it.

The clay layer may not always be in every part of a site, so keep an eye out for white, waxy deposits on the surface; this could indicate that you’re close to the clay layer. Also, look for areas of hard clay where Thundereggs may have become trapped.

When you finally reach the clay layer, keep looking for small holes or pockets in the layer where Thundereggs could be hiding. Use your hammer and chisel to break away at the clay layer, revealing any potential deposit.

Keep in mind that Thundereggs found in the clay layer are often embedded in hard rock, so use your hammer and chisel to carefully remove them.


Rockhounding in the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area can be a rewarding and exciting experience. Armed with the right equipment and a few tips, you can explore the area and discover some beautiful and unique rock specimens.

Remember to focus on certain areas for your search and keep an eye out for rock formations, loose soil, and areas of erosion. When you locate the clay layer, keep searching for small pockets where Thundereggs may be hiding, and use your equipment to break away any hard rock where they may be embedded.

Final Thoughts

If you’re an avid rockhound, you already know how enjoyable it is to explore the natural beauty of quartz formations. But if you haven’t visited the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area, then you’re in for a treat.

Here are a few final thoughts that highlight the beauty of Thundereggs found in Quartz Creek and a reminder about the importance of verifying site coordinates.

Beauty of the Thundereggs Found in Quartz Creek

Thundereggs are one of the most striking and beautiful mineral specimens to be found in the Quartz Creek area. These spherical agates are prized for their vibrant colors, intricate banding patterns, and intricate crystal formations.

The intense colors found in Thundereggs can include reds, yellows, greens, blues, pinks, and browns. The different colors and patterns are due to the mineral content and the conditions under which the agates formed.

Thundereggs are the most commonly found agate in the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area. The deposits in this region are renowned for their mineral richness, which provides the colors and patterns that make them so distinctive and sought after by collectors.

The Thundereggs found in this area are second to none and are considered some of the finest specimens in the world. It’s not just the Thundereggs that make the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area beautiful.

You’ll also be surrounded by scenic views, nature trails, and other activities to enjoy. The area’s breathtaking landscape is characterized by mountains, trees, wildlife, and clean air, making it the perfect environment for a day-long trip or a weekend getaway.

Summary and Reminder of the Inaccurate Coordinates

Finally, it’s essential to reiterate the importance of checking the site coordinates before embarking on your rockhounding adventure. Inaccurate coordinates can lead to confusion and frustration as you may not find the right digging sites, or worst, you could end up in unsafe areas.

Several online and guidebook resources offer outdated or incorrect coordinates for digital maps that may be missing some of the critical information. As such, it is of utmost importance to cross-check your coordinates with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and other reliable sources.

Before you head out, ensure to have your GPS or phone charged and ready and obtain the most recent and updated coordinates from verified and reliable sources. This will save you time and unnecessary hassle, ensuring you have a safe and enjoyable experience.


Rockhounding is one of the most satisfying and rewarding hobbies, offering the thrill of discovery and providing an opportunity to experience the beauty and wonder of nature. Visiting the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area is an excellent way to enjoy rockhounding, learn about the geological history of the area, and appreciate the natural beauty that this region has to offer.

So, if you’re already a rockhound or curious about trying it out, consider exploring the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area for a truly unforgettable experience. With the right equipment, a few tips, and accurate coordinates, you can explore the incredible world of rock collecting and discover some of the most beautiful rock specimens in the world.

In conclusion, rockhounding in the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area offers a unique opportunity to explore the beauty of Thundereggs and other precious stones while enjoying the stunning natural landscape of Washington state. By following these tips on equipment, accessing the dig site, and locating the clay layer, you can make the most of your rockhounding adventure.

As a reminder, be sure to check the accuracy of coordinates before embarking on your trip, to ensure your safety and a successful trip. Here are some FAQs to help you prepare for your next rockhounding adventure:

– What is the Little Naches/Quartz Creek area known for in terms of rockhounding?

The area is known for Thundereggs and other agates, which can come in various sizes and colors. – What basic equipment do I need for rockhounding in this area?

You’ll need a rock hammer, backpack, geological hammer, hand lens, chisel, shovel, thick gloves, and appropriate clothing and footwear. – What should I keep in mind when selecting a spot to dig?

Look for promising rock formations, areas with loose soil, and spots of erosion that may have exposed rocks. – How do I locate the clay layer and Thundereggs?

Dig down until you reach the clay layer, look for small pockets where Thundereggs may be hiding, and use your equipment to break away any hard rock where they may be embedded. – Why is it essential to verify site coordinates?

Inaccurate coordinates can lead to confusion and safety concerns, so always cross-check when planning your trip.

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