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(19 April 2014)  My name is Tim Bondy and the owner of this website.  As of Jan 1st, 2014 we moved to a different domain.  Please head over to the Bondy Blogs Website at http://bondyblogs.com  Different address, different system but same type of great articles, photos, stories and information. 

 
You are here: Mtn Home Outdoor Not so local Outdoor News Idaho and Oregon Rock Hound Day

Idaho and Oregon Rock Hound Day

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Saturday June 19th, 2010 was our rock hounding day for this weekend.  Our travels took us out to Sommer Camp Road south of Marsing, Idaho for some opal hunting and then toward Oregon.  There are a few places off Highway 95 that you can find some fossilized plants and some unusual jasper right along the Oregon border.  And Succor Creek State Park in Oregon is a place to find thunder eggs and other cool rocks so we also headed in that direction.

Sommer Camp Road near Marsing Idaho rock hounding

Sommer Camp Road Rock Hounding
There is some information out there that pointed us towards two specific places on Sommer Camp Road for opal, jasper and agates.  We plotted the places in our GPS unit and easily found the road and the exact coordinates for these Idaho gems and rock.  But just because you find someones coordinates doesn't mean you'll find the rocks or even the correct spot.

The first place is a road cut  that resulted in dirty shoes, dirty rock hammers and just few poor specimens of opal and agate.  So we moved on to the second point on Sommer Camp where we found some interesting agatized rocks and opal.   We later discovered we were is the right area but just the wrong spot.  We came home with a a few pounds of cool looking rocks that will need to worked over with some power tools and the tender loving touch of a big hammer to fully realize what we found along Sommer Camp Road.  

My take on rock hounding these types of places is it may be better to find an area of public land and just set off and look around.  Owyhee County is a big place filled with many surprises and I'm sure there are tons of locations to find sparkly and bejeweled rocks.  Sommer Camp just isn't a scenic place, there is private property in places and standing next to a road or with 15 feet of one makes me feel exposed and uncomfortable.  I like the sensation of discovering new “off the beaten path with grand views” places you can easily find in and around the Owyhee Mountains.  Your mileage, rock hound enjoyment and luck may differ though.  

Windy Ridge Jasper Access Road

Places Along Highway 95
We really don't have much interest in the whole “fossilized plant” rock hounding thing so when it came time to pull off the road, we slowed down slightly, looked the place over and both said, “Nay...maybe some other day”.  The one place we were looking forward to was the Windy Ridge Jasper place located close to the Oregon / Idaho border but about 5 miles down a lonely dirt road.  We headed down the unnamed road that progressive got more rough and rutted to the point we became uncomfortable.  We ended up less than “one dirt road mile” from the place before we turned around.   Yes, we could have walked the rest of the way but there was no guarantee there would be a windy ridge or any jasper so with tail tucked between our legs we retreated to better roads and the State of Oregon.

Succor Creek Oregon views

Succor Creek State Park
So, we've been told that thunder eggs and other cool rock pretty much jump into your rock bag at Succor Creek.  We were pretty excited as we headed up the 20+ miles of rather good gravel road to this little known State Park.  The first half of this road was rather bland with just rolling hills along both sides.  But as we approached Succor Creek, the scenery improved immensely.  This is canyonland and you get to drive into the Succor Creek Canyon.  The hills became bigger, grass greener and the countryside was, at times, awe inspiring.  This park really isn't anything special when it comes to amenities but the scenery certainly makes up for the lack of “things”.   There are a few semi-primitive camp grounds along Succor Creek but that is about all.

As far as the aforementioned thunder eggs jumping into our rock bags?  Well, that story might have it origins based in some kind of truth but...In reality we were hoping to find some people out in a field digging around but didn't see anyone that looked like a rock hounds.  In short we didn't find any thunder eggs.  That was kind of disappointing but the scenery of this area more than made up for the lack of jumping rocks.  We know there are great places to hunt thunder eggs out at Succor Creek so don't let this review stop you from heading out there.  As a matter of fact, I highly encourage you to go there...you won't be sorry AT ALL.

Link to this trip's photo album.

Link to a 14 picture, 220 degree panoramic picture of the Succor Creek Canyon


Thanks for visiting and commenting on this outdoor article.


Tim Bondy
The Bondyweb.Com author

Comments (7)
  • Anonymous  - Thunder eggs at succor creek

    At Succor creek park, cross the footbridge over the creek and walk up to the basalt cliffs. It's a little hike but it's steep, so watch your step and watch for rattle snakes. When you get up to the cliffs, look at the hundreds/thousands of nodules still in the cliff walls. You can't collect the thunder eggs on park land so these are off limits and you would need to pick them out anyway. To find thundereggs, you'll need to go outside of the park bounderies. I believe there is a map showing you the bounderies at the site. We've found several in this area. Succor creek, mcbride creek, Owyhee MTns - all great rockhounding spots.

  • Tim Bondy the Admin

    Thanks for the info on Succor Creek. I was unaware collecting thundereggs in the Park was illegal. The drive out there is a long drive for me as we live in Mountain Home so it may be a while before we head out there again. We certainly do love the Owyhee's as a rock hounding destination.


    My opinion is the further west you head in the Owyhee Mountains the better the rocks??? And of course there is the minor problems of rattlesnakes so we tend to shy away from the Owyhee's during the warm months.


    I heard of McBride Creek somewhere deep in the dark recesses of my mind so I will research this area too.


    Thanks Again who ever you are :-)

  • Rockhound  - Succor creek park

    Yes, it is illegal to collect eggs in the park. We found out by trekking all the way to the park and reading about no collecting on their billboard at the park. Almost any state map (and Google/mapquest) shows the bounderies quite nicely and there is a sign at the north entrance marking the north boundery at the road in.
    We did find some rather nice eggs just north of the border on teh creek (we stopped to wet the kids and the dogs), but we also found a nice big rattlesnake too!
    Considering that overall thunderggs are getting pretty hard to find these days, the area around succor creek is one of the best today.

  • Edward C. Hartman  - Ed

    Today, 3/2/12, my "Idaho cousin" told me there is a small creek near the junction of U.S.95 and Sommer Camp Road. I wonder if you might have seen that creek during your Succor Creek/U.S. 95 trip?

  • Tim Bondy the Admin

    Edward: I know I was looking for the Squaw Creek area. There has been a lot of prospects in that area. But as far as finding a small creek in that area in June of 2010? Sorry but my memory isn't quite that good.

    What is your question or concern about this creek?

  • Ron Van Hook  - succor creek

    Went to succor creek area over thanksgiving holiday. Was looking specifically for the succor creek Jasper but found none of the quality pieces. We did find a couple nice pieces of mix reds jaspers, a lower quality piece of opal and some petrified wood.
    There were 2 mine shafts we climbed up to. Only went back 20 feet or so. With all the green material, we guessed at the shafts being test holes for copper. Can anyone verify what this material is?

  • y levenberg

    hi I'm looking for small rattling geodes, do you know where I can obtain some from
    Thanks

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