|The desert surrounding Blythe and
the Palo Verde Valley in which it is located, is called the
“Colorado Desert”. All areas are easily accessible with a
pickup, and many places can be reached in the family car. A
brief description is given here about several popular
locations, and additional information is available through
The Blythe Area Chamber of Commerce.
- Are Giant Figures, known to archeologists as
Intaglios, pronounced "In-tal-yos", an Italian term
which refers to an engraving art process, are located 15
miles North of Blythe on Highway 95. More Information
- Location: 26 miles southwest of Blythe. West on I-10
approximately 17 miles to Wiley Well Road and Rest Area,
then south 9 miles on well-maintained road to Wiley
Well. This is the most popular collecting area in the
Colorado Desert. Areas called Potato Patch, Cinnamon
Beds and Hauser Beds are some of the many sites where
seam agate, large geodes containing calcite crystals;
nodule (deep blue) beds and more are located. Collecting
is free and the Bureau of Land Management maintains
several excellent campgrounds.
Little Chuckawalla Mountains
- Location: 40 miles west of Blythe and south off
Interstate 10 at Desert Center.
Material: Geodes in deep rich blue, lavender, pink and
tan, banded with turtleback agate and fortification
moss, as well as chalcedony amygdales, rhombs, jaspagate
Good level desert campsites but no water and limited
River Terrace Agate, Wood & Jasper
- Location: 20 miles south of Blythe on State Highway 78.
In times past, the Colorado River cut many channels
across the desert. Logs of petrified wood and other
gemstone material were swept away from their source in
Arizona, Utah and other places to the north. Crushed in
their violent journey to the south, many finally ended
up as huge piles of rock we call terraces.
Material: Fine quality agate, jasper and petrified wood.
Two of these locations are close to Blythe. Both are
easily reached in a pickup truck. The Palo Verde Terrace
is okay for passenger cars.
- Location: 25 miles south of Blythe on State Highway 78.
Material: Geodes, agate, petrified wood, chalcedony
roses and mineral specimens. This area is also easy to
reach. Just park your vehicle off the road at any of the
places available and hike. A good place to start is
about 5 ½ miles south of Palo Verde on State Highway 78.
This is a large area and contains many different types
of interesting things to collect. Selenite (blades
tipped with white) as well as clear pieces can be found
in some of the canyons. Clam shells are occasionally
found that indicate the area at one time was a lake of
- Location: 25 miles south of Blythe, 18 miles south of
Palo Verde on the Ben Hulse Highway (State Highway 78).
This is a wild and beautiful region in the southeast
corner of our desert.
Material: Paleozoic coral, agate, jasper, petrified
wood, geodes, nodules, chalcedony, palm root,
dumortierite, to name a few. Camping is open desert, no
facilities, water or wood.
- Location: 50 miles north of Blythe. Several roads lead
into the badlands, and while okay for a trailer,
sections crossing washes may require some shovel work to
make them passable.
Material: Red, Yellow, Green, and Brown Jasper,
Jaspagate, banded agate and chert. Camping is open
desert, no facilities, water or wood.
- Location: Some 30 miles northwest of Blythe. The
Arlington Mine has been idle for many years. It is
actually a district composed of a number of mining
claims which were most active during World Wars I and
II. Manganese was the ore mineral. U.S. Gypsum’s Midland
Plant is located north in the Little Maria Mountains.
Material: botryoidal psilomelane, cabachons.
Camping is open desert, no facilities or water, some
wood in the washes.
Opal Hill Mine
- Location: 25 –30 miles south of Blythe.
The Opal Hill Mine is a private claim and the only site
in California where high quality fire agate is found.
For those who prefer to acquire their fire agate with no
exertion whatsoever, nicely finished and polished pieces
are sold at the mine for very reasonable prices. Digging
fees are subject to change. Bring your own food, water
There are too many rock hounding sites in our Colorado
Desert to list here. The Blythe Area Chamber of Commerce
has more detailed information and maps available to the
rock hounder, hiker or desert camper.
NOTE: Some areas of the desert have been closed to
visitors. Check with the local Bureau of Land Management
Office before proceeding.