Free spots, totally barren with Mars-like landscape and no trees. You're completely exposed to the elements, though there are covered picnic tables and fire pits. Beware of the pit toilets since they are often home to black widows (not the Marvel superhero…sadly). Sunstones galore. Easy to pick up right at your camp site. Not far from some of the best sunstone mines in the world. No water. Be sure to bring all your supplies with you as the nearest stores is miles away. No hookups for trailers, though properly supplied and with decent clearance and spare tires for the gravel road, there is space to park them.
The sunstone is Oregon’s State rock. HERE AT THIS LOCATION YOU CAN COLLECT THEM FREE OF CHARGE - but don’t be greedy! They come in all shapes and sizes, but most are the size of a fingernail or baby’s tooth. You will need to drive out 45-90minutes on a gravel road to reach this location and it is truly out in Oregon’s Outback and will take a full day to reach your destination. FYI DO NOT PICK SUNSTONES UNTIL YOU REACH END-POINT. The surrounding land is not for public use. You will know you’re good to go and at the end-point when you see the photos below with the sign and camp site. It would be safer to Camp in an RV or car because of rattlesnakes and heat-exposure. We did not stay because of the poor air quality from summer fires nearby. There are wild antelope and rabbits in the area. Keep on the look out for wildlife on your drive! No shade is available except for the covered Camp spots. You will see the MANY Sunstones laying out on the ground, sparking in the sun, no need for digging which is quite fun. Sunstones are made from the minerals in the dried up/preserved lake in this area. Lake county is full of seasonal lakes is what we discovered on our road trip this summer…Good luck and have fun!
This remote campground is functional and practical. Bare bones with a few camp sites, a restroom, some covered picnic benches and a restroom. Bring your own water and plenty of it! It can be very windy here so make sure to stake down your tent well so it doesn't blow away! (We saw this happen to one gent. Glad he had some fear in it to keep it from flying too far).
There are many roads near by that lead out into the collection area. It takes your eyes a minute to see what you are looking for because sunstonea are so plentiful!
My tip: look for the reflections of the stones, catch a glint and go after it! There are thousands right under your nose and you don't necessarily have to dig to find them.Happy Rock Hounding!
The Campground: Oregon Sunstone Collection Area
Sunstones are the Oregon state gemstone, and out in the middle of the Oregon desert the Bureau of Land Management has set aside an amazing area where you can camp and rockhound for free. There's shade areas covering picnic tables, a pit toilet (filled with black widow spiders), and large camp sites with level gravel tent pads.
The campsite is amazing, yet remote. If it weren't for the black widow spiders in the pit toilet and lack of water, this site would easily rate a 5. As it was, we had an amazing time staying here for two nights, picking up sunstones everywhere as well as visiting a local "fee" mine called Pana Mine. Smallish sunstones are everywhere right on the surface. If you want to find larger sunstones or ones with unusual colors, local mines have several pricing options.
- Bring lots of water and everything you'll need for camping since the nearest town is about 25 miles away on rough dirt roads (food, sunscreen, extensive first-aid kits including snake bite kits). You'll also need to pack everything out, including your trash.
- Bring at least one very good spare tire and preferably two, or a spare plus a can of fix-a-flat.
- I had very limited cell phone service with Sprint. Other locations had a bit of service with Verizon, but definitely don't count on being able to get in touch with anyone.
- Print out a map of the area and directions from BLM before you go.
- In case of a medical emergency, most of the "fee mines" scattered throughout the area have good first-aid kits and ways to reach emergency personnel.
- There's no limit that I know of to the amount of sunstones you can pick up the in public collection area, but they can only be used for personal use (you can't sell or trade them).
Ranger Review: Oofos OOlala Sandal - Cloud White
I've been wearing my Oofos Flip Flops (OOlala Sandal - Cloud White) for several weeks now and I have nothing but good things to say about them. As a dyrt ranger, I was given a pair to review for free, and I was quite excited having heard such great things beforehand from other rangers. They definitely lived up to the hype. Super-comfy, thick soles that held up well even to rocks and hiking, and the ability to send them through the wash are all huge pluses in my book.
To truly put them to the test, however, I brought them with me to the suntone collection area near Plush, Oregon--an area in the middle of the Oregon desert literally covered with sharp glass-like rocks. I knew none of the other sandals or water shoes I had would hold up to all those rocks, and I was also dubious with the Oofos. After all, other flip-flops I've had in the past would always get rocks and thorns stuck in the bottom that would tear holes in them. After three days out in the desert however, I was thrilled to have my Oofos including the sole still looking like new. Definitely a 5/5 star review for my favorite new shoes.
Check out the video review to hear my sizing tips and the one suggestion I have to make them better.