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Redrock Canyon Opal

Flashy green and redfire opal occurs here in a great basalt flow. Although the opals are fairly small, they can be cut into excellent cabochons and fashioned into striking jewelry creations. This is the best fire opal location we are aware of in Southern California and it is relatively close to Los Angeles.


Update provided by Yvonne Heuston
State Park Ranger

California Code of Regulations, Title 14 Natural Resources, Division 3. Department of Parks and Recreation
4307 Geological Features
(a) No person shall destroy, disturb, mutilate, or remove earth, sand, gravel, oil, minerals, rocks, paloentological features, or features of caves.
(b) Rockhounding may be permitted as defined in section 4301(v).
4301(v)Rock hounding is defined as being the recreational gathering of stones and minerals found occurring naturally on the undisturbed surface of the land, including panning for gold in the natural water washed gravel of streams.
As you can see there are two different ways a park can define the use of the land. Ours is in flux and the collecting area of Barnett's Opals was previously BLM property and is now state parks but with no general plan. Our Superintendent has determined at this time we will allow only a keep sake rock for the visitor until the General Plan is finished for this park. The plan is expected to be finished in 2009.
The defacement of rock formations with picks, shovels, stone cutters and such is not allowed.

Type of material found

Fire Opal (No collecting allowed, other than a single keepsake rock found on the surface... no digging.)

Description of material

Clear and semi-translucent fire opal up to 3/4" in diameter occuring in basalt. This opal gives an excellent color display and can be entirely separated from the basalt matrix with care and patience.

Equipment needed

Water and cameras recommended.

How to get there

To see the natural beauty of the area, from Mojave head north on Highway 14 past turnoff to Randsburg and Johannesburg and continue through the colorful, pinnacled formations of Red Rock Canyon. You may recall having seen this area in western movies as it has been used as a movie setting quite a bit. At 6.2 miles from Randsburg cutoff, you will note a narrow paved road on left, Abbott Dr., intersecting Highway 14. From here, continue 1.4 miles on Highway 14 and watch closely on right just after road widens to 4 lanes again for a dirt road going over curb to right. (If you reach Redrock Cyn. Rd., you have gone too far, turn around and go back .6 mile.) Turn here and follow this road .2 mile to well traveled dirt road on right. Take this road 1.6 miles down wash to junction with narrow road going up canyon on left. Follow this road up canyon and along top of ridge 1 mile to entrance to Cowdon-Nowak Mining Co. claim. Road continues .7 mile to diggings.
No collecting is allowed. Significant consequences may be incurred for violators.

Redrock Canyon Opal

Permission for content use granted by Glenn Olson


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