Description

Added by SARA DEAN

Located in Central Oregon, this is an amazing rockhounding spot for obsidian due to its history of volcanic eruption!

Glass Butte was amazing, yet difficult to get there. The best advice I have is to commit to the dirt road until it stops, which will take you to a fence line (you can go left or you can continue right to go up the mountain). That is where we camped, which toward the left is private property and you will start entering territory that locals own mining rights for agates (would not advise going through there as it is pretty protected with fencing, barbed wire, and state police) but to you right is the amazing glass butte! You can take up to 150-200lbs of obsidian but rest assured, you will WORK for it. 

Some helpful tips and information to be prepared:


1. This is as primitive as you can get. Be prepared with all of your essentials you would need to stay healthy while adventuring around. I would recommend avoiding food items that require crumbs (i.e., something like eggs) and stick to easy clean up items so you can keep your trash inside your vehicle to avoid attracting animals. 

2. There is some wildlife (Cows, bulls, and other critters) so I would not recommend bringing your fur babies on this trip based on that as well as the entire mountain and road being covered in glass fragments and it being a pretty steep incline. 

2. Do NOT attempt to drive up the mountain unless you have 4WD or AWD. I can promise you that you will get stuck and it is very dangerous. (The camping spot I explained/described is where we stayed and puts you right at the base of the mountain so there's no need to drive). 

3. I would also recommend making sure you have an emergency roadside kit, spare tire, etc. in case your tire pops or is sliced on any of the gradients or fragments in the road (its a rough road). 

3. It is HOT during the day and suppppper cold at night (we went in May) and ended up sleeping in the car. I would recommend packing light snacks, enough water in your bladder, and setting some sort of an alarm to remind you to take breaks and hydrate). 

Most importantly, I would come prepared with safety gear & appropriate rockhounding supplies:

1. Bucket with handle

2. Pick Axe

3. Crowbar 

4. Shovel (one that is handheld works but it needs to be durable so it doesn't snap)

5. Hiking boots, durable pants, and a hat 

6. Safety goggles

Lastly, I would do some research on the the types of obsidian you are looking for. There is an abundance of each; all of which have hybrid markings so it can be confusing but also disheartening if you are losing energy and motivation to differentiate. Here are some of the most common types we found (we were looking for auroras borealis "rainbow" obsidian): 

1. Rainbow- most rare, less common, toughest to find. One thing to keep in mind, when you break open the boulder, there will be what is known as an "impact fragment" and it is clear with rainbow colored hues- this is not rainbow obsidian but it is commonly confused since it is more rare. The photo above with the pink hue is what rainbow looks like (i.e., an aurora-like hue/wave) and can come in various colors or a mixture of colors (i.e., pink, blue, green, gold, silver). 

2. Snowflake- Typically black with white spots (kinda like if your car windows had little snowflakes on it with the black tinting being your background). 

3. Midnight Lace-  Can be a gray/brown (more brownish) white vertical black lines/stripes or black with silver wavy stripes (be careful not to get too excited and then disappointed when you realize it isn't rainbow- the latter of the two variations was less common so its still an awesome haul when you snag some!) 

4. Mahogany- This one looks like its name. It is everyyyywhere and we honestly got so sick of finding this one because it was like it took over the entire mountain! However, it is beautiful for gravestones, alters, and looks amazing in your fireplace or outdoor firepit :) 

Lastly, I want to make sure you all know that you will likely lose service before you make it off the highway to the mile marker turn point- I cant remember the website I found directions from but I happened to take a screenshot (I'm the planner and Alex is the rock guy) and your GPS (or google/Apple Maps) will likely take you to this little store to your right into the middle of grass field. This is not it. Keep going to the mile marker (I think its like 57 or something like that on your right, but it'll be the only mile marker for about 15 minutes past this store that has a small but abrupt dirt road turnoff and this is the road that you cruise along until you hit the fencing (the moment you start doubting if you should even be driving on this road because of how bad it is- that is when you know you're making your way to toward the base of the mountain!) 

I hope this offers some helpful tips, tricks, insight, and inspiration to head out to Central Oregon for some rocks! We had a great time and this was definitely one of our more work-intensive rockhounding trips (we stayed 3 nights and 2 full days). 

See you out there!

-Sara & Alex  

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