Guide and Directory to High Desert Entertainment, Events, and Recreation
 Home   Entertainment   Events   Recreation   FAQs   Contact   About 

Rosamond-Gem Hill

Although this area has been a popular one for many years, a trip here always yields some material, and when you find a good piece of agate or wood, it makes the trip doubly worthwhile. On one trip here, a gorgeous amethyst geode was dug up by yours truly which measured 7" x 5". The amethyst crystals were surrounded by blue banded agate.

Type of material found

  1. Petrified Wood
  2. Jasp-Agate
  3. Green Opal
  4. Blue Agate
  5. Dendritic agate nodules in basalt

Description of material

Petrified Wood. Brownish-gray exterior giving a rather chalky appearance. White, cream, and brown are the most predominat colors. Fairly good display of wood grain on broken surfaces. Digging is required for this material. Good for tumbling and cabbing.

Jasp-agate. Weathered green outside surface. Yellow and green streamers of jasper running through the agate remind one of moss agate. Found mostly in float. Excellent for tumbling and cabs.

Green Opal. This material occurs in a vein. Much work has occurred here and the diggings are now beginning to undermine the road. The opal takes a good polish and makes up into attractive cabs and jewelry. Also suitable for tumbling.

Blue Agate. Very nice quality light blue agate occurring in vein. Hard digging is required to recover the material. This agate is quite hard and solid, and therefore is excellent for polishing.

Look for the agate nodules protruding from the numerous basalt boulders (black, blocky). When many of these nodules are held against a grinding wheel and their outer surface removed, large, beautiful brown dendrites are exposed.

Equipment needed

Rock pick and shovel. Sledge hammer and chisels for the green opal and blue agate.

How to get there

Go north on Highway 14 passing through Palmdale and Lancaster. Continue 11 miles to Rosamond/Edwards A.F.B. exit. Turn left on Rosamond Blvd. and proceed 3.6 miles to turnoff marked by sign Tropico Gold Mine. (Nearly opposite 55th St West.) Turn right here for .8 mile to entrance to Burton's Tropico Gold Mine. (Don't bother stopping. Several years ago the insurance rates in California went out of sight causing the mine tours to stop. The current residents at the mine don't like uninvited visitors and do not hesitate to call the Sheriff.) This can prove to be an interesting side trip. Tours are offered of a gold mine which was in operation untill 1958, when it was costing nearly $35 per ounce (the price of gold) to reclaim the gold from the ore. All the mine and processing equipment is still intact and you can tour the mine tunnel, see the "glory hole" and all the machinery used to extract the gold from the ore and make it into gold bullion bars.

From the (Mojave-)Tropico, continue on paved road to top of gentle rise. When you reach here, continue on a ways keeping alert for a well traveled dirt road heading due west (to left). This will be 4.7 miles from Rosamond Blvd. (This is the first good dirt road after the low pass opening onto the flat lands.) This road is sometimes marked "Gem Hill Road," and sometimes the signs are down. Follow Gem Hill Road .7 mile, turn left and proceed toward hills. Go approximately .3 mile up the road and park, as the road becomes quite rough farther on. Walk up the road to the green opal vein on right. The road continues to the top of the hill where you will find the blue agate vein. The agate-nodule-bearing basalt may be found all around the top of this hill. The petrified wood occurs in the hills to the east, past the road's end. Jasp-agate is found in float over the entire area.

Gem Hill

Permission for content use granted by Glenn Olson


Please read our Privacy Policy and Legal Disclaimer & Copyright Notice: Copyright©2001 by High Desert Insider