We went searching for one of Washington’s greatest treasures hidden beneath the soil: Crystals. The Snoqualmie Batholith in the North Bend area has several crystal hunting zones where quartz crystal deposits are exposed due to uplift and erosion. Most of the crystals are on or just above the surface, so few tools are needed for beginners. We explored the Hansen Creek site, where we found a variety of quartz ranging in size, color, and shape. After a few hours we had dozens of crystals to show for it; crystal hunting is addicting! A bit further up the dirt road, we started at a trailhead that took us up to Scout Lake to camp for the night. In the morning we explored around the lake and found a spot to clean the crystals. Most of the crystals were covered in dirt and took a lot of cleaning, but once all the dirt was removed the hard work was worth it. This is one of the coolest places in Washington we have ever been and is an easy and fun way to get out of the city for an afternoon.
: Take I-90 E toward Snoqualmie Pass. Just before the Hyak exit, take exit 47 and follow NF-55 and NF-5510 to Hansen Creek. We recommend taking a car with some ground clearance or that can handle the primitive dirt road.
Turn right onto Asahel Curtis road then turn right onto Tinkham road and follow for about 1.5 miles. Turn left onto NF-5510 and stay left. Turn right onto Hansen Creek road and follow it up the switch backs. About half-way up the road, there is a turn off that is marked with big boulders. This is the spot. Walk the overgrown road for about a mile, then you will hit a trail that takes you back into the lower Hansen Creek site. The steep slope is where people hunt. To find more potential sites wander up the hill.
- Gardening shovel and rake
- Gardening pad for your knees
- Small bag or container for the crystals
- Clothes to get dirty
Photography & Story by Lauren Stelling