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Chehalis Red

By Jeff Lane

Out on the coast at Ocean Shores there is a rare, deep red translucent agate known as "Chehalis Red" by local collectors. Many mineral hobbyists have combed the river looking for a source of this beautiful stone-- but they don't find it. I believe the agates are weathering out of an underground or underwater deposit in Grays Harbor, not in the Chehalis upriver. They are of such fine quality they are used in necklaces, rings, cabechon mounts or to tumble.
They are usually covered with a darker red coat so you may want to use a small light to shine through the specimen to insure you've really found a "red". They are found from pea sized on up to baseball sized chunks.
It may take several hours of intense searching to bring one of these exceptional stones out, but it is definitely worth it. To reach the best search site, drive to the Ocean Shores Marina. About 300 yards past the marina on the same side of the road is a pitted gravel road that leads to a blue, locked gate. From here you must walk.
Follow the road southeast until you reach the water. It will take a half-hour to 45 minutes to get to the right area. You should plan to arrive at high tide and work your way out as the water recedes. This way, you'll be covering the ground as the stones are still wet and may show their bright colors.
Stay off the higher sand spits and dunes nearby as this is the Oyhut Wildlife Area and birds are nesting there most of the spring and summer.Stay near tidewater and work your way around the big spit. You'll come out within sight of your vehicle.

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