Minerals of the Coyote Front Range
Bishop, Inyo County, California

About: Update (July 2007) - This location has been hit hard by collectors. Although you may find some garnets in the dump or in place it requires nerves of steel to dig them. You need a hardened chisel, eye protection and a sledge hammer to get them out. Typically you will end up dulling three or four chisels throughout the day due to the hardrock nature of this skarn deposit. Be willing to beat on the rock for awhile and break open unsuspecting large rocks because they have been know to yield some beautiful specimens. If you hike the hills to the east and south of this deposit you can fins some schorl, epidote, opal and to the west on a steep slope some pumpkin pie colored agate.

This is the best garnet locality in the western USA as far as I am concerned. Some collectors may disagree but this locality is famous for its lustrous, glossy faced orange/brown grossular garnets, dull green epidote crystals in calcite, and rectangular brown diopside crystals. These can be found in the hills to the south and northwest of Bishop. The entire area around Bishop is loaded with tactite zones which are known deposits for tungsten minerals. Some of the best crystal and matrix specimens that I have collected from here are shown in the pictures below. The largest single crystal specimen is 3 inches across each way with shiny, lustrous faces. I have also collected fine clusters in matrix with the largest specimen about 12 inches by 8 inches. The locality is not easy to work in general and the best garnets are wrestled from the ground thru shear will and determination with a 5 lb sledgehammer and thin bladed chisel. A thin, long shank screwdriver is also useful here. The garnets here are very well formed and the best are found in calcite pods. The color is similar to garnets at Vesper Peak in Washington state, the Eden Mills garnets in Vermont and the John Mansville Mine (closed) in Canada famous for its beautiful cinnamon colored garnets. Harvey Gordon, John Seibel and many others have dug this locality over the years. The prize specimens have the rare tetrahexahedral habit which forms a point which obviously doesnt happen with octahedral garnets. These are spectacular specimens and enhance any collection. If interested please email us and we will do our best to help you with specimens. I have collected here for over 15 years off and on as well as many other localities in the Owens Valley.

Go to the Commercial Portal to see some of these garnets for sale to add to your own collection. Click here to get there.....

Spectacular view of Inyo Mtns from the collecting site.
View of the main bench that has been worked for decades.
View of side of the hill - notice slope.
A friend digging in the bench...
More digging on the bench.
Truck parked at top of steep hill southwest of dig area.

Garnets of the Coyote Front Range

Garnet (2 inches max)
Garnet Matrix Specimen (7 inches max) Click photo for actual size.
Garnet Single (1 inch max)
Garnet Cluster (4 inches max)
Garnet Single (1 inch max)
Garnet Single (2.5 inches max)
Garnet Matrix (3 inches max)
Garnet Matrix (12 inches max) Click photo for full size specimen.
To find out more specifics about what was found in these areas to start a collection
or to possibly collect you might want to sign up for the Minerals of California Online
Database. Click here to sign up.

Return to Home Page