Frequently Asked Questions

We provide a large shaded pavilion with a water mist cooling system and picnic tables. There is a gas grill that can be used by our guests on a first come, first served basis, and faucets for water and/or washing up after the dig. There are very nice modern bathroom facilities on site as well. The dig is off of a dirt road. While you do not need a 4WD vehicle, you should also not bring a car with low clearance, such as a sports car. A typical family car is fine, but expect to get it a little dusty !
If you need to change / modify / cancel your EXISTING reservation. Please fill out the form at: You must fill in this form so we can have all the proper information.
The rates are as follows: See booking Calendar for current rates!
All information about the dig is available in this packet or on our website. In an emergency or if you absolutely have to contact us Call or Text: Please see if your question is answered in this packet before contacting us. Our cell coverage is spotty on the mountain and we might miss your message. Thursdays & Saturdays: Lauren Baker is your host 858-722-6482 | Sundays: Jeff Swanger is your host 760-415-9143
We provide everything you need for an enjoyable and successful gem dig. You will have a table with buckets, screens to sort your gravel, water to wash the gravel, and of course lots of rich muck from the mines ! Each table also has brushes for scrubbing your specimens and trowels to help you sort and screen your gravel. In addition to the fee dig, we provide a tour of Chief Mountain on our 4WD buggies. You don’t need anything for the ride-just be ready when its your turn. You’ll see multiple mine tunnels, and get spectacular views of the San Luis Rey Valley and nearby mines such as the Tourmaline Queen and Stewart Mines.
You need to bring a copy of the release of liability form for each person attending the dig, and exact cash for your fee. Unfortunately, due to the remote location we can’t take checks or credit cards on site at this point. Please bring plenty of water and any food that you will want. We suggest that you bring something for shade if its going to be hot; a beach umbrella works well but please bring some rope or tie downs to secure your umbrella as it can be windy on the top of Chief Mountain. You should bring either small plastic containers or zip lock baggies to hold your finds. You can take home one bucket of washed gravel/rocks, so if you want to take any gravel home you should bring a bucket as well.
You should wear regular shoes—no sandals, please ! Be prepared to get dirty, so you might want to bring a change of clothes; you can change in the bathrooms when you’re done digging. We strongly recommend that you use ample sunscreen and bring a hat and sunglasses. To protect your hands from sharp rocks and the water. You may wan to bring gardening type gloves for hand protection.
For Ocean View Mine: We’re typically open Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. We occasionally add special days, like Memorial Day, Labor Day and others. We announce these on our Facebook page. Check calendar on the desired mine page. For PalaChief Mine: WE ARE OPEN SUNDAYS ONLY EVERY OTHER SUNDAY. Check the calendar for specific days.
Please check the local forecast for Pala, CA and plan your visit accordingly. We are typically open rain or shine. If for some reason we close because of extreme weather or another act of God please review the yellow box on our website or follow us on Facebook. We will post information on those two sites. Please check our Facebook page for up to date information: . We will try to contact you by text and email. Please make sure to check them before leaving to the mine.
For the Pala Chief mine NO! For Ocean View Mine: Yes, we do have some group discounts. Please use the “Contact Us” form on our website to email us about this. Please provide details about your group when you contact us. (see what does the dig cost).
For the Pala Chief mine NO! For Ocean View Mine: (ONLY for organized groups of 20+ members) Yes, we do have a discount program for School, Church, Scouts, ETC (more than 20 people). If you want to bring a troop or group.
Note: This is for groups for ONLY 20 or more.
For Booking Thursday or Saturday Group Packages Call/Text Lauren: 885-722-6482
For Booking Sunday or OTHER Day Arrangements Call/Text Jeff: 760-415-9143
We are located just east of the town of Pala, California, in San Diego County. We don’t give a precise location until you make a reservation. We’re also only open a few days of the week, and because we’re an active mine we can’t have people showing up when the public dig is closed. Upon making the reservation a precise map will be sent to you with other important information.
For the Pala Chief mine – the arrival date is 7:30am – sharp. For Ocean View Mine: The gate opens at 9:30 am – sharp. If you arrive late, you may miss the dig, as we typically close the gate shortly after that time. If you are going to be late please call us and confirm that would be ok.
We have the details on this on the “All About the Dig” page on However, in short, we suggest plenty of water, sunscreen, gardening gloves (preferably with rubber or nitrile-coated fingers and palms), some ziplock baggies or containers for your gems and lunch. We provide the rest. Make sure you have your liability release forms and VIP packet with you for the dig.
No, unfortunately due to liability issues and insurance we can’t allow pets. We do have a dog that is very territorial with other pets. Please NO pets. Thank you.
For the PalaChief mine: Yes, TWO 5-gallon bucket worth (not supplied) of stones/gravel that you have collected. screened and washed. For Ocean View Mine: Yes, One 5-gallon bucket worth (not supplied) of stones/gravel that you have screened and washed.
NO! That’s the wonderful thing–you can keep anything you find. We’ve had people find gems worth many of thousands of dollars on the pile, and all it costs you is the base fee for the dig.
IMPORTANT NOTES: * We accept only CASH at the mine. No credit cards. * No “lookers”. All reservations must be PAYED. We consider everyone though the gate a paid participant. If you come though the gate you must pay to dig. * NO PETS PERIOD FOR INSURANCE REASONS. THIS IS NOT NEGOTIABLE. PLEASE DON’T RESERVE WITH THIS INTENT. * Anyone 12 years of age and older is considered an adult. Younger than 12 are allowed, but PLEASE watch your children and obey all rules. * Infants (1-4 years old) are no charge and adult SUPERVISION is required for all children (<12 years old) Kids 5-11 see calendar for rates. * We are OPEN on listed days ONLY pending weather. * Bring proper clothing for outdoors. Click main page weather link to check weather.
We have 2 distinct digs. One for Ocean View Mine and one for Pala Chief mine. Make sure you know which dig you have signed up for.