The Pala Chief Mine

Address: 37304 Magee Rd, Pala, San Diego, California, United States |
Opening Hours: 8AM(SHARP) -1PM,  Some Sundays Only (Check Calendar).
Finds: Tourmalines, kunzites, morganites and more. | Fees: Adults/Children $75 each.

Welcome to the Pala Chief Mine! Located in beautiful Pala, California the Pala Chief is one of the oldest gem mines in San Diego County, and is one of the only historic mines still being actively worked in the hunt for American gemstones.

This dig held only twice a month from October to June is best described as a free style bring your own tools and dig your own way ,collecting ranges from walking around to attacking the pegmatites themselves ,with heavy tools, reservations are required 48 hrs or better is best, the whole side of chief mountain is the collecting area with 100 year old dumps that contain tourmaline, kunzite, morganite ,aquamarine , quartz, garnets,both loose and on matrix , lots of uphill walking on this one 12 years of age and up are suggested , if this doesn’t sound right for you ? Sigh up for the oceanview mine dig all ages tools provided year round 3 days a week

Home of Dirty Girls Rock™ and Old Guys Rock™


  • shovel
  • hand trowel
  • hand rake
  • pry bars

Pala Chief Mine

The deposits here were discovered in May 1903, and the mine produced large amounts of tourmaline, most of which was shipped to China for the carving trade. It was also the primary discovery site of the purple gem variety of spodumene known as kunzite, and the first true source of gem-quality kunzite. Significant quantities of kunizte were mined from the Pala Chief and much of it went to Tiffany’s to be cut into fine gemstones. Even today, the kunzite from Chief Mountain is considered by many to be the finest in the world. Currently the mine is being assessed and updated with plans to fully develop it in the search for gemstones and mineral specimens for the collector.
Sorry No Pets Allowed