Dig for California Tourmaline at the Himalaya Mine


Location: Santa Ysabel (75 Miles / 1.25 Hours Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Hours: 10AM – 3PM Thursdays through Mondays

Cost: $75 ($37.50 for kids ages 12-15; Free for Kids under 12); $50 for 1PM-3PM only

Features: Mine for Tourmaline from one of the most famous Tourmaline Mines of the 20th century.

tourmaline-mine-digHimalaya Mine Highlights: One of the world’s richest deposits of green and pink tourmaline, sometimes called watermelon tourmaline, is found in San Diego County. Himalaya was one of the most famous mines during the 20th century and has been featured on the Travel Channel. Visitors can just stop by most days of the week to sift through tourmaline ore all day for one set price.

What to Expect at Himalaya Mine

A large pile of tourmaline ore is brought out from the mine to an area adjacent to the Lake Henshaw Resort. Visitors are provided a workspace, screen, and other tools used to sift through the tailings. Anything you find is yours to keep.

Bring along Playtex gloves (the kind you might wear for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms) if you do not want to get your hands dirty.  Be sure to bring along ziploc bags and even a bucket to take your precious stones home.

tourmaline-mine-himalayaBe sure to dress appropriately. It can get hot in Santa Ysabel during the summer. Check the Inland Forecast to learn more.

On a typical day, you’ll meet a half-dozen or more rockhounds from throughout the United States who try their luck at bringing home valuable tourmaline for their personal collections. Visitors can also buy tourmaline from the Himalaya Mine as well as sunstones shipped from a sister mine in Oregon.

The Himalaya mine is in a remote location so visitors can not go on a tour of the mine. However, from time-to-time, arrangements can be made to take a tour of the Cyro-Genie Mine a few miles away.

Food – You can take a break for lunch at the restaurant in the Lake Henshaw Resort where miners are welcome.

Information on Visiting the Himalaya Mine

Himalaya Tourmaline Mine Information

  • $75 to Mine Gemstones for a day.
  • Discounts for kids and 1/2 day (afternoon) visits.

Directions from Google Maps to 25439 SR-76 in Santa Ysabel, CA 92070. (Located at the Lake Henshaw Resort, where you will find cabins and RV sites. Enter the Resort’s convenient store to obtain a passcode you will need to access the area behind the Resort. The dig location is about a 1/2 mile drive beyond the gate.)

Traffic – It is relatively easy to reach the Himalaya Mine during its normal hours for gem stone mining.

Transit – There is no transit service to the Himalaya Mine.

Nearby Attractions – Just a couple miles away is the Lake Henshaw Scenic Overlook, which provides a birds-eye view over the entire area and is home to many birds of prey such as hawks, falcons, and eagles. The world famous Palomar Observatory is located atop the mountain beyond the Lake Henshaw Scenic Overlook.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: As Seen On TV, Gems / Jewelry, Kids Attractions & Activities, North County Inland, Palomar / Northern Mountains, Pan for Gold & Gems |

One Response to “Dig for California Tourmaline at the Himalaya Mine”

  1. Eric Abrams says:

    Yes, It is me again offering some hands-on insight about the Himalaya experience. This is a fee dig mine that allows you a chance to find tourmaline from another world renowned locale. I have been on seven digs here. Some have been good and some not as good. I have found some nice stuff and other days just bits and pieces. The staff here are helpful. Like the other mines, they sell gem quality rough from their mine. I would say that your chance of finding gem quality facet grade stuff is about 20 %.
    I have found my best facet piece of hot pink tourmaline at this pile. The variety here is not quite like that at the Oceanview but there are usually some nice specimens in the pile. The price of $75 is the highest around but still worth it. They used to offer a tour of the Cryo-Genie mine for additional $20 but not sure if they still do. The owner of this mine also owns the Sunstone Spectrum Mine in OR. Have had a chance to talk with him a few times. They offer bags of rough to screen at home and you WILL find tourmaline in them. The price for these bags is $100. I did it and found m
    nice specimen grade stuff. Still, it is not like to crap shoot of going into the pile with a blade and finding it on your own.

    I recommend all the SD area mines. I leave it up to you to see where YOU find your monies worth. I like them all.

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