Have you ever wanted to go on a real-life treasure hunt but absolutely detest the thought of scuba-diving? Well look no further! We’ve put together a list of five locations in Southern California that you can go visit to hunt for meteorites (or space rocks, if you prefer). Some of these locations come with a relatively good chance of success with just a few hours of hunting, while others may require several return trips to yield any positive results. And while you’re at it, take a peek at some cars with the Best and Worst Gas Mileage of 2018.
1. Lucerne Valley Dry Lake
In 1963, a man by the name of Ron Hartman went hunting for meteorites on the playa of Lucerne Valley Dry Lake. Since then, a total of 124 documented finds and several others have been collected. Some of the earlier specimens are on display at the Griffith Observatory. Many claims have been made that the area has been picked clean, but it seems rather difficult to believe given just how many meteorites have been found here. The playa is relatively flat and great for driving but if you want to increase your odds of getting lucky, you’re better off parking alongside the main road and trekking out on foot. Here you’ll find H4-5, LL6, and even some CK4-5s.
2. Coyote Dry Lake
With 347 official finds since Robert Verish’s initial find in 1995, Coyote Dry Lake continues to offer up loads of meteorites to experienced hunters and newcomers alike. Coyote is approximately 10 km by 6 km at its widest, and you could spend weeks camping out here and scouring its playa. Accessing the dry lake requires a couple miles of a bit of a bumpy drive on a dirt road shooting off the main road, but as long as it’s nice and dry, you can explore it relatively easily in a sedan. Just stay the hell away from there if it’s rained recently, because then it turns into a bit of a death-trap. You’ll find a lot of H4-5s here.
3. Cuddeback Dry Lake
60 kilometers northeast of Edward’s Air Force Base lies Cuddeback Dry Lake. It’s roughly 10 km by 4 km at its widest and is gloriously flat and amazing for driving regardless of your vehicle. Alas, the number of documented finds here have been relatively slim, with only 30 documented falls since Robert Verish showed up in 1999. Finds here generally span H4-6 and L6.
4. San Bernardino Wash
Just off Old Dale Road and south of the Gleghorn Lakes Wilderness Area, there has been only one documented find in the San Bernardino Wash, but the area is so geologically rich and varied that it is a super fun area to search through regardless of the lousy odds and a sea of desert varnished rocks. But be warned: you probably do not want to drive out there if your undercarriage has been stripped off from too many botched parking jobs, as you’re likely to suffer a punctured oil pan and risk draining out before you can make it back to the main road. Just something to consider. That find by the way was 258 grams of L5 found by Bob Perkins in 2010.
5. Stewart Valley Dry Lake
With 22 documented finds since 2001, Stewart Valley lies a bit farther East than the other locations on this list, straddling the California-Arizona border. Here you’ll mostly find H6s and L6s, but besides that, Stewart Valley is also known for having one of the most diverse breadth of fossils from the Miocene Epoch in North America from during the Cenozoic Era.