Cascade Canyon, located exactly 1.7 miles southwest of Mt. Baldy, is the home to many interesting, if small, minerals and veins of interesting polishable minerals. Collecting around the top and bottom of the canyon, we have found various qualities and sizes of corundum var. ruby along with small veins of beautiful, if hard to come by, pieces of lapis. In addition, we have found minerals that the area is not well known for, including small dravite crystals, epidote, diopside and uv reactive calcite.
The lapis deposit is near the top of the mountain, with no access that would be considered even reasonably obtainable by anyone who is not well versed in mountain climbing. In addition, the area of the deposit was covered in an avalanche years ago. Anyone attempting to reach this deposit would be doing so at risk of life itself. In the upper streams of cascade canyon, before it turns into what would be impassible for most, bits and pieces of lapis can be found. Most people we have interviewed who have collected there in the past are happy with one visit to the location.
On Barrett-Stoddard Road, though closed to vehicle traffic, you can find interesting mineralization along the roadside, which is now a popular hiking/biking trail. Calcite veins with Diopside crystals have been located, however, the diopside is not crystallized well, with a melted appearance. The corundum locations along the roadside give the viewer a understanding that the deposit of “ruby” stretches along the entire mountainside.
Along the bottom of the canyon, on the south side of cascade canyon, along the area where the mountain follows the river on the lip of the eastern mountainside. While boulders of ruby bearing matrix can be found EVERYWHERE along the mountainside, the most popular collecting location is a small canyon that dumped out the contents of several rockslides into the valley below, creating a field rich with broken chunks of rocks with small ruby crystals inside.
We were delighted to read Natalie Weisiger’s article about her trip to Cascade Canyon with the Gem and Mineral Council of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. You can read about it, right here at http://omigems.com/blog/2013/07/california-corundum-from-the-ground-to-my-finger/ It is very interesting to read about the California ruby coming from the ground and into a piece of jewelry. You can certainly believe that is one unique piece of jewelry!
Natalie Weisiger in front of the landslide pile of ruby bearing rocks on the south side of Cascade Canyon