After leaving Lake Wenatchee with some time to spare, we looked for rockhounding opportunities nearby. The rockhounding books recommend Icicle Creek, outside of Leavenworth, for tourmaline, beryl, and albite feldspar.
Upon leaving Leavenworth, we had a hard time looking at the roadcuts because most of the turnouts were already full of vehicles, despite it being a weekday morning. The rocks in the roadcuts that we were able to inspect were coarse grained granite with small, visible pieces of black tourmaline. The tourmaline would be attractive magnified under a microscope, but otherwise is pretty uninteresting.
The road was a little rough, but there are a few popular trailheads nearby, and we saw all types of vehicles driving it.
If you go to the location listed in the rockhounding books, they tell you to chip away at boulders to collect the tourmaline. This is definitely the way to go, but the material you’ll be collecting is likely to be uninteresting to the average rockhound.
We didn’t find any beryl, but if it’s there, it would be in pegmatite dikes in granite, and it would be opaque and impossible to remove from the matrix.
This location overall was disappointing and, in our opinion, should not be included in any general audience rockhounding books. We suspect this is one of a handful of “filler” locations included in the books.
The area is very scenic as seen in the photos below.
After bring the rocks home and inspecting them closer, we found that many of the black bits in the granite aren’t even tourmaline, but biotite crystals. Nevertheless, they look very similar to the naked eye.