How to find Yooperlites®

Things to bring:

  • UV light (see below)
  • White LED light for navigating
  • Glowsticks
  • Backpack with snacks & water
  • A travel plan that you've shared with a friend
  • Bring a friend - don't travel alone!

Note: Please use common sense! Know where you're going. Respect private property and be aware of the regulations in your state for harvesting rocks or minerals. I am following by the rules of the State of Michigan - you are allowed to harvest up to 25 pounds of rocks per year (DNR).

Please note the following restrictions at Whitefish Point. Rock collecting is not permitted there.

Where do you find Yooperlites?

In my personal experience, anywhere I've located agates, I've located Yooperlites. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I've found Yooperlites anywhere from Whitefish Point to Grand Marais. I've also found them in gravel pits in Minnesota. Other folks have reported finding them on Lake Michigan near the Chicago area and also near the Point Betsie Area.

Note: It is illegal to take anything from any National Park or area, including the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore area.

Things you'll want to take

I recommend getting to the beach before dark. You want to be aware of your surroundings before it gets dark out. Bring a white flashlight - it's difficult to navigate your way with just a UV light. I bring glowsticks with me - I use one to mark the area where I went down to the beach, so I can find my way back to my vehicle. It's very easy to get lost on the beach in the dark. Bring a snack, water and extra batteries in a backpack with you. This also provides you with an easy way to store any rocks you may find.

Don't go unprepared, and don't go by yourself. A lot of places along Lake Superior don't have cellphone service. While this is fun and a great experience, I want to make sure people are prepared.

Recommended Lights

How do you find Yooperlites?

Ok. You've planned ahead, you scouted the beach, and now it's night or it's getting dark. From twilight thru the night is the best time to locate Yooperlites. While walking along, hold the light up in a position where you're not shining it directly down at the beach.

Go slow - your eyes will have more time to scan the area if you go slowly. It doesn't matter what kind of light you use - if you go slow, you'll find them. Be patient and thorough in your search. When you see the bright orange flash, you know you've found one! Now stop and look closely around the area you just covered. You might just locate another one nearby. Also, retrace your steps. By retracing your steps, you're looking at all the rocks you passed at a new angle, an angle that just might reveal that signature bright flash of a Yooperlite!

UV lights bring to life all sorts of things on the beach, not just minerals and rocks that fluoresce. Unfortunately, it will be easy to see trash and debris that you normally wouldn't notice during the daytime. Please do your part and pick up any trash or debris you may find. Leave the beach better than you found it!

The best time of the year

I think the best times of year to go are in the spring and fall. I love looking for rocks in the springtime. The entire beach gets "flipped" in the spring, after the ice from the lake pushes, shoves and moves all sorts of rocks around. The spring is a great time to go! There's no bugs, no tourists and fresh stones to check out. Fall is great as well. Again, there's not many bugs and not many tourists. Any seasoned rockhound knows that the storms on Lake Superior "flip" the beach and provide plenty of new rocks to discover!

Restrictions at Whitefish Point

Please note: The Whitefish Point Unit is open during daylight hours only. Rock collecting is NOT permitted. For more information, please visit the Whitefish Point Unit page.

Michigan Resources

Brimley State Park
Bokashi Bran