Places

Dig for Your Own Crystals at Oklahoma's Great Salt Plains State Park 

In Northern Oklahoma, eight miles north of the town of Jet and 12 miles from Cherokee in Alfalfa County, there is a truly otherworldly place called the Great Salt Plains State Park. It is here that visitors will find a desolate expanse of land that is covered by white salt. The salt is leftover from an inland sea from prehistoric times, and visitors can now walk across the former ocean floor that mixes red dirt with white salt.

People can also explore Great Salt Plains Lake within the park, a saltwater lake that covers 9,300 acres of shoreline and houses many species of fish, including catfish, saugeye, sand bass and hybrid striper. Boat ramps allow visitors to get out on the water and even do some fishing. Adjacent to the Great Salt Plains State Park is the Great Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, where visitors can admire the view and do some bird watching of the migratory birds flying through the area. Patrons can swim and kayak in the lake or take their bike out on one of the many bike trails. Equestrians have also been known to bring their horses to enjoy the views of the nature trails from horseback. While all these activities are exciting on their own, the most unique experience one can have while visiting Great Salt Plains State Park requires the use of a shovel.

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The most interesting part of the Great Salt Plains State Park is the fact that, underneath the salt flats, there are unique gypsum selenite crystals. The park is the only place in the world where these hourglass selenite crystals can be found, and crystal digging is encouraged. All you'll need is a shovel is get through a shallow layer of dirt until you reach water. You must then feel around in the water to find the gypsum crystals. The activity is fun for both adults and children who enjoy playing in the mud. In order to go crystal digging, visitors must follow the access roads that lead to the crystal digging area. Selenite crystal digging is available at the park from April through October 15.

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For visitors who want to spend multiple days at the park, pet-friendly cabins with small kitchens are available for rent. There is also a campground with both tent and RV sites available. Visit the TravelOK website for more information on this unique destination.

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Dig for Your Own Crystals at Oklahoma's Great Salt Plains State Park