Crystal digging season approaches at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge

CHEROKEE, Okla. — It’s almost crystal digging season in Oklahoma.

Starting April 1, you can enjoy the 11,200-acre salt flats and collect the state crystal of Oklahoma free at the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge. Crystal digging is only allowed from sunrise to sunset and in designated areas.

Authorities said people wanting to dig will have to drive to the Selenite Crystal Digging Area, 66003 Garvin Road in Cherokee. Once inside the gate, they will have to drive about a mile and park in front of the orange “dig area” signs.

Visitors are allowed to collect up to 10 pounds and large clusters for their personal use, according to a news release.

“Crystal digging is a great, free activity for people of all ages to walk on the salt flats, collect unique hourglass crystals and see wildlife,” Melissa Robell, visitor services specialist at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, said in a statement. “The dig area is closed the rest of the year to protect endangered Whooping Cranes migrating through.”

Officials said crystals are often found right below the salt-crusted surface. People wanting to find crystals are urged to bring a shovel, protection from the sun and enough water to drink, rinse crystals and clean yourself after digging.

“Only about one-third of the 32,197-acre refuge is salt flats,” Shane Kasson, refuge manager at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, said in the statement. “With five hiking trails and 315 bird species observed since the opening in 1930, there is a lot to see and do than dig for crystals.”

Crystal digging season runs through Oct. 15. Click here for more information.