Crater of Diamonds State Park: The Complete Guide

Crater of Diamonds State Park

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Crater of Diamonds State Park

Address
209 State Park Rd, Murfreesboro, AR 71958, USA
Phone +1 870-285-3113

Arkansas has the world's only diamond mine where the general public can mine for diamonds and actually keep what they find. Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, is a one-of-a-kind experience for you and your family where someone may find a diamond of their own—it really does happen more frequently than you'd expect.

Crater of Diamonds is a 37-acre field and the eighth-largest diamond reserve in the world. Diamonds were first discovered on this eroded volcanic pipe in 1906 by the owner, John Huddleston. Since that time, over 75,000 diamonds have been found in these lands and the area has become one of the most popular state parks in Arkansas.

Things to Do

Of course, the primary activity at Crater of Diamonds is searching for precious stones, which include amethyst, agate, jasper, quartz, and many others in addition to diamonds. Aside from the gems, you can also found all sorts of cool rocks. If your kids like collecting rocks, this is the place to take them. The volcanic rock found at the crater is very similar to river rock, as it's totally smooth, but it comes in all sorts of fun shapes and colors.

Apart from sifting for diamonds, there are also a couple of easy hiking trails around the park to get another perspective of the grounds. The trails are only about a mile long and easy to walk, taking hikers through the geological formations, surrounding woodlands, and along the nearby river.

Cool off during the summer months at the Diamond Springs Water Park, which is open seasonally and makes for a welcome break from digging in the Arkansas sun all day. You can also splash around in the Little Missouri River that runs directly through the park and is excellent for swimming.

Finding Diamonds and Gemstones

You may think finding a diamond is like winning the lottery, but it's actually a fairly common circumstance inside the park. Of course, finding a large diamond isn't an everyday occurrence, although the largest diamond ever found in the U.S. was found in Crater of Diamonds. An average of 600 diamonds are found each year, plus a large number of other precious stones, so your chances are pretty good if you know what to look for.

If you have no idea where to start, there's a ranger-led demonstration that takes place every morning to explain the basics of dry sifting, wet sifting, surface hunting, and what to look for. You'll also need some tools like a hand spade, a bucket, and a sifting screen, but you can rent them on-site for a small fee if you don't have your own. However, no motorized equipment is allowed.

The field is plowed monthly. Most people grab a bucket of loose dirt and bring it to sift at the on-site water stations. Each pavilion contains tubs of water, benches, and tables where hunters can process the ore they unearth. If you don't want to sift the plowed dirt, you can dig deep holes almost anywhere you want in the huge 37-acre field.

Where to Camp

If you didn't find your diamond after a day of sifting, don't worry. You can camp out in the park and try again the next day. There's one campground with 47 sites for RVs or tent camping and another five sites for tent-only camping. The two bathhouses in the campground have flush toilets and hot showers, so you can clean up after a day of physical labor. The campground is open all year, but you should make reservations because it fills up quickly.

Where to Stay Nearby

Murfreesboro is a small town in rural Arkansas, so you won't find major chains or ritzy hotels in the area. What you will find are homey inns and B&Bs with lots of charm and Southern hospitality. Many accommodations in the local area even provide sifting materials to guests for visiting the park, so ask if your hotel offers that amenity.

  • Diamond John's Riverside Retreat: This unique getaway is located next to the Little Missouri River and offers cabin and teepee accommodations for guests. Use the provided poles for fishing and you can even barbecue what you catch on-site. Mining equipment is available for guests to bring to the state park, which is just a mile and a half away.
  • Samantha's Timber Inn: This inn is just a five-minute drive from the park and each of the five rooms has its own distinct personality. You can sleep in rooms with names like "Coca Cola Cooler" or "Wild West Saloon," and the creative decor impeccably matches the names.
  • Diamond Oaks Inn: This full-service bed and breakfast is just a mile away from Crater of Diamonds and only has four guestrooms, so you can be sure you're receiving nearly undivided hospitality. Amenities include free digging equipment to check out, a pool on the premises, and a king-size bed in every room.

How to Get There

The park is located in western Arkansas, not far from the state borders with Oklahoma and Texas. The nearest major city is the state capital of Little Rock, which is about two hours away by car on Interstate 30—the major highway in Arkansas that connects Little Rock to Dallas, Texas. Crater of the Diamonds is located off of Arkansas Highway 301 and GPS apps may direct you to take gravel county roads to reach the park, which isn't necessary. Avoid gravel routes and continue on paved roads until you reach the park.

Accessibility

Visitors in wheelchairs do come to the park and search for diamonds, but the feasibility depends on weather conditions. The parking lot and visitor center are fully ADA-accessible, but the area for diamond searching is a plowed field. The dirt is usually packed and not difficult to access for visitors with mobility challenges, but that's not the case if it's rained recently and the ground is wet. Most of the "digging" for diamonds is actually done by picking up items on the surface and one of the troughs for sifting and washing stones is ADA-accessible.

Tips for Your Visit

  • Visitors need to purchase tickets to enter the park, with discounts for children aged 6–13 and free entry for anyone under age 6.
  • The park is open every day of the year except New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
  • Rough diamonds don't look like those you'll find in a jewelry store, so don't toss that stone. A diamond weighing several carats may be no larger than a marble, so keep your eyes open for small well-rounded crystals.
  • Most diamonds found at the crater are yellow, clear white, or brown. Just because it doesn't sparkle like a cut diamond doesn't mean it isn't a diamond. Even the "cloudy" diamonds can be worth a great deal.
  • If you have an inkling that what you found is a diamond, hold on to it. You can bring it to the visitor's center and have them check it out. If it is a diamond, they will know how to identify it, weigh it, and certify your stone for free.
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Crater of Diamonds State Park: The Complete Guide